Sunday, February 26, 2012

An interview with Giancarlo Marcucci, SanCarlo Brunello estate in Montalcino

      Ciao Giancarlo. Thank you for your time and congratulations on the quality of the wines that your family is producing.

Three generations-Gemma, Fulvio and Giancarlo

How long has SanCarlo estate been in your family?
My parents bought the property in 1965 and at that time it was farmed with grain crops and consisted of substantial woodland. They saw the potential of the land for vines and olives and started the cultivation of olive groves and sangiovese grapes.

Who was the person from your family that first planted sangiovese vines?

My father, Fulvio and my mother, Renata started our family heritage with the planting of our first sangiovese vines and the emergence of the SanCarlo brand.

When were the vines first planted?

The first sangiovese vines were planted in 1968.

Can you describe the land on which your vines are planted?

SanCarlo is on the south- west side of Montalcino, located on a gentle slope at an altitude of 350/400 metres above sea level. The sea is only 40km south-west. The south west exposure is protected by a hill denying the harsh north and north-easterly winds. We have a great location ensuring a particularly favourable climate, characterized by dry summers and limited rain in autumn.
The soil is mixed (35% sand, 31% lime, 34% clay) and the proportion of clay ensures good water retention. However, the soil is characterised by good permeability. This is an advantage due to the scarce rainfall, typical of this area, thereby guaranteeing optimum growth conditions for the vine. The Ph is slightly alkaline.
The property is composed of 13 total hectares: 2.5 hectares are sangiovese vineyards, 1 is an olive grove, another 1 is cultivated with grain crops and 8 hectares are woodland. Woodland is very important because it surrounds the entire property, offering the vineyards a natural environment and a natural protection against external agents.

Who is involved in the vineyard from your family today?

We are fortunate to be vineyard that has generational support with today my daughter Gemma and myself actively involved.

 What is your philosophy in making wines?

First of all we want to produce wine by loving and respecting the land we live and work on, by following the traditions of those who came before us but, at the same time, always trying to improve our quality.

Have your vintages changed over the years?

Yes, from around the start of the 1990’s, when the climate and the weather began to change. Our vineyards, size and system are the same but the structure of our wines is different. For example, the alcohol content has increased from between 12.5% and 13% to 14% and 15%. This is due to the seasons changing and especially because the summers are getting hotter.

Can you tell us about your Brunello di Montalcino?

Our first Brunello was from 1974. We have a collection of bottles from then to the last Brunello 2006. I can say that it’s amazing for us to taste all our vintages, especially the old vintages because we always discover the excellent properties of the precious sangiovese grape and its potential to improve over the years. Among all our vintages perhaps the best is 1985 but just last Sunday with a group of friends we opened Brunellos from 1976,1978, 1982 as old vintages, 2006 and 2007 as examples of newer. Their base “SanCarlo” was obvious but each vintage had its own history. At the end of the lunch maybe 1982 was the best, still fresh and alive with an elegant structure and a persistent finish. But 2006 was a confirmation of the great year that it was. It’s improving a lot and it’s showing its wonderful potential to grow.

What are the first wines you will be bringing into Australia?

Through our sole agent, Italian Wine Importers, we will be bringing our Brunello di Montalcino from 2006 and the Rosso di Montalcino from 2009

When will we see you visit Australia?

I hope very soon. It will be a great pleasure for us to visit Australia.

For orders phone 1300898253 or email

Italian Wine Importers (Liquor Licence LIQP770010323)

Tasting Notes for Brunello di Montalcino 2006:
Color: Intense ruby red with youthful hints.
Bouquet: Fresh, ample and rewarding, characterized by spicy aromas, jammy berries, marked notes of tobacco, with pleasant hints of vanilla.
Taste: Great structure. The full body embraces a noteworthy quantity of mature tannins which gradually mature in the bottle over time. Good length and finale.
Total acidity       5.50 g/l
Alcohol               14.0% vol
Dry extract          31.50 g/l

Tasting Notes for Rosso di Montalcino 2009:
Color: Dense ruby red with youthful purple tones.
Bouquet:Intense and concentrated with ripe fruit and a pleasant fresh vinosity.
Taste::The San Carlo Rosso di Montalcino is full-bodied and complex. The tannic structure is consistent and perfectly balanced with the noble tannins from the grapes.

Total acidity       5.45 g/l
Alcohol                13.5% vol
Dry extract          31.10 g/l

Sunset at the vineyard