Friday, 22 February 2013

An Interview with Olympia Romba of Monteverro

Olympia Romba has had a hectic schedule since she joined Monteverro as their Sales and Marketing Manager. Her first two years with Monteverro were spent establishing the brand in Europe and the United States. This year, Olympia’s schedule includes seeking distribution partners in Asian countries such as Bangkok, Cambodia, China and Singapore. Over drinks at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, she shared some background on this Italian winery.

How did Monteverro get started?

We are located in the Tuscany region, approximately an hour’s drive north from Rome. The land was bought in 2003 by Georg Weber, whose family’s core business in Germany is garden centres. He searched for years and years for the right place to plant a vineyard, until a friend told him to look in the Maremma area in Tuscany. He contacted Lydia and Claude Bourguignon to do some soil analysis, and asked Michel Rolland to check the place. Everyone said that this would be a gorgeous place to plant vines, because the terroir is very rich in minerals, and proximity to the sea creates fresh, cooling breezes. The first vines were planted in 2004, and the first vintage was in 2008. 

Who are the other people behind Monteverro?

Our Technical Director is Michael Voegele, he constructed the cellar, which works on gravity instead of using pumps. Matthieu Taunay is our winemaker, he joined in 2008 for our first vintage. He is assisted by consulting oenologist Michel Rolland, Alpha Omega winemaker Jean Hoefliger, pruning expert Michel Duclos and soil experts Lydia and Claude Bourguignon. I joined in 2010 when the first vintage was bottled. Previously I was working in Bordeaux for fifteen years. 

What is the range of wines that Monteverro produces?

We make a limited quantity of Chardonnay from 1 hectare of vineyards located nearest to the sea, around 3000 bottles. We also make a Syrah/Grenache blend called Tinata from 2 hectares of vineyard, and we only produce 8000 bottles. These two are our niche products. The majority of our activity is Bordeaux grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Of our second wine, Terra di Monteverro, we are producing 30,000 – 35,000 bottles, and of our Grand Cru, approximately 15,000 bottles. 

The goal of Monteverro is to become the “Premier Grand Cru” of Tuscany. What does that mean?

Our wish is to be considered, in five, maybe ten years, equivalent in quality and reputation to the Premier Grand Crus of Bordeaux, like the Chateau Latour of Italy. 

And in price as well?

[laughs] For the moment, we are very affordable compared to some Bordeaux wines. 


Are you experimenting with any other varieties?
Starting around March or April this year, we will be releasing a Vermentino based white wine. It is a light and easy drinking wine for the local restaurants.

There is an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Franc in the two Bordeaux blends (around 40%). Why is this so? 

If you ask me and if you ask our oenologist, which is the most noble grape variety in our area, we would say Cabernet Franc. It grows well for what we want – we want elegant wines, very fine wines with a certain structure and aging potential, but not too blockbuster. If we were to produce a wine from a single variety, we would choose Cabernet Franc. 

What would you like people to think about when they are drinking a wine from Monteverro?

A lot of people who have visited our winery have said that we are the locomotive of this area. We are the pioneers to produce a high-quality, Super Tuscan wine in this part of Tuscany [Maremma], which is not as well-known yet as Bolgheri.

No comments:

Post a Comment