Super-low-profile Tenuta Grigeiro of Montalcino is a relative newcomer to the global wine scene, inaugurated only in 2011. Just one red wine is produced from the three varietals farmed on this super-small-scale property, a mere 2.5 hectares.
Like many winegrowers, Stefano Arborea, the proprietor, believes that great wine is made in the vineyards and that terroir and the pursuit of its expression is paramount. However, he takes this one step further than most. Starting out with the philosophy “without land, you don’t get very far”, he spent 15 years researching and testing to select the right clones of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines for his one and only wine. His unique cuvée, NUAO 273, is the result of a double clonal choice of each vine variety. “The double clones approach is a crazy way of working” he admits, “but it permits this great Montalcino terroir to be expressed through a perfect balance and perfect expression of the different characters of each grape variety”. The price of this precision is a tiny production – just 3,800-4,000 bottles per year.
Stefano Arborea seeks to make his own mark in the long history of Tuscan and indeed Italian winemaking. After learning the art of pruning as a boy from his uncle, he grew up wanting to create a wine to express Montalcino terroir, but in his own way, with no compromise. In order to follow his highly individual approach, he realised he would have to make some sacrifices. After studying oenology and agronomy “day and night”, he sold some family land and invested every single euro in creating his project.
“I bought at first terrains inside Brunello’s D.O.C.G. appellation”, he recounts, “but I got out immediately to be free to do what I want and to produce in a better way than the appellation. That caused to me immediately to lose 50% of the value of my vineyards. But, to me, it was essential to produce something beyond the easy mainstream of the Montalcino’s appellation”. Encouraged by Giacomo Tachis to pursue his ambition, the world is now reaping the vinous benefits of his vision.
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