Molino di Sant'Antimo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In the early 1980s Carlo Vittori, already a well-known and experienced winemaker bought his first piece of land to the south of Montalcino close to the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate.
At the time Carlo Vittori was quite a pioneer because the land in this area was more or less abandoned and was farmed by just a few families who cultivated grapes and olives in the tradition of their ancestors. It soon became apparent that the investment had been a good one as the soil characteristics and the geographical conditions were excellent.
Today most of the larger producers of Brunello have at least some of their vineyards in the area around Castelnuovo dell’Abate. While the first ‘Sangiovese Grosso’ vines were growing, Carlo Vittori acquired the ruins of the mill, ‘Molino di Sant’Antimo,’ dating from the 1300s, from the Ciacci family. After some research, the long restoration work began to preserve the former characteristics of the building and its historical value. It seemed natural that the farm should take its name from the mill, and that the logo and labels should originate in the seal found at the nearby Abbey of the first Bishop Paolus. In the same period Carlo Vittori met the artist Sandro Chia for the first time so when the artist decided to purchase the ‘Castello di Romitorio’ for the production of Brunello and as his home in Italy, Carlo Vittori took on the restoration and development of the castle and its land. He directed it down the same long and ambitious road as the family farm. Today both the image and products, thanks to much hard work, have an international reputation. By the early 1990s, the ’Azienda Molino di Sant’Antimo’ had about 30 hectares of land, half cultivated with olives and vines and the rest consisting of the surrounding woodland and Mediterranean bush. At the beginning of the new century, as always with his family, Carlo Vittori put the finishing touches to the restoration of ‘Podernuovo ai Campi’ a traditional farmhouse dating from the 1800s surrounded by adult vines. This is now both the headquarters of the business and the family home.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is among Italy's elite red grape varieties and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino
Elsewhere throughout Italy, Sangiovese plays an important role in many easy-drinking, value-driven red blends and on the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed success growing in California and Washington.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with qualities of tart cherry, plum, sun dried tomato, fresh tobacco and herbs. High-quality, well-aged examples can take on tertiary notes of smoke, leather, game, potpourri and dried fruit. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine-grained tannins create a perfect symbiosis with tomato-based dishes, braised vegetables, roasted and cured meat, hard cheese and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may actually contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines as a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.