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Biondi-Santi and the test of time

Giampiero Bertolini at Il Greppo

At Biondi-Santi everything changes so everything can stay the same. Walter grills the new team there.

There is no estate in Italy more closely identified with its owners than Biondi-Santi, rooted in Montalcino for more than six generations. In the mid 19th century Ferruccio Biondi Santi (for some reason, the wine has a hyphen, the family name not) isolated several superior vines of Sangiovese on his Il Greppo estate which he subsequently propagated and from which he made a varietal wine he labelled Brunello di Montalcino. He was the first to do so. Through time one clone gained such historical importance it became officially registered as BBS11: Brunello Biondi-Santi No 11 (the vineyard row where it was located) in Italy’s national grape variety register in 1978.

In the 1990s Il Greppo became the scene of disputes between the late Franco Biondi Santi and his son Jacopo who wanted to modernise the estate, something Franco strongly opposed. Change has always been anathema to Franco and in 1999 Jacopo left for Castello di Montepò in Scansano in Tuscany’s Maremma, where he began experimenting with international varieties. Ironically, a sizeable chunk of Castello di Montepò’s vineyard is planted with BBS11.

Biondi-Santi and the test of time