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Le Boncie’s ‘5’: Sangiovese and the light touch of Giovanna Morganti

by Claudio Celio

It’s complicated. Writing about Giovanna Morganti’s wines and maintaining suitable objectivity is anything but easy for me; that’s because I admire the winemaker even beyond her wines, and the fact may make me unduly biased.

Giovanna’s most famous offering, ‘Le Trame,’ is one of the wines dearest to my heart and if I had chosen to review its (excellent) 2013 vintage, I would have been in danger of going too far. Hence my decision to write about Giovanna Morganti's second wine, ‘5,’ also from her proprietary vineyards in Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the province of Siena.

Incidentally, I am writing of a rather quirky vintage like 2014, considered a minor year in the Chianti area. ‘5’ is only formally the Morganti winery’s second wine.

In fact, says Giovanna, it goes down a path of its own, independent of ‘Le Trame,’ Podere Le Boncie’s pinnacle Chianti Classico. ‘5’ collects a portion of the Sangiovese grapes (as well as the Colorino, Mammolo and Fogliatonda) hailing from the same vineyards that go into ‘Le Trame’ (second selection) and the fruit of a younger vineyard that Giovanna wholly devotes to her Tuscany IGT.

There are also differences in vinification and aging. ‘5’ is fermented in steel rather than small wooden casks as is the case for ‘Le Trame,' with skin maceration lasting even 25-30 days. The subsequent sojourn in wood lasts an average of one year prior to bottling. This is the tentative blueprint but there are endless variables and, as Giovanna points out, “there is no precise protocol and much depends on the particular point in time we happen to ‘craft’ the wine.”

One often hears people say Le Boncie wines resemble their grower. If so, Giovanna Morganti’s touch in 2014 must have been particularly light, for this version of her ‘5’ is characterized by a graceful, exquisite charm rarely found in wines from this part of Tuscany.

The same wine in the 2013 vintage, for instance, is decidedly rougher in texture. The weather helped, since 2014 was influenced by September rains that partly diluted quality of the grapes. The result was not so damaging in the case of ‘5,’ which though not as complex and layered as usual, gained in terms of quaffability and freshness, also thanks to Le Boncie grapes’ proverbial acidity. The bouquet and palate are on the same wavelength, foregrounding ripe red fruit notes with balsamic, green nuances on the side.

“The wine has distinctive acidity and this vintage enhanced those traits that most characterize it; what it's really supposed to be: a match for everyday meals, well balanced and easy to drink,” she said.