Clemente Santi might have isolated the Sangiovese clone that has come to be known as BBS11, and his son Ferrucio might have used it to create the Brunello we know and love, but Tancredi Biondi-Santi realized the wine's ability to age, and preserved bottles accordingly. Because of Tancredi, we have bottles of Biondi-Santi dating back many decades--but even more importantly, because of this man's foresight, Italian wine itself became viable on the world collector's market. Before Tancredi, Italians mostly made wines to be consumed as quickly as possible. Only the barolisti made wine to age, bottled in huge 12-liter demijohns stored in their attics, waiting to be shared with their village on special occasions. After Tancredi, Italian winemakers started to understand and to make wine differently.
Because of the hard work done by Tancredi and his son, Franco, Brunello became a recognized DOCG wine in 1968. There were only a few dozen of Brunello makers until the late '80s; now there are hundreds of estates. But the fight was far from over. Franco Biondi-Santi, the "Gentleman of Montalcino" who passed away in April 2013, fought hard to keep Brunello pure, unadulterated Sangiovese Grosso, the wine that his forebears created. He succeeded, and we are all thankful for it.
Today, I'm very proud to present the 2010 Brunello and Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi's Il Greppo estate, the place where Brunello was born. We've offered both of these 2010 wines separately, but this is the first time we've offered them side by side, and together, this pair gives insight into exactly how monumental the vintage is. When an estate like Biondi-Santi comes across a vintage like 2010, impossible wines occur. These Brunellos, like the estate that made them, will be written in history.