When Rennina finally sings
 February 27 2012, 15:00

Click For Large ViewMy last visit during Benvenuto was to Pieve di Santa Restituta, where I met Gaia Gaja for a quarter of an hour before she had to leave for a dinner in Rome. This is the first time I had been to the estate since Roberto Bellini sold it to Gaia's father, Angelo, in 1996, all the while keeping the adjacent nine hectares of Podere Brizio for himself. After a visit to the cellars, we tasted a series of wines with Milena, a lass from Piedmont who now looks after this property for the family, ranging from 2011 back to 1997. Their Rennina is made in 500 litre casks from three different vineyards that are comprised mostly of clay and sand; the single vineyard Sugarille has more of the white chalky soils that the Italians call 'galestro' and is matured in barrel. In vintages like 2007 or 1999, I certainly prefer the elegance of the latter, but in 1997 the Rennina began to sing. Perhaps the heavier, more brooding soils need time to open their hearts. In any case, although the style would be called modern by many of my colleagues, it would not appear that Angelo Gaja was trying to change the landscape in Montalcino in the same way that he did that of Piedmont. That said, the wines are a stark contrast to those of his neighbour Case Basse of Gianfranco Soldera fame. We sometimes talk too much of site, soil and nature. Natural wines? Wine would not be what it is today without our intervention, making the human hand a far more important element in any wine than much of our world would like to believe. Comments


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