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2015 Toscana Rosso “Cuna”

Podere Santa Felicita

The wine route can often lead me to unsuspecting corners of France and Italy. Usually the promise of a great potential terroir is present, but often the potential of the land itself has been either misunderstood or simply misread, and even more commonly the vigneron in question is struggling to translate a great terroir into the glass. While the secret to making great wine is undoubtedly growing healthy fruit on a properly selected piece of land, the hu­man hand must be there to guide the fruit into wine. There are a number of key touchpoints that only we can decide: harvest date and timing and technique of bottling are arguably the two most important. Length and style of maceration and choice of aging vessel are two more critical decisions.
      One morning in August last summer, as I drove for an hour from Arezzo due north on a small  two­lane road through eastern Tuscan towns all new to me—Rassina, Bibbiena, Poppi— I reflected on the likelihood of whether I would find greatness on the spectrum of “terroir real­ization.” As I neared my final destination in Pratovecchio, one hour due east of Firenze in the foothills of the Apennine moun­tains, my thoughts drifted back to the more mundane question: Where exactly was this place? Not even my trusty GPS was comfortable in these parts, so after climbing a dirt road nearly to the summit of a mountain without finding a cantina, I gave up and phoned my host, Federico Staderini. I probably could have walked to his small cellar from where I was, but ended up driving back down the mountain and back up a nearby dirt road. Close, but no cigar.
      Several decades of work as an agronomist and enologist, not to mention being a native of Tuscany and an avid student of history, gave Federico all the tools he needed to ferret out this forgotten limestone terroir high in the hills of eastern Tuscany, known to the Etruscans long before him. Truth be told, given Fede­rico’s track record, I had very high confidence that I would find the stars aligned. However, Pinot Nero in Toscana? It had to be seen and tasted to be believed.
     After we toured his vineyards, which did indeed exist and seemed abundantly healthy, his pipette began to dip and tour through his small cellar of old barrels, each taste revealing a wine of strong, confident character and surprising finesse. Afterward, a vertical sampling of six older vintages confirmed what had to be tasted to be believed: Federico had unearthed the Holy Grail for producing age­ worthy Pinot Nero in Tuscany, and I would import it to the United States for all of our clients to experience.

Dixon Brooke

Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Pinot Nero
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Podere Santa Felicita
Winemaker: Federico Staderini
Vineyard: 3.5 ha, Planted in 2004, 2005, 2007
Soil: Clay, limestone
Farming: Organic (certified)
Alcohol: 13.5%

More from this Producer or Region

About Tuscany

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.

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2014 Orcia Rosso “Selvarella”

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2012 Alta Valle Della Greve “80”

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2013 Brunello di Montalcino “Santa Maria”

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2015 Chianti Classico

Villa Di Geggiano  Italy  |  Tuscany  |  Chianti Classico


2014 Chianti Classico

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2011 Chianti Classico Riserva

Villa Di Geggiano  Italy  |  Tuscany  |  Chianti Classico Riserva


2016 Bandinello Toscana

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2012 Chianti Classico Riserva

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2015 Chianti Classico

Castagnoli  Italy  |  Tuscany  |  Chianti Classico


Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch


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