Friday, November 18, 2011

La Fornace Brunello di Montacino- from peasant roots to great winemakers

This is about a wonderful winemaking family, the Gianetti's in Montalcino, who are compassionate, passionate and just simpatici about winemaking and people.

From peasant roots ("Mezzadri" in Italian meaning share croppers) the family has been on the land in Montalcino for many generations. It was only in 1964 that they were able to purchase the land and realise their dream of creating fine wine under their own label of La Fornace.

Franco and Germania

The family live on the estate. Father Franco Gianetti, mother Germania, son Fabio and daughter Laura.

A young Franco with his mother on the estate when he was a young child

Fabio is now the winemaker with dad proudly guiding and assisting as required. Laura works in Montalcino in the tourist office.

The estate is seven hectares on the north east side of Montalcino. It has 4,500 vines per hectare

It occasionally experiences cold winters and even snow

The winter jobs are very important in preparing the vines in the hibernating period for the next vintage

Cutting back in preparation for the new season growth

The first signs of growth herald in the exciting start to the new vintage

And then the grapes emerge

What makes great grapes, among other things, is a "culling" process where the number of bunches and density of bunches are reduced by a careful process of inspection and culling by the winemaker and his team

The results from the culling

This helps to ensure the grapes receive greater nutrition from the soil and the sun. The result, healthy high quality sangiovese grapes.

Grapes are carefully hand picked.

Fermentation lasts for approximately 30 days in stainless steel tanks.

Fabio (with the help of Franco) uses a soft pressing technique which lengthens and favours the fermentation process.

Franco working on the fermentation process

The wine is then matured in 32 hectalitre barrels for 36 months.

Fabio has a real passion and talent for winemaking. Here he explains the process to Carolyna

And overlooking the "Terroir" with Alan

 The estate produces 12,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino and 9,000 bottles of Rosso di Montalcino in a year.


The wines from La Fornace are starting to make a great impression on the world stage. Both Wine Spectator and James Suckling independently rated the 2006 La Fornace Brunello di Montalcino a high 93 points.

Suckling says "Beautiful nose full of bluberries, blackberries and flowers follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and ripe fruit. This is juicy and rich with loads of fruit and a long finish. Hard not to drink now, but it will be so much better in 3-4 years"

And a special part of our recent visit to the vineyard was pranzo (lunch) con la famiglia

Ciao e Baci a tutti
Carolyna e Alan