Monday, March 5, 2012

Villa Le Prata interview - Brunello Montalcino

An interview with Benedetta Losappio, Villa Le Prata estate in Montalcino

Ciao Benedetta. Thank you for your time and congratulations on the awards and accolades that your wines are receiving.

Benedetta (right) with Anna Vittoria and Alan at the vineyard

How long has Villa le Prata estate been in your family?

The estate has been in the family since 1989 when my parents planted the first vineyard next to the family country house.

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

The estate has vineyards in 3 different areas in Montalcino.

Montalcino is a hill that climes quite steeply from lower lands all around. Also the west side of Montalcino faces towards the sea and is often subject to a strong sea wind while the east is much less windy and has a dryer and warmer climate.

The differences in altitude, exposure to the marine winds and soil force you to search for the best mix so that you can create a wine that has the full complexity that a unique place like Montalcino can express.

The first and oldest vineyard, is planted near the family home, close to the summit of Montalcino, at an altitude of 520 meters above sea level.

The second and third vineyards are situated on the west slope of Montalcino and are planted on opposite sides of Castelnuovo Dell’Abbate at altitudes of 220 and 210 meters above sea level. Both have a perfect southern exposure and inclination. The soil is principally marl with elements of clay and are particularly rich in superficial stones.

How many hectares are planted with Sangioves Grosso grapes?

We have 4 hectares 3.5 of which are planted with Sangiovese Grosso

Who is involved in the vineyard from your family today?

I am responsible for the vineyards. To make a great wine you must produce excellent grapes and assure they reach an optimal level of maturity.

I am also responsible, together with our enologist Gioia Cresti, for the cellar. The work in the cellar is the natural continuation of the work in the vineyards. Each year is different and the particular evolution of the grapes as they mature on the vines generates different and specific characteristics in the cellar. It is fundamental to have a profound knowledge of what happened to the grapes for you to help them express themselves to their best in the wines.

 What is your philosophy in making wines?

I am driven by the desire to allow the grapes to express to their full potential the complexity of the minerals, the tannins and the perfumes of the land on which they were grown. My work in the cellar is one of keeping intervention to a minimum so that the result be as natural as possible, expressing to the full the characteristics of our land.

You have received high ratings for your wines in recent years. Are there any that stand out as special?
 Alan with Anna Vittoria (sales and marketing)

Not really, I am proud of the consistency of the ratings received over the years. The Brunello 2006 received 94/100 from the Wine Spectator while our Brunello 2007, which will soon be released, has just been rated 94/100 by James Suckling.

Have your vintages changed over the years?

Every year with greater experience we look to improve our wines and the introduction of the vineyards near Castelnuovo Dell’Abbate has certainly added body and structure to our wines.
The original estate entrance

Can you tell us about the Brunello 2006?
The Brunello 2006 is an elegant wine with beautiful aromas and velvet tannins. It is a wine I am very proud of reflected by the high industry rating it has received.

What are the first wines you will be bringing into Australia?
Through our sole agent, Italian Wine Importers, we will be starting with our high rating Brunello di Montalcino 2006.

When will we see you visit Australia?
I hope to visit Australia very soon, a country of outstanding beauty and one that represents for many Europeans an idea of youth, variety and exceptional potential.

For orders phone 1300898253 or email
Italian Wine Importers (Liquor Licence LIQP770010323)
Tasting Notes:
Colour: Medium concentrated, youthful ruby
Bouquet: Full of floral, raspberry, cherry and tobacco aromas. It also shows savoury and mineral elements
Taste: Silky texture and firm tannins. This shows fine length, with a sweetness that lingers. Best from 2013 through 2025
Ratings: 94 points Wine Spectator