For around $20 or so, this is one of the more interesting wine values from Tuscany. It’s a consistently exciting red made with Sangiovese grapes grown organically and biodynamically.
Montesecondo is the name of the family farm owned by Silvio Messana and purchased by his father in 1963 in San Casciano Val di Pesa. Although the property lies in the Chianti Classico zone, for technical reasons this particular wine takes the broader IGT designation, or Indicazione Geografica Tipica, and is 100 percent Sangiovese, both of which are noted on the back label.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
The grapes come from younger Sangiovese vines and the wine is fermented and aged in concrete tanks. This is a departure from the typical Chianti Classico model of aging in oak, and it gives the wine a welcome freshness and liveliness. (Messana also relies on naturally occurring yeasts for fermentation and minimizes the addition of sulfites used to preserve the wine.)
As you might have concluded by now, he is all about letting the wine speak for itself, and for the place in which it is grown. He eschews the idea that “if you do more to the wine, it will be more of a wine, it will be a better wine,” as he put it in a 2011 interview with the U.S. importer, Louis/Dressner Selections, referring to the “traditional” Chianti style of big, heavily wooded, tannic wines.
“For me this is not what Sangiovese should or could be,” he said. “Unfortunately this standardization has made people lose their appreciation of Chianti.”
The 2015 Montesecondo Sangiovese makes his point, showing what the grape and wine can be when pretty much left alone: gently tannic and fruit-dominant with bright red- and dark-berry notes, touches of red licorice and graphite, and more-than-ample acidity that makes it a great match for lots of foods. (We enjoyed it with a spicy tomato and eggplant sauce over pasta.)
This is a wine I’ve kept going back to over the years. There is something about it — the honesty, the not-quite-knowing-what-you’ll-get, that separates it from the pack and always intrigues me.