MONTE BERNARDI Panzano, Chianti

The origins of many Italian wine estates are remarkably venerable, a rule to which Monte Bernardi is no exception – the estate is already recorded under the same name a mere 20 years after William of Falaise invaded England. At what point in its long history it started producing grapes for wine production I know not, but in the 20th Century the grapes grown on the estate were all sold to neighbouring farms. Located in the beautiful hills of the southern zone of the Chianti Classico region, close to the town of Panzano, the estate lies at an altitude of 350m, with a fine southern exposure, surrounded by forests and adjacent to the river Pesa, factors which combine to produce a unique microclimate. The soils are a mixture of rocky shale, sandstone and limestone, well suited to the vine.

Wine production began here in 1992, and in 2003 the estate was bought by the American Schmeltzer family, who have lavished both riches and passion into making the estate amongst the most respected sources of great wine in the Chianti region. 10 of the estate’s 53 hectares are now under vine, with a further 4 hectares leased. The vineyard has been certified organic since 2004, and the farm is run under a biodynamic regime. The grapes are hand picked, gently crushed and subjected to a three day pre-fermentive maceration, which serves to extract flesh and colour, before alcoholic fermentation under the indigenous yeasts which develop on the grape skins in the vineyard. There is neither fining nor filtration, and the wines are bottled after between 8 and 30 months in oak with only the minimum use of sulphites. This is true low intervention winemaking. The estate’s Chianti Classico ‘Retromarcia’ is made from the younger Sangiovese vines, and drinks beautifully from release, with the potential to cellar for up to a decade. It is deep ruby in colour, medium bodied, with aromas of blackberry, cherries, anise and spice, with a fresh, lifted fruit, good structure, and a juicy acidity. The Riserva comes from vines of around 40 years, and blends Sangiovese with 5% Canaiolo. It is elegant, warm and rich, and drinks from around 2 years in bottle, with fine potential to develop complexity over 10 to 15 years. Sa’etta Riserva is a pure Sangiovese, sourced from the best parcels of old vines grown on sandstone. As with so many biodynamically sourced wines, it is delicious to drink shortly after bottling, with fine aromas of blackcurrant, violets and minerals, yet will develop alluring complexity with careful cellaring.


MONTE BERNARDI, Panzano-in-Chianti









2013  SA`ETTA, Chianti Classico Riserva







Shop Address

The Black Dog Wine Company
The Cart Barn
Ashlyn's Farm Shop
North Weald
CM16 6RZ

Shop Opening Hours

Tuesday - 12.00-5.00
Wednesday - Friday 10.30 - 5.00
Saturday 10.30 - 5.00
Sunday 12.00 - 4.00
Monday - Closed

Contact Details

Telephone 07935 219448