Diego Molinari and his wife Nora moved from Rome to Montalcino in 1976. Diego was 45 and he already had a successful aviator career since 25 years.
“Destiny bring us to Montalcino” say Nora. “For years Diego thought about making wine. We were almost ready to buy a big estate in Montepulciano, but at the end it has been sold to someone else. So, we decided to buy a smaller estate, that is called Cerbaiona. We have been living here since 30 years, on the top of this hill with an altitude of 400mt, on the road that bring to Torrenieri. It’s a 14.5 hectares property, half of which was a forest populated by 3 major species of trees: oaks, holm oak, turkey oak, chestnut trees; the remain was divided in two part: the olive tree grove and the garden. We found just some Moscardello and some Sangiovese plants."
“We were fascinated by the house on the top of the hill, there was an older portion built around the 16th century and another portion (that included a chapel) built around the 19th century. The renovation lasted one year and a lot of money and perseverance has been essentials. In the meantime Diego read and studied, he has visited vineyards and wineries, and searched informations, as he wouldn’t hire enologists. Then we have removed olive trees, we have smoothed a side of the hill, and we have created the vineyard”
“For the biggest part of our plantation we have used cordone speronato pattern” say Diego Molinari “I spied the Biondi Santi’s pattern, as Biondi Santi is considered the Father of Brunello wineries”
Diego doesn’t use weed killer, insecticide, fungicide. He just use a little bit of stallatico (natural fertilizing) or potassium and phosphorus. A combination of careful pruning and selective thinning is an important part of Diego’s best practice, and he limited his productivity to 60 quintal/Hectare (referred to grapes).
“Sourness is never missing in my grapes, and the same is true for sugar percentage” say Diego “I’m a self-taught wine-maker, I’ve learned step by step. I still use hydraulic wine press, for fermentation I have big vat and if it’s necessary, I open big windows in the winery in order to cool down the must”
“I’ve never added yeast, I don’t use purification or similar. I don’t demonize technology : I use a convector heater in order to avoid a stop in Malolactic fermentation caused by a reduction of temperature. I also use iron vat for firsts pouring. My Brunello remains for 3 years or 3.5 yearsripening in big barrels (2000 litres). I’ve never used 'barriques', I only pour wine in barrels, then directly in the bottle: the wine stay there at least 6 months"
In 2015 autumn Diego Molinari, 84yo, sold Cerbaiona to a group of investors led by Gary Rieschel, American and avid wine collector, and Matthew Fioretti, which manages all aspects of the farm. And 'then partner Andrea Mantengoli, owner of the near winery La Serena, who collaborated closely with Molinari. The group is driven by a passion for viticulture, the land, the wine, and to this place so special.
Today, from 1.6 hectares of Brunello di Montalcino, Cerbaiona produces between 6 and 7 thousand bottles a year. Half a hectare produces 4 thousand bottles of Rosso di Montalcino, the remaining hectare Toscana IGT.
Vinous - Antonio Galloni Dec 2015:
The 2010 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino shows why it belongs in the pantheon of the most epic wines ever made in Montalcino. A Brunello with no beginning and no end, the 2010 Cerbaiona just is. Every aroma, every shade of nuance, every texture is just…perfect. 100.
The Wine Advocate - Monica Larner on 2010 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino:
“If you are looking for outstanding Brunello, look no further”.
photo credit www.lucianopignataro.it
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