Biondi Santi

Brunello di Montalcino
About the Producer: 
Brunello di Montalcino in its formative years was synonymous with the name Biondi Santi. The first wine of the name was produced by Ferruccio Biondi Santi in 1888 at the family’s Greppo estate, where in the 1860’s his maternal grandfather Clemente Santi made an award-winning “Vino scelto (Brunello).” Ferruccio’s son Tancredi make the name Brunello famous through his own skills and his astute habit of stashing away bottles of top vintages, including the 1888 and 1891, whose vitality astounded experts more than a century later. Tancredi’s son Franco continues to make Brunello in the grand tradition, selected only grapes from very old vines for his vaunted Riserva and following vinification and aging techniques that give it an aristocratic aura of earlier time. Competition has increased in a field that now includes about 130 producers of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, but Biondi Santi stands apart from the crowd for it’s history and self-imposed standards of winemaking that refuse compromise. The Brunello Riserva tends to be severe and unyielding in its youth, which is why Franco Biondi Santi insists that great vintages need 20 years or more to begin showing class and why he recommends opening bottles to “breathe” hours before v=serving. Aeration does help to bring out the uncommon depth and complexity of reserve wines that remain among the most prized and expensive of Italy, in particular those dating back 30 years or more (which the producer will top up with the same vintages and recork at his expense). The cellars of Il Greppo still contain bottles of the Biondi Santi Brunello Riserva from 1925, 1891 and the 100 million lire (about $50,000). Biondi Santi also produces a regular Brunello di Montalcino ‘Annata’ and Rosso di Montalcino from younger vine. Average production of the three types is 70,000 bottles a year.