Tuscany, tuscany Italy

This fabled estate sold a majority of its shares to Christopher Descours, the owner of Charles Heidsieck, Piper-Heidsieck, Rare Champagne and Château la Verrerie, in December 2016. While the 6th and 7th generations of the Biondi-Santi family, Jacopo and his son Tancredi, remain actively involved in the running of the estate, the investment being undertaken by Christopher Descours will ensure the property modernises in an intelligent manner.

The 150 hectare property, which abuts Costanti’s estate, has 26 hectares of vineyard split over three sites. Il Greppo, at 500 metres above sea level, is where the winery and house is situated and where the oldest plot, planted in 1936, is to be found. They also have vines down the hill to the east of Montalcino and to the north, close to Montosoli. The oldest vineyards, those over 25 years of age, are the source of grapes for the Riserva, the 10 to 25-year-old vineyards are used for the Brunello, and those younger than 10 years are used for the Rosso.

While the Brunello di Montalcino is fermented in concrete tanks, the Riserva is made in oak ‘tini’ (large conical wooden vats). Both wines are aged for 36 months in large Slavonian oak casks prior to bottling. The Brunello 2013, the first wine bottled under the new ownership, shows a spiced cherry fruit character on the nose with greater freshness than the 2012. On the palate, it retains the classic medium-bodied style of Biondi-Santi with ripe tannins and a lovely acidity. It is the best Biondi-Santi Brunello for quite some time.

Biondi-Santi decided not to bottle any 2014 Brunello and the next release will be the 2015 later this year. In order to help fill the gap between the release of the 2013 and the 2015, the estate has dug into its reserves to find some 2011, a warm year which produced full wines that are ready for drinking earlier, and 2009, another ripe year that led to earlier-maturing wines which are drinking beautifully now.

The Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 is showing lovely evolution on the nose with a touch of earthiness and leather. On the palate, it is concentrated and rich with good tannins and a broader frame than the Brunello. The Brunello Riserva 2006 shows even more tertiary complexity than the 2012. It is impressively structured with the lively acidity typical of Biondi-Santi. The fruit is remarkably fresh and is supported by balsamic and subtle floral notes, culminating in an elegant, lingering finish.

The wines are already among the very best in Montalcino, but with the backing of Christopher Descours we‘re convinced that, after what we‘ve seen at Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck, they will get even better over the next few years.


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