Marino Colleoni farms steep, high-altitude marl soils on the north side of Montalcino. Aging here is the same as with all our Brunelli—old casks. The Colleoni Brunelli sport high-toned aromatic displays, chiseled, medium- to fullbodied frames, great acidity, and lengthy, savory finishes. Since they are truly versatile wines, I do not limit myself to traditional Tuscan Sangiovese pairings with them. Few things work better than those mystical pairings, however.
Luisa and Marino Colleoni’s native Bergamo is famous for its medieval palaces, but to them it just couldn’t compare to Tuscany. The couple purchased a property outside Montalcino known as Le Sante Marie and moved in 1993. During a walk, they spotted grapes through the leaves of a tree. They got to work clearing away scrub and when they finished, a neatly planted vineyard lay before them. They summoned an inspector and had the vineyard certified for Brunello. They embraced organic viticulture, and constantly search for even more natural methods. The northern exposure, high altitude, and marl soil that of this property all combine to give elegant and fine Brunellos that sets itself apart from the majority of Brunellos in Montalcino.
Perhaps no region is tied to Italy’s reputation as a producer of fine wine as much as Tuscany. Since Etruscan times, viticulture has played a prominent role in this idyllic land of rolling hills, and the Tuscan winemaking tradition remains as strong as ever today. With a favorable Mediterranean climate, an undulating topography offering countless altitudes and expositions, and a wealth of poor, well-draining soils, conditions are ideal for crafting high-quality wines. Add to that the rich gastronomical tradition—Tuscany is home to some of the country’s finest game, pastas, salumi, and cheeses—and you have the blueprint for a world-class wine region.
This is Sangiovese territory; in fact, it is arguably the only place in the world where Sangiovese reaches a truly regal expression. In spite of a rocky history with fluctuations in quality, traditionally produced Chianti has reclaimed its status as one of the country’s most reliable, food-friendly reds, while the rapid rise of Brunello di Montalcino shows the grape’s potential for grandiose, opulent reds allying power and finesse. Traditionally-minded growers have stuck to using only indigenous grape varieties and employing techniques like aging in massive wooden casks known as botti, creating wines of terroir that shine at the Tuscan table.
Tuscan wines have had a place in our portfolio since Kermit’s first visit in 1977. While the names of the estates have changed, the spirit of those first unfiltered Chiantis he imported live on through our current selections.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
Inspiring Thirst, page 312
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