GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Tenuta Montanello a Renaissance Story

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 7, 2009.

Tenuta Montanello.

With a splendid piece of Castiglione Falleto, forming the northern anchor of that series of ridges know as Bricco Boschis and Monprivato, it’s no surprise that Tenuta Montanello has moved from strength to strength during it’s short life as an independent winery.

Originally founded in 1864, and for many years the ome to the Langhe’s first Cantina Sociale ,for the village of Castiglione Falletto, Tenuta Montanello has remained in the Racca family since current proprietor, Alberto Racca’s great great grandfather purchased the property. Three generations of Racca’s worked the land and made wine to be sold in bulk before Alberto’s father moved the family to Torino, choosing an easier and more cosmopolitan life for his family.

During this time the 11 hectares of property and winery facilities were leased to the Fratelli Monchiero who have since moved to their own facilities in Castiglione Falletto. The lease on the property expired in 1998 and Alberto chose to re-open the winery under his own label and thus was re-born the historic estate of Tenuta Montanello.

Alberto bottled his first wines in 2001 and continues to sell some of his harvest to the physical limitations involved with restarting and renovating the winery buildings. Alberto is hard at work implementing plans to expand the wineries capacity so that he accommodate the entire yield of his wonderful vineyards which are home to plots of Nebbiolo planted in 1945, 1965, 1972 and 1990.

Tenuta Montanello is also an agriturismo allowing people to rent rooms in a wonderfully tranquil, picturesque location just outside of the village of Castiglione Falletto.

2006 Dolcetto
About 3500 bottles produced from vines averaging 20 plus years of age. This underwent a 6 day maceration.

A touch gamy on the nose with a hint of mushroom and an aggressive mineral tone. The dark berry fruit is a touch foxy and has a subtle streak of violets adding complexity. In the mouth this is very soft with gentle yet supportive acidity and pillowy tannins. The flavors are a touch matte though admirably fruit driven with good purity in a fruit forward style that still retains a nice mineral tang and some classic bitter almond tones on the back-end and reasonably long finish. A well-managed 2006 that offers lots of very ripe fruit but stays in balance 87pts

2005 Barbera d’Alba
Between 3 and 4 thousand bottles produced. This was harvested after the rain and even though an anti-botrytis treatment was applied the still felt it necessary to harvest about a week earlier than they would have liked.

The nose here is simple yet intense with very high-toned notes of sandy earth, leafy dried herbs and a feral note though not much fruit in evidence. This seems a bit soft in the mouth with some decent tannin for Barbera and nice spicy fruit that leans toward simple black cherry. This is a bit compact but decent. 84pts

2005 Barbera d’Alba Crocetta
The same wine as above but this sees 20% new barrique with the remainder seeing second and third passage barrique.

Low intensity nose with obvious sweetness and spice from the wood that gives the impression of jammy blackberry fruit well laced with moderate vanilla notes. This is also soft but the wood somehow brings the acids into focus and while this is soft and flannelly there is better definition here. Bigger fruit in the mouth as well with spicy notes and a nice layering of red berry, black berry and spice. Not complex but balanced and offering a nice contrast between sweet and sour and tannin and acid. Well done. 87pts

2005 Tristan Langhe Rosso
A 50/50 Merlot and Barbera blend using young vine Merlot, planted in 2003 and Barbera that were crushed together and co-fermented. In general they are handled separately due to the gap in maturation cycles. Aged for 6 months in used barrique. 2000-3500 bottles per vintage.

This offers up big over-ripe fruit notes on the nose with nuances of cocoa, raw wood, black olive, creosote, and flowers over jammy blackberry fruit with a faint herbaceous top note. Entering with a big wave of fruit followed by assertive acids and soft chewy tannins, this is a bit ungainly at the moment. The dark fruit is edged with coffee tones and is pretty direct with nice floral inner mouth perfumes. This could offer a bit more complexity but does have attractive big fruit and solid structure. 86pts

2006 Langhe Nebbiolo
About 4000 bottles are produced from younger vines that will someday make it’s way into the Barolo produced here. This goes from Stainless into bottle.

Lovely aromatics with melon rind, sandy soil, fine green herbal notes and green tea with classic menthol and licorice tones over very fresh strawberry fruit with a gentle sweetness that recalls cola. This leads off with a big, fruity entry that continues across the palate offering real depth and body that features finely integrated acidity and good crisp tannins. The wine has some low key black fruit on the mid-palate with a touch of balsamic/sottobosco nuance but the aggressive tannins really clamp down on the finish which is a touch drying but long with a nice herbal finale. 89pts

2002 Barolo Montanello
This wine saw 100% new barrique and 8 days of maceration.

Very autumnal and evolved on the nose with dried leaves, dried fruits, a bit sharp with spicy wood tones. Cedary and complex if evolved and a little spearminty. Very soft in the mouth, fluid and easy if slightly drying with licorice tinged dried fruit notes and a hint of rainier cherry. The finish is short and hollow. 83pts

2003 Barolo Montanello
Smoky notes great the nose with low intensity tobacco, dried apricot, fudge, fig, menthol, butcher’s was and raw wood notes. Aromatically this is a bit clumsy. In the mouth this is compact and soft with tannins that seem a bit dry. The flavors are earthy and a bit woody with notes of roasted herbs and cedar framing the dried fruit/dried citrus peel tones. A bit hot but with good length though those unripe tannins pop out again on the finish. 86pts

2004 Barolo Montanello
6,600 bottles produced. This spent 1 year in barrique one third of which was new, 1/3 second passage, and 1/3 third passage.

There is serious intensity here on the nose with rose, hickory, menthol and tobacco notes framing very fresh red fruits and sappy, vegetal floral tones. The wood adds a bit of an autumnal character here and rounds out the entry nicely. Unlike the 2004 the tannins here are wonderfully ripe and in fine balance with the bright acidity that gives this wine good cur and focus even if it is a touch linear at this point. Not particularly fruit driven with some interesting pomegranate and mulberry notes covering a core of dark spices and rich earthy tones. The backend turns a bit more red fruited and offers nice follow through with a particularly intense rose notes and attractive strawberry/rhubarb finish. This really shows nice purity on a sleek medium weight frame and is a fine expression of the grape. 91pts


Reply by atonalprime, Mar 23, 2010.

I just picked up a 1982 Barolo Montanello from the close-out bin at Chambers Street -- price was screaming ridiculous at me and then compelled me to take the risk and buy it.

They were very up-front and honest with it being from a private collection, shipped out of the UK, and there was less guarantee that the conditions were optimal for storage, and therefore cheaper.  Do you have any personal experience with this particular vintage?  Any idea on whether these vines are pre-1972? 

Any guess on its ageability?  the bottle is in good condition and the label is very clean, no signs of seepage.  What would I gain from aging it longer?

You never commented on the quality of wine production under the Fratelli Monchiero... I'm trying to research a little, but would be curious to know more from your Nebbiolocon.

Regardless, I've never had a Barolo with serious age on it, so my first inclination is to go ahead and open it....very soon.

Reply by cigarman168, Mar 24, 2010.

I think decanting one hour and taste it and see the changes. I am also interested to know the TN of it.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 24, 2010.

Love Chambers St. Not sure about this bottle. Fratelli Monchiero are still chugging along and I like their wines. They are not powerhouse but make very expressive wines. The wine you have was made at Tenuta Montanello but may not be from the fruit of those vines, or at least may not be entirely the fruit of those vines.


1982 was a very strong and slow to age vintage, on of my favorites. It's also the last real old school vintage, by 1985 almost everybody had begun to make cleaner, if not more modern, wines.


I would expect this to be a lovely wine, not terribly complex, but pure and velvety, and in many aspects similar to this. If you want to get together and share a few bottles I can do dinner in April. A few other old Barolos might help put your bottle in perpective!

Reply by atonalprime, Mar 25, 2010.

Thanks for all the extra insight -- I'd gladly take you up on your offer to compare at a dinner.  I'd bring this and a 1979 Valentino Bricco Manzoni, as well as a 1989 GD Vajra Langhe Freisa if you thought it would fit-in.

I'm good most nights in April except the 17th & 18th, and best to avoid 21st, 23rd and 30th if possible (crossing my fingers and hoping to be in Montreal on April 30.)

Reply by atonalprime, Jul 5, 2010.

Well, I opened this at a joint birthday celebration last month, just got around to putting my notes in -- there were a few people that saw me first pouring it into the decanter that "swore it was bad" and that we shouldn't drink it.  I told them to just be patient while it aired out, and in the end, I was right.  Perhaps unfortunately, by the time it had aired out I was already well into my voyage of wine and liquor.  A lucky few were able to enjoy it with me and they were grateful for the experience.

Monchiero Barolo Montanello 1982 (SnoothRank: 0/5)
Italy > Piedmont (July 2010)
Fairly brown with a soft red hue. A little port on the nose, but still notes of cherry and tobacco. After a few hours of decanting, this wine definitely blew off a little funk and was more palatable. The flavors were a little murky from the sediment not being totally settled before opening, but I got what I could out of it -- some nice ripe cherry and a little chocolate and earth. The finish was actually the best, a full bramble fruit and stone fruit finish that lasted a god length.
My Rating: 2.5/5

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