Gianni Brunelli, impressive Brunellos

Gianni Brunelli, impressive Brunellos

In 1987, Gianni Brunelli fulfilled his family's dream by returning to Montalcino and successfully reclaiming the old property of his father, known as "Le Chiuse di Sotto." Honoring his father's memory, a small plot of vines planted by him in 1947 is preserved to this day. Positioned northeast of Montalcino, "Le Chiuse di Sotto" encompasses a single 5-hectare estate, with 2 hectares dedicated to Sangiovese grapes and the remaining 2.5 hectares cultivated with olive groves, yielding the estate's distinctive extra virgin olive oil.

In the mid-90s, Gianni and Laura expanded their holdings with the acquisition of Podernovone. Situated on the south-eastern slopes of Montalcino, this 4.5-hectare property is planted with Sangiovese and some Merlot, introduced in 1997 specifically for Brunello and Rosso wines, and the Amor Costante, respectively. Podernovone comprises four distinct vineyards named Olmo, Oliva, Quercia, and Gelso.

The day-to-day operations and overall management of the winery are overseen by Laura Brunelli and her dedicated team, which includes family members and staff. Their collective efforts ensure the continued success and quality of the wines produced by the estate.

From healthy, well-ripened, balanced grapes, harvested at the right moment and carefully vinified, one naturally obtains good wines with a balanced structure and generous aromas. It is the meticulous work in the vineyard that truly defines absolute quality. Each phase of the process must be technically analysed and appropriately adapted to the needs of the vines, climate, and microclimate. This ensures a tailored approach that prioritizes the vine's requirements, contributing to the creation of wines of unparalleled quality.

In 2015, after careful consideration and extensive effort, Laura successfully completed and inaugurated the new winery at Podernovone. Nestled in the south-eastern slopes of Montalcino and enveloped by four and a half hectares of vineyards, the winery is designed with a focus on minimalism and practicality, prioritizing a low energy impact and natural processes while striving to minimize its carbon footprint through the utilization of solar energy and gravity.

Constructed using stone and the traditional Etruscan method of "Cocciopesto," the building is designed to breathe, maintaining a harmonious balance with its surroundings. A discreet corridor encircles the structure, serving as a thermal insulator, ensuring a stable temperature throughout the changing seasons. Podernovone stands as a fully sustainable facility, seamlessly blending technology and tradition in its commitment to environmental responsibility.

All grapes delivered to the winery originate exclusively from their own vineyards, ensuring the highest quality. They are meticulously handpicked, subjected to an on-site selection process, and undergo a final visual inspection on the sorting table. With intentionally low yields, quality is paramount. Vinification occurs separately for each plot, utilizing stainless steel tanks. While there are no rigid protocols, the approach is tailored to the unique requirements of each vintage. Adhering to principles of cleanliness, the winemaking team maintains a stable temperature between 26-27°C.

Extraction during vinification is extended yet gentle, prioritizing the development of overt aromas, rich color, and refined tannins. Following malolactic fermentation, the wines from individual plots embark on a separate aging journey within the oak cask cellar, featuring vessels crafted from Slavonian oak ranging from 5 to 30hl. The deliberate and prolonged aging process allows for natural clarification, eliminating the need for external interventions. A very light filtration is applied just before bottling, ensuring the integrity of the wines.

With 6.5 hectares of vineyards divided into five distinct plots across the north and south-eastern sides of Montalcino, the estate demonstrates versatility influenced by the unique weather characteristics of each vintage. The 2-hectare Le Chiuse di Sotto plot, situated to the north, offers flexibility. Enriched with clay, ensuring higher water retention, and exposed to fresh northern winds, this plot faces north-west, ideal for producing wines with a delicate bouquet. The rows are oriented north-south to maximize cluster exposure to light. The traditional Montalcino  training method, spurred cordon, is employed for the vines, with a density of 4500 vines per hectare, exclusively planted with Sangiovese.

At Podernovone in the Sant’Antimo area on the southeastern slopes of Montalcino, the estate boasts four vineyards covering 4.5 hectares, planted predominantly with Sangiovese and a small plot of Merlot. The initial 2.2 hectares were completed in May 1998, with the remaining 2.3 hectares planted in October of the same year. The soil composition includes sand, slate, galestro, limestone, and a fair amount of clay, while the exposure is south-southwest.

Adhering to organic viticulture practices, the estate refrains from using herbicides and synthetic products. Manual soil management between and under the rows promotes the preservation of natural flora and ensures proper soil aeration. Organic fertilization is tailored to the individual needs of each vine, fostering a balanced and sustainable growth approach.

Montalcino, located in the Tuscany region of Italy, offers numerous activities and discoveries for visitors. Here are some suggestions for things to do around Montalcino:

·     Visit Wineries: Montalcino is renowned for its Brunello di Montalcino wine. Explore local wineries for wine tastings and cellar tours. Some wineries also offer guided vineyard tours.

·       Explore the Historic Center: Montalcino's center is rich in history and charm. Stroll through narrow streets, visit the medieval fortress, and discover the Piazza del Popolo.

·       Discover Nearby Towns: Montalcino is well situated for day trips to other Tuscan towns such as Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano, and San Gimignano.

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