|La Porta di Vertine was established in 2006 by Dan Lugosch, an American real estate developer, and his wife Ellen. They purchased an amphitheatre-shaped vineyard in the tiny hamlet of Vertine, just outside of the town of Gaiole in Chianti. The vineyards are at the top of a hill at around 550m – this is high altitude for Chianti and is close to the ripening limit for the Sangiovese grape. The soil itself is a combination of Albarese (a local variant of sandstone) and Galestro (a type of marl).
The estate is run by oenologist Giacomo Mastretta, who is helped by agronomist Dr Ruggero Mazzili. His philosophy is an approach of “less is more” in the vineyard and winery, with virtually all the vineyard converted to organic viticulture.
Their Chianti Classico is made using the traditional local varieties, rather than any French “intruders”: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino and Pugnitello. The grapes are all hand-picked and the whole bunches are placed in concrete tanks, where fermentation is allowed to occur naturally. The maceration is very long, between two to three weeks. The wine is then racked into a combination of barriques and double-barriques, and left on its lees for 10 months before being transferred to 25hl tonneaux for another 10 months. The wine is bottled and allowed to rest in the bottle for a year before being shipped.
Interestingly this wine is one of the first from a small producer that I have seen using QR codes on their bottles. A “Quick Response” code is a type of barcode that is designed to be read by smartphones. This one, once scanned, takes you to this page on their website.