A New Cadre Of Young Winemakers Emerges In The Land Of Brunello. Here's One Of Our Three Favorites.
Updated: May 4, 2022
Lorenzo Magnelli is the great grandson of Fiorella Biondi Santi who was Franco Biondi Santi's sister. She had inherited the land from her father Tancredi Biondi Santi. That is a lot of years of wine history! So today Fiorella Biondi Santi's grandson Lorenzo continues the tradition of winemaking on that same plot of land, called Le Chuise. And Lorenzo is part of the new vanguard of young winemakers making their mark on Brunello wine.
Lorenzo is pictured here in his cellar with racks of Stellare, a bubbly rosé made using the classic champagne method. It's most definitely not a Brunello, but that's my point. Lorenzo is having fun, making not just Brunello but anything that he is inspired to try. The Stellare ferments in the bottles creating the bubbles of CO2 just like in classic champagne. The bottles sit in a rack with their necks down so the sediments from fermentation accumulate at the bottom in the neck of the bottle. Sediments can then be more easily removed by freezing the neck and removing the frozen "plug" with the sediments inside, the classic method. Stellare is named for Lorenzo's wife Stella who prefers lighter sparkling wines. Stellare is a perfect wine for a warm summer evening on the terrace.
But this is just the beginning of the story. Lorenzo is also upholding the long family tradition of making great Brunello.
Just recently at this year's Benvenuto Brunello the 2017 wines were announced to the world. Lorenzo's 2016 Brunello was awarded 100 points by the Wine Spectator. Making a 100 point wine is a pinnacle of achievement for any wine maker to achieve even once in their life. But here's the thing. This is Lorenzo's third 100 point wine since 2013.
Now that is something that is turning heads in Montalcino.
And Lorenzo is pioneering on other fronts as well. Traditionally Brunello Riserva is released six years after the harvest while classic Brunello is release five years after the harvest, hence the 2017 Brunellos were released this year in 2022. Riservas receive another year of aging in oak before their release. So this year, the 2016 Brunello Riservas were released. But not so for Le Chiuse's Riservas.
Lorenzo decided that he wanted to do something even more special for his Riservas than just giving them an extra year of aging, so he starting holding back his Riservas for ten years and calling them Diecianni (10 years). Lorenzo released his 2012 Diecianni Brunello Riserva this year. Lorenzo doesn't make Riservas every year only when the harvest is worthy. His first Diecianni was 2010. We just tasted the Le Chiuse 2012 Diecianni Riserva a couple days ago and all I can say is, "Wow!" It is absolutely beautiful. Lorenzo is also now producing a small bottling of a Sangiovese called Arpaia which is a lighter red wine produced in a completely difference way than traditional red wine. You can drink Arpaia chilled or at room temperature. It's delicate and delicious. You could even have it with the right fish dish.
So we're raising a glass to Lorenzo and his passion for fine wine and his courage to try new things. And there is definitely some exceptional Brunello in his DNA. In the days ahead we'll feature two more of what we think will be the next generation of great Brunello producers.