Biondi Santi – The Evolution of a Wine Legend, by Filippo Magnani

 

On July 8th I was thrilled to be invited to the estate of the renowned Brunello producer, Biondi Santi. I also had the pleasure to taste their magnificent wines. It has been a great honor for me to be back in the place where the legendary Brunello di Montalcino has been created.

In the year of 1999, which was at the beginning of my career, I met the legendary Franco Biondi Santi in front of the 18th-century villa Tenuta Greppo. To this day, it is still a significant point of reference for my working and personal life in the world of wine.

At that time [1999], I was a young boy with a drawer full of dreams.

I was welcomed at the beautiful entrance, of the wine estate, by Mr Franco Biondi Santi and I immediately perceived his humanity and kindness. For me, he was a passionate teacher, elegant and very enthusiastic. A charismatic man. After several years, I am back there with my team. We were welcomed by Sabine Cappelli from hospitality, and Lene Lundvald Bucelli from marketing and communications. They guided us into the discovery of the innovations of the estate, transmitting the same humanity and kindness that has always distinguished the Biondi-Santi family.

An endless success of “Great Men with a Vision”

There is an indissoluble thread between the success of one of the most important wine territories in the world such as Brunello di Montalcino and the history of the Biondi Santi family. The line of a dynasty of brilliant men; charismatic and visionary figures who have always been able to look forward. Masters of winemaking that managed to keep up the family name and their traditions. They’ve always taken care of their beloved territory of Montalcino. It was first the revolutionary intuition of Clemente Santi that in the 1850 decided to plant the Sangiovese variety at Montalcino. The name Biondi Santi comes from the will of his grandson Ferruccio, son of Caterina Santi (Clemente’s daughter) and Jacopo Biondi, to keep the grandfather name. Clemente and Ferruccio shared the same love for viticulture and vinification. The name Brunello di Montalcino (with capital B) on the label was first seen in 1888 under the guidance of the latter. Ferruccio Biondi Santi also noticed the robust character of the Sangiovese Grosso grape and decided to vinify it on its own to produce wine suitable for aging.

Another turning point was in 1966 when Tancredi (Ferruccio’s son) established the specification when the DOC was created for the Brunello di Montalcino (then upgraded Docg in 1980). The other brilliant visionary of the last century was Franco Biondi Santi (1922-2013) who learned from his ancestors the fine art of vinification. As a wine producer he meticulously continued the growing practices and further enhanced the already cult wine of Montalcino. He carried on the study begun by Ferruccio and continued by Tancredi on the research of a grape that was the most resistant to the cryptogams that were affecting their vines. The selection process concluded with the identification of the clone known as BBS11: which stands for Brunello Biondi Santi with the 11 corresponding to the chosen mother plant. Biondi Santi is the only producer to have given its name to a grape clone.

After many years and long tradition in the wine production, the new generations of the family, Jacopo Biondi Santi and his son Tancredi Biondi Santi initiated a major change and evolution for Tenuta Greppo, welcoming a new partner in the leading of the estate to be able to continue the enduring commitment of producing outstanding wines. Today the winery is under the guidance of Christopher Descours, proprietor of the EPI Group, who leads hand in hand with an extremely qualified Italian team. An important strategic alliance driven by the great respect for the bicentenary know-how in the vine growing and by the common goal of reaffirming once again Biondi-Santi among the most special and desired wines in the world. The vision of the new partner was endorsed immediately by Giampiero Bertolini who was appointed as CEO in November 2018 standing at the helm of the historic winery today. 

Vineyards and Soils

Since 2018, huge investments have been made. The new partnership carried on the scientific research of Franco, who introduced a rigorous study on the parcellation both in the vineyards and in the winery depending on the age of the vines.  It shows the extraordinary effort of the leaders of the estates to try to understand and develop their beloved terroir. An accurate examination in the professional hands of the agronomist Pietro Parra starting from the analysis of the vineyards, and taking a fresh approach to the terroir. He has been able to fully map the characteristics of all the different types of soil and exposition. The estate today is comprised of 47 hectares. All the grapes are from different vineyards that extend between the four historical sites Tenuta Greppo, I Pieri, Scarnacuoia, Pievecchia and the new acquisition Ribusuoli.

“Tenuta Greppo”, is the main block around the winery, 560 metres above sea level. It is situated on a 26-hectare, coming from a massal selection of the oldest vines of the property dating back to 1930, the majority of them are BBS11 clones (Brunello Biondi Santi 11).

“I Pieri”, east of Montalcino, sitting at 370 metres altitude with a cool east-facing exposure, like Greppo, are poor, calcareous soils with a high marl content.

“The Scarnacuoia” on the west of the village Montalcino, at 450 metres altitude with old-terraced vineyards separated by dry stone walls.

“Pievecchia”, the lowest lying site, at 200 metres altitude with a cool, airy, north facing exposure. The soil here has a higher clay content.

“Ribusuoli”, is a plot acquired at the end of 2019 at an altitude of 380-450 metres, not far from Tenuta Greppo, with very similar soils and exposures.

Biondi-Santi is committed to respecting the environment and safeguarding biodiversity. Today, as in the past, the vineyards are not treated with any invasive chemical agents.

The Winery and its Wines 

New concrete and oak vats were purchased to maintain the winery’s tradition of the use of concrete for fermentation and Slavonian oak for ageing. The grapes are destemmed and crushed upon arrival at the winery. Only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation of the riserva. The process takes place in oak vats, unlike the regular Brunello, which ferments in concrete vats. Federico Radi, the technical Director in charge of the wine production, is focused on continuing the balance between tradition and innovation. Biondi-Santi produces three wines, all crafted with Sangiovese Grosso: Rosso di Montalcino; Brunello di Montalcino; and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. All three wines are bound together by a distinctive style, driven by a signature freshness, which makes them vibrant, and a specific balance which makes them elegant and very suitable for long ageing in the bottle.

My tasting at Biondi-Santi, Tenuta Greppo  on the 8th of July 2021

Rosso di Montalcino Doc 2018
The Rosso di Montalcino 2018 was produced exclusively from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards and aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 12 months and released on the market after 3 years from the harvest.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13%

Notes:
Brillant medium ruby core with compact rim. Expressive flavour of strawberry, blueberries, and violet mixed with scents of rhubarb and mint. Lively red fruit in the palate with abundant freshness and well-integrated tannins. Elegant and lingering finish. Charming wine with ageing potential.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 2015
The 2015 Brunello was produced exclusively with a selection of grapes from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards, then aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market after 6 years from the harvest. For the first time in history Biondi-Santi, this wine was produced in 750 ml and Magnum bottles.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 14,5%

Notes:
Bright deep ruby core with narrow rim. The wine expresses intense aromas of black cherry and plum mixed with scents of chocolate and fresh tobacco. The palate is balanced, the acidity matches perfectly with the soft tannins and with the alcohol. Harmonious structure with long aftertaste. A beautiful wine.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 2013 Riserva
The 2013 Riserva was produced exclusively with a selection of grapes from Biondi Santi proprietary vineyards comprising of the oldest parcels, then aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market after 7 years from the harvest.

Vintage 2013 is officially the 40th Riserva produced from 1888 until 2013. For the first time in history Biondi-Santi produced three large formats in addition to the 750 ml bottle: Magnum, Jéroboam and Mathusalem.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13,5%

Notes:
Intense ruby core with paler reflections. Very complex nose showing aromas of red cherry and blackcurrant. Slightly meaty with overtones of cedar and leather. Vibrant, fresh palate with velvety tannins well matched with a lovely fruit and a lively acidity. Soft and persistent. An outstanding wine, clear expression of pure Sangiovese with long lasting life.

Brunello di Montalcino Docg 1983 Riserva  
The 1983 Riserva was produced with the Biondi Santi proprietary clone of Sangiovese Grosso called BBS11 (Brunello Biondi Santi 11), which was identified and selected by Biondi-Santi at Tenuta Greppo in the Seventies. For this wine were used only grapes from the oldest vines with over 25 years of age, then it was aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years and released on the market generally after 7 years from the harvest. It benefited from a long refinement in the bottle in the quiet and darkness of “La Storica”, the bottle library at Tenuta Greppo where all the historic vintages of Biondi-Santi Riserva are scrupulously kept.

100% Sangiovese Grosso – Alcohol 13 %

Notes:
Clear, garnet colour with paler tinge. The nose shows a magnificent bouquet with scents of prune and fig with hints of mushroom and tobacco. Delicate entrance in the palate with medium body and silky tannins. It shows equilibrium and finesse. A gorgeous wine, showing the purity and the potential of one the greatest Sangiovese in the world.

Tenuta Greppo and its terroir are a place of perpetual balance. Each bottle produced is unique and alive, growing without hurry in its charming relationship with time. It is a wine that maintains not only the great quality that has always distinguished the company, but it also assumes unique features year by year. Prolonged bottle-ageing is then essential to allow the Biondi-Santi style to develop to its fullest. Longevity is in fact the most precious quality of these wines. “It is intriguing to think that in a sip Brunello di Montalcino there are hidden all of the three temporal dimensions: the past with the history of a family and their dedication to viticulture, study and research; the present with lively, complex and intense flavors; and the future, that lies in the ability to grow in character, both its wines and its representatives.” Here they’ve always seen beyond the horizon, setting ambitious objectives. Pioneers that created what is considered today the finest expression of the Tuscan wine style.

Biondi Santi is the spearhead of one world famous wine destination. Wine lovers and wine professionals arrive in Tuscany from all over the world for their exceptional wine travel experience.

 

 

#Biondisanti #wine #redwine #winelovers #instawine #winetravel #winetourism #italy #tuscany #tenutagreppo #behindthebottle #italianwine #italianwinelover #tuscanygram #Sangiovese #winetasting @biondisantigreppo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021 Focuses on ‘Bouncing Back’ in Digital Format

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021 has moved to digital format for this year, it will be providing live sessions focusing on the recovery of the wine and spirits industry called ‘Bouncing Back’ – the dates are June 8, 2021 – June 29, 2021.

Webinars, roundtable debates and exclusive interviews will go live every Tuesday on 8, 15, 22 and June 29.  Sessions will be dedicated to the new major trends in the sector including online sales and the digital sprint, the tasting revolution and sustainability.

New on-demand content will also feed into Vinexposium Connect every Thursday in June.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) will host a webinar on the guiding principles of sustainability and its environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects, while the IWSR will present the results of its latest report on trends and outlook to 2025 for wine and spirits consumption.

There will also be virtual tastings with Marc Almert, ASI (International Sommeliers’ Association) 2019 World’s Best Sommelier, focusing on ideas and tips for remotely stimulating the senses.

Heini Zachariassen, CEO of Vivino, will also take the floor to explain how his business tackled the health crisis and outline his strategic ambitions.

Vinocamp & La WineTech will provide an overview of solutions for improving online sales, featuring good practice to make a success of e-commerce sales.

At the end of last year Vinexposium made major changes to its schedule for 2021 due to the pandemic. In addition to moving Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, Vinexpo New York, Vinexpo Hong Kong and Vinexpo Bordeaux have all been postponed until 2022.

Registration and further details https://bit.ly/VinexposiumConnect

#wineevent #winetasting #vinexpo #wineparis #vinexpoparis2021 #winenews #winetrade #instawine #wine #sommelier #winemarketing #onlinewineevent #recovery #winelovers #wineeducation #digital

 

 

 

Wines of Argentina appoints Maximiliano Hernández Toso as new president

The Wines of Argentina has recently appointed Maximiliano Hernández Toso as its new president for the next two-year period.

Toso will serve a two-year term as president, supported by Guillermo Barzi, who will continue as acting vice president of the institution.

Tosco was appointed during an Ordinary General Assembly of Wines of Argentina yesterday, held over videoconference.

Hernández Toso is the co-founder and director of WHT Partners, an Argentine venture group that invests in high-end wine and owns Riglos and Huarpe wineries. He has been on Wines of Argentina’s board of directors since 2015, and previously occupying the role of treasurer.

He has an MBA from IDEA and the London Business School and a Master’s in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied as a Fulbright fellow. Toso has also taught and directed the wine management programme at ADEN Business School and has also spent time working as a private and independent consultant to entrepreneurs, investors and multi-lateral organizations.

Commenting on his new role, Hernández Toso said: “It is a privilege for me to lead this institution, which I respect and admire for the great work it has done since its inception. We have many challenges ahead, but also great opportunities to innovate and continue bringing Vino Argentino closer to the world and raising the perception of Argentina as a modern winemaking country thanks to the enormous wealth and diversity of our terroirs.”

Vice president Guillermo Barzi, added: “Over the years, Argentina has shown that it is capable of surprising and competing internationally with great wines of the world. The goal is challenging, but we will keep the focus on collaboration agreements and education as a way to reach new audiences.”

Wines of Argentina website:  https://www.winesofargentina.org/en

Australia’s Orlando Marzo Named World’s Best Bartender

Orlando Marzo, from Melbourne’s acclaimed Lûmé restaurant, has been named

Orlando Marzo, from Melbourne’s acclaimed Lûmé restaurant, has been named the world’s best bartender by the largest global bartending competition, WORLD CLASS Global Bartender of the Year 2018.

Orlando competed against over 10,000 bartenders from every corner of the globe.  The competition lasted six months, with over one hundred challenges and countless cocktails. It culminated in a four-day final, where 56 of the best bartenders in the industry battled it out in Berlin.

“Shaking it all the way to the top” was no mean feat for this bartender, his winning cocktails truly blew the judges away. Diageo Global Cocktailian and WORLD CLASS judge, Lauren Mote, said: “All the finalists brought their A game, but Orlando really was on another level. The Zacapa aperitif he made for the ‘Before and After’ challenge was one of the best I’ve ever tasted and the way he held his nerve in the ‘Cocktail Clash’ finale – for me, that’s the mark of a truly WORLD CLASS bartender.”

The standard this year was truly exceptional, but Orlando stood out as the best of the best. Armed with Diageo’s award-winning Reserve brands, he blew the judges away, taking sustainable bartending further than ever before in the Ketel One ‘Better Drinking’ challenge, and reigning supreme in the ‘Flavours of a Nation’ round with his innovative twist on the classic Johnnie Walker Black Label Highball. To seal the deal, he went head-to-head with his fellow competitors in the ‘Cocktail Clash’ Grand Finale and brought the house down with one show-stopping creation after another.

Orlando has an incredible year ahead of him – he will have the chance to travel the world as a Diageo representative, making bespoke drinks in exotic and far-flung locations and judging competitions. He will also join a roll call of the industry’s finest, becoming the 10th member of the WORLD CLASS Hall of Fame.

“I can’t believe it!” said Orlando. “Just being here, competing alongside the best bartenders in the world, judged by some of the most iconic names in the business was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to actually win? I’m still in shock. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing team back home – they’ve cheered me on every step of the way!”

Here is where you can find winning recipes from this year’s finalists:

http://www.theworldclassclub.com

Chef Interview:  Julien Asseo – Executive Chef Restaurant Guy Savoy Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Chef Julien Asseo –
Executive Chef Restaurant Guy Savoy Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Julien Asseo has achieved what most chefs can only dream of; throughout his career he has worked with renowned chefs Rick Moonen, Joel Robuchon, and Guy Savoy.

After a tour of the kitchen and Krug Chef’s Table (private dining), I chatted with Chef Asseo in the beautiful setting of his restaurant’s dining room.

Julien grew up in Libourne, France on his parents’ vineyard. He earned his bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at Lycée Hôtelier de Gascogne.  Shortly after, he moved to Paris to work at La Fontain de Mars as commis to eventually chef de partie. A number of years later he decided to move to Los Angeles and got a position as a sous chef at the Rivera. In 2009 he moved to Las Vegas to work under renowned chefs Rick Moonen and Joel Robuchon. Julien joined Restaurant Guy Savoy in 2011 as a sous chef, advancing to chef de cuisine, a number of years later, and is now hold the position as Executive Chef. He has never looked back.

Liz Palmer:     What influenced you to become a chef?

Julien Asseo: I loved to eat from a young age – I was always attracted to food.
Especially when my mom used to cook a big meal every day. I first realized when I was 15 years old; I followed my head and moved back to France (from California) and went to cooking school Lycée Hôtelier de Gascogne, Bordeaux. I never stopped my passion, right after I graduated I moved to Paris.

Liz Palmer:     Do you still have time to experiment?

Julien Asseo:  Yes, I’m currently working on a new idea that came from a childhood memory, sweet breads and milk skin (pairing these together).

I also love travelling and reading – I collect lots of books to learn and discover new things.

Liz Palmer:     What are the current restaurant trends in Las Vegas?

Julien Asseo: The big movement now is simplicity – going back to roots, like
heirloom vegetables. I also strive for the best food possible – the best ingredients.
I try to stay local – at least 90% of the vegetables are local.  The meat comes from Texas, the fish from the Atlantic.

You have to respect food especially the farmer and never underestimate a vegetable.

For me it’s more of a personal touch and being more honest in my cooking.

Liz Palmer:     Who have been your mentors?

Julien Asseo: It’s hard to say.  I worked for Rick Moonen and Joel Robuchon and learned a lot.  I last trained under Guy Savoy who most inspired me on my career. He’s a very good chef, in every aspect from pleasing guests, being the best host, to cooking.  I learned a lot from him on fine dining.

Liz Palmer:     Champagne and food Pairing – what are your favorites?

Julien Asseo: Champagne brut is best to drink with caviar from Iran (they are make the best pairing).  Also, crab, and other sea food that have briny flavors like oysters. Rose Champagne is best to drink when you eat octopus, meat and fish dishes, seafood that is robust and foods that have earthy flavors (meats and fish from the earth and sea).

Liz Palmer:     What’s next for you?

Julien Asseo: I’m going to work hard and get that third star (Michelin).  Michelin stopped coming in 2009 when we had two stars.  We hope they are coming back after nine years.

I would like to eventually go back to California and open a restaurant, in the countryside – close to the ocean and mountains with great farm great ingredients.  It will be under my name – it’s my dream.

Liz Palmer

Restaurant Guy Savoy
Caesars
3570 Las Vegas Boulevard S,
Las Vegas, NV

https://www.caesars.com

Krug Chef’s Table
Restaurant Guy Savoy Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Guy Savoy, Las Vegas, Liz Palmer