Montauto Enos I Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Besting all Sancerres, It Made the French Mad (and Afraid)…
That’s right. Italians make better Sancerre than the French!
Or rather, since we do have to obey EU wine laws: Sancerre is a very special place to grow Sauvignon Blanc. Its Kimmeridgean soils, climate, aspect and slope of the hillsides all create what many would call the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world.
Montauto’s Maremma Bianco Vigna Vecchia “Enos I” just bested ALL the Sancerres in the IWC’s European Wine Competition, the Concours Mondial. It’s perfectly understandable that you wouldn’t know the gravity of this award – it’s only done in Europe, among Europeans, and never published here. But for those of us who spend every waking moment (and dreaming moment) on wine, it’s a thing to watch. Because sometimes, it unveils treasures like this.
To unpack the name: Montauto is the family name. Bianco is white wine. Vigna Vecchia (indicated on the label) is old vines. And Enos is Grandpapa’s first name.
Almost 50 years ago, Grandpapa Enos went down to the Maremma to plant a vineyard and make wine. At the time, the Maremma was a hotbed for making “Super Tuscans” and Enos could have made one of those. But, he noticed that all the aspects of the vineyard, right down to the mother rock, resembled another place – Sancerre, France. Yes, the Maremma is different from Sancerre. But it’s is so close to the Mediterranean and the altitude of the vineyards so high, there is a cooling effect that brings all forces into balance for sublime Sauvignon Blanc.
Or so Enos thought. He planted vines, and made wine, and began what would be a 50-year journey that his grandson would later be recognized for: being one of the top Sauvignon Blancs in Europe, if not the world. Here’s an Italian Master Sommelier explaining the wine:
“Concours Mondial du Sauvignon!
“Silence listening to the wind blowing from the sea, the bright light that enhances the changing colors with the seasons, the scent of the earth, but above all the call to the origins, respect for a lifetime of work, listening to a the word of a glance, the importance of continuing a journey of emotions to be transmitted in the creation of a product that identifies a message and a story.”
Now I’m not sure what exactly that tastes like, but I am darn sure I want some! Here’s my take:
The nose opens with a soft expression of peach, Meyer lemon, verbena, limestone rock, laurel and a touch, a bare touch of an orange poppy seed cake. On the palate there is quickness and vibrancy, yet it is also smooth and not just all about its acidity. There is a give and take – a roundness in exchange for greater depth, but with a flourish of refreshment. The finish is long and hints at things to come – they’ve held every single vintage that they have ever made and even the very first shows no sign of slowing down. Yes, Sancerre – and good Sauvignon – can age magnificently, and this is one of them.
Or, as the Italian master somm continues:
“Taste it with your loved one or with whomever you want but surely with your heart, in silence, closing your eyes, listening to your emotions.”