Otto Ettari, Eight Hectares in Italian, refers to the idyllic parcel of vineyards and olive groves in Montenero d’Orcia, acquired by the German cousin-duo Andreas and Manfred Kunert, the realization of a lifelong dream. Having studied economics in the Franken wine region in Würzburg, they spent many years surrounded by the world of fine German white wines, and though at the time the cousins were mainly focused on the family “paper and packaging” business, they often visited France and Italy, immersing themselves in wine and establishing friendships along the way.
“We always dreamed of making our own wine. After many contacts with friends in France and Italy we found some very good friends in Piedmont and Tuscany. One came to the other and we decided to realize our old dream.”
Over the years, Manfred and Andreas, with their wives Andrea and Corina, had developed a particular fondness for the Sangiovese from the southern part of Tuscany, and thus it was here that they began the search for their ideal terroir. In 2015, with the help of local friends and contacts, their dream finally became a reality and the cousins purchased 8 hectares (Otto Ettari) located in the Montecucco DOCG, from one of the most renowned wineries in Tuscany, Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona.
Manfred recalls, “The nice piece of land presented great promise, with its sunny hill and stony soil, the basics for an honest Sangiovese. Further investigations showed us prosperous possibilities. The volcanic soil of the neighboring Monte Amiata, together with limestone, confirmed the good availability of water, even in dry summers.”
The Montecucco area is located in southern Tuscany, in the Maremma, and has come into the spotlight in recent years thanks to a group of young winemakers whose determination and passion have produced stunning wines, considered by wine critics on par with Tuscany’s grandest wine Brunello. Indeed, the small picturesque village of Montenero d’Orcia is a fitting backdrop for the grand ambitions of the Kunert cousins – to craft authentic, elegant, honest Sangiovese-based wines uniting traditional winemaking knowledge with more modern techniques.
Their deep appreciation and respect for the region and the land encouraged the collaboration with Gianni Bartolommei, experienced cellar master and “son” of Montenero, and Jacopo Vagaggini, an emerging talent among Italian oenologists with international experience.
When speaking about this collaboration Manfred says, “It is a great success to have partners understanding our taste and passion of an honest, pure Sangiovese.”
Through targeted investments in smaller stainless steel tanks, wooden barrels (tonneaux and Slavonian oak) and new French oak barriques, the team strives to differentiate its production, crafting wines that are “perfect” year after year, pure and harmonious expressions of the elegant Montecucco Sangiovese with the honesty typical of this ageless variety.
“We have always been focused on making a wine that we really like ourselves and on developing, step by step, a Sangiovese that is continuously improving. From the very beginning, we have tried to make our friends in Tuscany understand that the two Germans want to make wines that the people here will understand as a product of themselves.”
The love of a land has brought together a dynamic team with a passion for Sangiovese, creating wines that are representative of the region and the dedication of all those involved. The entire Kunert family holds an active and complimentary role in the venture, Andreas’ wife Corina as the Italian voice of Otto Ettari and Manfred’s wife Andrea handling the German side of business. This enthusiasm and devotion has been recognized by some of the most influential voices in wine, and the wines continue to receive accolades from some of the most important Italian and international wine publications.
Otto Ettari produces three Sangiovese-based wines: Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG and the Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva DOCG, each a result of careful selection within the eight hectares of vineyards and each crafted with the intent of presenting a typical, honest Sangiovese wine. The wines are fruity, yet elegant and harmonious, exemplars of the potential of Sangiovese, wines that truly can compete with the grandest of Tuscan wines.
“The color is deep, dark, intense…on the nose, you can feel black fruits and spices. The mouth is full and concentrated with a refreshing acidity and lots of soft tannins. This wine will have a beautiful evolution in bottle, lasting for many years to come.” – Manfred Kunert on the Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG