A Tuscan Wine Dynasty Forges A New Path
The Biondi Santi name is inextricably linked with Brunello di Montalcino; however, future generations of this storied family may be more closely linked with Castello di Montepò in DOCG Morellino di Scansano than with their ancestral Tenute Greppo estate. The Santi history of making wine in Montalcino stretches back to the middle ages, when the family was known for their Moscadello di Montalcino, a white wine made from Muscatel grapes. In 1865 Clemente Santi was the first in the region to make high quality wine from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes, which are called Brunello here. Clemente’s daughter, Caterina, married a doctor and aristocrat from Florence, Jacopo Biondi.
In 1888, Clemente and Jacopo’s son, Ferrucio Biondi Santi, produced the first-ever Brunello di Montalcino using a clone of Sangiovese called Sangiovese Grosso. Through the end of the second world war, Biondi Santi was the only commercial producer making wine in the region. By the 1960s ten more producers joined their ranks, with a total of 160 acres planted. In 1968 Brunello di Montalcino was awarded DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status, and in 1980 the denomination was the first in Italy to reach the higher level of recognition DOCG or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. Today there are about 3,000 acres planted there, with more than 100 wineries producing Brunello di Montalcino.