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The Wine created by a single man: the Biondi-Santi Brunello

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Today we want to tell you a great story, so make yourself comfortable and relax.

Once upon a time, in a small city in the heart of Tuscany called Montalcino, a pharmacist with a great passion: Wine. For this reason he decided to use his knowledges in Chemistry and Science to produce an unique wine in his "Tenuta del Greppo", in the hillside of Montalcino. We still drink today his wine: the Brunello.

The name of this visionary man was Clemente Santi. He chose to vinify Sangiovese Grosso as mono-varietal and the results were surprisingly exceptional. In the land of Chianti and Nobile di Montepulciano (wines obtained with a blend of Sangiovese and others local grapes), Clemente decided to use Sangiovese alone to not alterate its incredible power and capacity of aging.

It was born the "selected red wine (brunello) of 1865" awarded at the Agrarian Exhibition of Montepulciano in 1869. This date marks the birth of this Wine characterised by such longevity, by which it was later consecrated with the two historical Reserves of 1888 and 1891.

Clemente's nephew, Ferruccio, inherited from him his passion for the land, the grapes and the wine. Ferruccio decided to join the surname of his mother - Santi - with the surname of his father - Biondi. It was born the Biondi Santi Winery - Tenuta Greppo.

Ferruccio Biondi Santi dedicated his life to his Winery: setting extremely severe production standards to increase the quality of the wine. Unfortunately his vineyards were hit by the phylloxera, this small insect that destroyed great part of Italian and European vineyards.

But while the other winegrowers tried to produce red wines immediately ready to drink to make the ends meet, Ferruccio decided to do the exact opposite, focusing in a long lasting wine, from 100% Sangiovese. Moreover Ferruccio completely replanted all of his vineyards, "grafting them on wild vine cuttings, with buds taken from mother plants identified at Greppo".

When Ferruccio died in 1917, his son Tancredi inherited the management of Tenuta Greppo, starting a new technique called "ricolmatura". Tancredi realised that is was necessary to top up the old Reserves, the level of which was falling. He uncorked them, checked to make sure that the wine was still perfect, topped them up with wine from the same vintage and then re-corked them. His final "ricolmatura" was in March 1970, when he was topping up his old bottles of Brunello Reserve 1888, 1891, 1925 and 1945, in the Greppo Wine Cellar, in the presence of Mario Soldati, the Italian writer and journalist who described Tancredi in this way: "Wine has for Tancredi the same psychological characteristics that the artwork has for the artist. I drunk even the Brunello Riserva of 1891 and 1888 : I was so impressed, like a small miracle".

Trancredi's son, Franco Biondi Santi, after his graduation in Agrarian Science at Perugia University, he learned the art of vinification from his father and continued to run the Greppo Estate, producing an unequalled collection of Reserve bottles. He also increased the production of Brunello del Greppo from the 4 hectares cultivated until his father's death, to the current 25. Franco paid attention to the international promotion of his wine. Since 1970 he has succeeded in creating the understanding and appreciation of the remarkable typical character and quality of his Brunello del Greppo.

And so, the story of this incredible wine arrives nowadays and doesn't end here. Now there is the 6th generation of the Family Biondi Santi that runs the Winery.

In 2020 the Biondi-Santi Family celebrated the release of the last Reserve produced by Franco, the 2012. "A faithful expression of his" productive hand ": vibrant freshness, refined structure and a youthful austerity, which evolves and softens over the years. A wine designed for a very long life in the bottle".

Well, now all we can do is to wait the right moment to open and enjoy it!

Did you like this story? Would you like to learn more? We are waiting for you at the Facebook live of Thursday January 14th at 7.30PM @nessundormacinqueterre e @nessundormacantina.

Credits: Biondi Santi website;;

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1 Comment

HI there I am a viticulture student researching and writing a paper on the history of Brunello Di Montalcino for my Italian Wine class. I believe Ferruccio is the grandson, not nephew, of Clemente Santi. Perhaps you should confirm and correct. Thank you!

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