- Farming MethodSustainable Practices
Jacopo Biondi Santi Castello di Montepò Schidione Toscana 2019
Ground shipping included on 2+ bottles!
The legendary Biondi Santi family – the first family of Montalcino, of Brunello, heck, of Italian wine – with the flagship bottling of their Maremma estate, Castello di Montepò. This estate is incredibly rare to see in the USA and poised to disrupt everything you think you know about Tuscany. The magnificent Schidione is a Super-Tuscan of the highest order – one that Jacopo describes as “the perfect meeting point between Bolgheri and Montalcino.”
Ever since the Biondi-Santi family sold their shares in their namesake Montalcino winery back in 2018 – perhaps the most storied winery in Italian history and the founder of Brunello di Montalcino itself – we’ve been salivating for a chance to import this. Castello di Montepò is the family’s 11th-century castle, set high on a hill, overlooking a jaw-dropping 600-hectare estate, a little over 10 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, and just about 20 miles south of the family’s origins in Montalcino. Jacopo Biondi Santi – at the helm of his family’s illustrious winery for decades – bought the Castello di Montepò in the early 80s, meticulously planting over 120 acres, mostly to his family’s completely unique and prized sangiovese BBS11 clone, with some cabernet sauvignon and a small parcel of merlot as well. Unlike Montalcino today – Montepò is one of only a handful of producers in the region – and the region has little of the tourism and infrastructure enjoyed by wineries in Montalcino or Chianti Classico. Jacopo and his son, Tancredi, make the wines hand-in-hand here, and they speak about the potential of Maremma, specifically here in Scansano as though they traveled back in time to Montalcino over 50 years ago.
In my book, it is already one of the greatest estates in Italy – and it’s really just getting started. This Schidione is molded in the style of Toscana’s world-breaking “Super-Tuscan” efforts of the early 90s when Bordeaux varietals were blended with Tuscany’s native son, sangiovese. The power and ripeness brought Italian wines to untapped markets around the world and it is no exaggeration to say that Italy’s wines have never been the same. The blend for this 2019 is 40% each sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon, rounded out with a rather elegant and enticing 20% of merlot – from a single block that is reserved exclusively for this wine. The sangiovese is the family’s prized heritage clone, and the cabernet hails from two blocks on the estate. Over lunch with Jacopo back in November, he called Schidione “the man with a beautifully tailored suit and a tie.” Upon asking for further clarification, he went on to explain that the substance, the form, of the wine was sangiovese (the man) but the cabernet sauvignon (the suit) was the style and the class. Merlot (the tie) was the final flourish, the statement that made it all pop.
One sip and Jacopo’s metaphor can’t help but take shape. This is a wine of beautiful integration, youthful to be certain, but already harmonious and showing tremendous complexity. Bowls full of cherries of all shapes and sorts, followed by blood orange, pomegranate, star anise, clove, and spiced plum compote with a lingering sweetness of fine balsamic must. It’s luscious and sexy, intensely dry, deeply powerful, and simply, supremely balanced throughout. We tasted a couple of older vintages, but this was the clear winner in my book – ready to drink yet built to last for years and decades to come. It’s a treat that any collector should be proud to have in their cellar – and a wine that boasts of a bright and glorious future to come for this continuation of the iconic Biondi Santi family story. Watch these prices skyrocket around the world over the next decade, and then you can come back and thank us for acting now!
PAIRING IDEAS: Over lunch and a tour of his hunting trophies (a couple of massive stuffed boars), Jacopo extended me an invitation to hunt boar with him on the property one day. I am 100% planning to hold him to that offer, and perhaps we’ll pop a bottle of Schidione and make a heaping platter of this Tuscan staple – Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle.