In the area of Montalcino, in Valdicava, in the northeastern quadrant of the hill, there are the historic vineyards of the Le Chiuse winery, a winery that can be traced back to the legendary Biondi Santi family.
Everything begins in 1700 thanks to the marriage between Jacopo Biondi and Maria Tamanti that brings in dowry some lands included within this famous denomination that, as a matter of fact, did not exist yet. It will be only with his nephew Ferruccio Biondi Santi that the whole story changes direction: Ferruccio resumes the study on the local vineyards, arriving to select a clone of Sangiovese that is registered as “Grosso”.
With Ferruccio’s son, then, Tancredi Biondi Santi, will come to the final form, to the Brunello di Montalcino, a wine currently considered one of the most famous Italian wine blockbusters. Since then the vineyards in question become the ones from which it was obtained the Brunello Biondi Santi’s Riserva, and pass from Tancredi to his daughter Fiorella who will bequeath them to her daughter Simonetta.
It will be from the 90s that Simonetta, helped by her husband Nicolò Magnelli and her son Lorenzo, will stop renting the land to her uncle, the famous Franco Biondi Santi, to begin a production process on their own, with the restoration of the farm, its expansion, the planting of a few new vineyards, and the construction of a brand new winery.
Today the company covers 18 hectares of olive groves, natural woods and vineyards (8 hectares total), at altitudes between 350 and 500 meters above sea level, planted with an average density of 4500 vines per hectare, on clay soils with a good presence of galestro and tuff.
Given such a magnificent past, it is impossible for a wine lover to avoid tasting this Brunello di Montalcino, a wine whose production starts from a careful selection in the vineyard that leads to harvest, slightly earlier than average, no more than 800 grams of grapes per plant. The early harvest, only of the smaller bunches, made to ensure a higher level of acidity and a longer aging potential, continues in the cellar where, in less than half an hour from their harvest, the grapes are entirely destemmed and racked by falling into steel and cement ferments.
The alcoholic fermentation lasts about 20 days, and takes place by means of indigenous yeasts, at a temperature never higher than 29ºC, with pumping over and fulling carried out when deemed necessary. Three years of aging in large barrels (30HL) of Slavonian oak and, after decanting without filtration, a year in the bottle, are the necessary period before the wine can be put on the market.
The 2016 vintage, which I had the pleasure of drinking on Sunday evening, in combination with a splendid Tomahawk of Cinta Senese, confirmed the high consideration I have for this wine, with a pale ruby color, with a fan of scents that opened on notes of durone cherry, Pomegranate, vinyl and “Lady of Hearts” Rose, followed by violet potpourri, cranberry, white musk and fire cured Latakia tobacco, with final echoes of Mount Athos incense, goudron and undergrowth fungus.
The palate has shown why it is so often used the concept of elegance when talking about this wine, because crispness, essentiality, balanced flavor and velvety tannins are clearly perceptible and, at the same time, indissolubly linked to each other. Everything is, finally, accompanied by the return of red fruit and spices, which lead the sip to a fresh and very long closure.
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