Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo
Discussing of Brunello di Montalcino without mentioning Biondi Santi is like discussing about motors without mentioning Ferrari. Ferrari is the only racing team that participated to all the Formula One championships, but it is perhaps not generally known that Biondi Santi is the only company that never interrupted the production of Brunello, since the beginning of its invention. Actually, it was Clemente Santi to invent Brunello as we know it today, in 1865
The Biondi-Santi family has always been faithful to Sangiovese, even at the end of the 19th century, when powdery mildew and phylloxera were exterminating viticulture all over Europe. Many producers in Tuscany preferred to blend Sangiovese grapes with other grapes, red and whites, to obtain wines to drink soon. Ferruccio Biondi Santi, Clemente’s son, adopted a different strategy, selecting from his vineyards the best clones of Sangiovese that were resistant to diseases, and then grafting the new plants obtained from the former vines on American rootstocks. In that same period, he started to experiment with long ageing in big oak casks.
Today the majority of the vineyards of the Estate are more than 80 years old. Of the 25 hectares of vineyards total, there are 5ha planted between 1930 and 1972, and from here they obtain the grapes used to produce their legendary Brunello Riserva. “We produce Brunello Riserva just in the best vintages, using grapes coming exclusively from vines that are at least 25 years old” said Franco Biondi Santi. The Brunello Annata is made using grapes that come from 10 and 25 years old vines. Rosso di Montalcino instead is made using grapes that come from 5 and 10 years old vines.
To keep the vineyards healthy Biondi Santi does not use any pesticide nor herbicide. Yields are very low, 30-50 quintals/ha. The fermentation of wines takes place in concrete vats, except for Brunello Riserva that takes place in wooden vats, always using only indigenous yeast.
Biondi Santi is the defender of traditional Brunello, despite being attacked by critics for not using barriques. Those same critics backed down and since then the Estate is living a new wave of popularity.
“Sangiovese in naturally rich with tannins and it doesn’t need aggressive tannins deriving from new barriques” declared Franco. “I use exclusively big Slavonian oak casks, some of which are very old, but well maintained. Those casks are neutral and allow to the wine to express uniquely the characteristics of the variety of grapes and of the terroir, without vanilla and toasted bread coming from new barriques”.
Biondi Santi is the only winery in Italy to recondition the old vintages of Brunello Riserva of their customers, but exclusively with Riservas of the same vintage coming directly from the winery. This work takes place only with the owners of the bottles and in case of positive outcome, they will be returned together with an authenticity certificate.