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Biondi Santi

Ufficio Castello di Montepò Pancole (GR) 58054 Italia


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The Castello di Montepò estate, located in the Tuscan Maremma to the south of Grosseto, on the same parallel as the fortress of Talamone, is far from Montalcino. For what conceivable reason did Jacopo Biondi Santi, scion of the family which invented Brunello di Montalcino, acquire it from the nephew of writer Graham Greene in order to turn it into the headquarters of his own winemaking activities? The reason is quite simple: his father, Franco, is there to continue the traditions of Montalcino, while he, ever since 1991, has gone off on his own with the idea of producing wines more in tune with the demands of the market without, however, any idea of entering into competition with Brunello di Montalcino, a wine with which he feels the strongest possible identification. Since 1991, accordingly, he has produced Sassoalloro, made with Montalcino grapes, but in a different, innovative style compared to Brunello. And with the 1993 vintage he created another Super Tuscan. Schidione, blending Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The project entered into an operative phase with the purchase of Montepò, from which he acquired the grapes for his first experiments: 900 acres of land with a great viticultural potential, dominated by a castle, a medieval fortress intact over the centuries. Perched on a summit of an imposing hill, this military structure was rendered more gracious during the Renaissance and today is in perfect condition because the husband of the previous owner (nominated director of the British Museum a few years ago), carried out an exemplary work of restoration. Jacopo Biondi Santi, has extended vineyard surface to 500 acres, planting the historic variety of his family, Sangiovese, and adding such international varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The composition of the soil, the various micro-climates, the nearby sea all combine to create the conditions for the realization of outstanding wines, fully expressive of the enormous possibilities of the Maremma. A cru which Biondi Santi singled out in 1997 supplies the grapes for the latest great red wine of his line, a Cabernet Sauvignon to which he has given the historic name of Montepò: Montepaone. This emphasis on Super Tuscan wines, is it not in conflict with the family tradition? “Not at all”, he sustains: “in the last analysis Brunello di Montalcino was the result of a violation of the rules in force one hundred years ago, a decision to break the rules taken by my great-grandfather Ferruccio Biondi Santi. A man who, before becoming a producer of wine, had fought with Garibaldi at Bezzecca in 1866, when he was only 17 years old. He was no conformist, he was a free spirit and a rebel. I hope to resemble him at least a little”.

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