Colleoni grows organic Sangiovese in less-heeled areas of Montalcino that he has identified as top terroirs. This is one great example: it tastes like the Gang of Four might have given him a tip or two on his vinification. Expect ripe Sangiovese fruit with a streak of bitter cherry and a pleasant dusting of Tuscan tannin.
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.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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