written by Dan Glisky, Jr., CEO

Enrico Santini

santini

Colleen McKettrick from CMK consulting, our important Italian broker & partner, picked me up from my hotel on a beautiful Tuscan morning and drove me to the famous Bolgheri region of Tuscany, which is just inland on the Turrhenian Sea. Castagneto Carducci, home of the Bolgheri castle, is where we went to visit our partner, Enrico Santini.

Enrico Santini was born and raised in Bolgheri, and he has a deep commitment to the region where he was spent his entire life. This passion, coupled with his continuously improving award winning wines, have made him one of the most respected winemakers in the region. That is saying a lot considering some of his famous Bolgheir neighbors include Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Tenuta dell’Ornellaia (Ornellaia), Gaja Ca’ Marcanda (Promis) and Marchesi Antinori (Guado al Tasso).

In 1978, Decanter magazine put Bolgheri on the map when a six-year old Sassicaia beat out 33 other Cabernet based wines from California and France. As it turns out, this region has the perfect micro-climate for growing Bordeaux grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. In 1994, the Bolgheri DOC was approved, and set the varietal composition and aging guidelines for all Bolgheri Rosso, Bianco, and Rosé wines.

Enrico Santini’s Estate

santiniAmidst this backdrop comes Enrico Santini, an incredibly driven and hardworking man who, after 15  years in the grocery store business, decided to learn wine making from a friend. After three years of apprenticeship, he made a life change and took up farming and winemaking full time, turning his basement and garage into his initial production and storage. Slowly and surely, Enrico has seen his operations grow since his first vintage in 2000.

We arrived during the olive harvest, and Enrico’s eldest son was picking olives with the other vineyard workers when wesantini arrived. Enrico greeted me with a warm smile and a firm handshake, and we immediately left for a tour of the vineyards. There, Enrico was most proud of all of the beautiful yellow flowers that grow amongst the vines, a visual testimony to his organic farming practices and his love for this land and what it produces.

Enrico currently cultivates 3 vineyards which total 32 acres (13 hectares). It is important to note that the Bolgheri DOC stipulates that only 1500 hectares can be cultivated as Bolgheri DOC wines. So, to add production capacity, it can be an arduous process that can take years. His neighbor from Antinori, by comparison, cultivates 300 hectares of Bolgheri wines.

Enrico Santini’s Wines

After our vineyard tour, we went into Enrico’s cellar for a tasting of his wines, which he paired with his favorite medium pecorino cheese. Enrico makes five wines – 2 white and 3 red. The primary white wine is a Bolgheri Bianco called Campo Alla Casa, made from 60% Vermentino and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. In good years, Enrico makes a small production (80 cases) of a highly regarded Sauvignon IGT, made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

santiniFor his red wines, Enrico makes the Bolgheri Rosso Poggio Al Moro, a 30/30/30 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese, finished with 10% Syrah and aged in oak for 3 months. He also makes the acclaimed Bolgheri Rosso Montepergoli, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend (75%) with 20% Syrah and 5% Sangiovese and aged for 3 years (18 months in French barriques). The acclaimed Montepergoli vineyard lies just below the framed hillside estate of Montepergoli, which has sweeping views of the region and sea, and is now offered as a rental estate for the rich and famous who come to the region. On years not considered worthy of making Montepergoli, Enrico produces a Bolgheri Rosso called I Montali, a similar blend to the Montepergoli.

The wines are all, in a word, outstanding. The care that Enrico takes, from the vineyard to the vinification is evident. The man takes no changes with the quality of his product. It is, after all, his life’s work. Wine lovers who love the wines of his famous neighbors will instantly recognize the incredibly value and aging potential of Enrico Santini’s wines.

santiniThe labels on the bottles come from the famous 19th century painter Jean François Millet titled the Angelus, which hangs in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. For Enrico, the depiction of the peasant couple moved him. It represents two people at the end of their day giving thanks. Knowing that their situation could be better, but also knowing that it could be worse, they are grateful for where the are and for the crop they have earned.

Following our tasting we took the bottles to a local restaurant for a lunch of minestrone soup, roasted rabbit, grilled vegetables, and palumba (wild pigeon). His wines are exceptional with food, well balanced and expressive. Wines that can stand up to food, but do not try to dominate it.

Enrico Santini has accomplished so very much since his first vintage in 2000. While his reputation continues to grow, he remains an incredibly humble, hardworking, and dedicated man. I can’t help but want to work hard for him and his family, and do whatever is possible to build the Enrico Santini brand throughout Michigan and the United States markets.

 

santini

staff-dang-300x300-mvplmghxobhb6gajl1uy6hewb12bdsjvymqtlbcyrwDan Glisky is the Managing Partner and CEO of Kindred Vines Import Co, and is proud to lead the Company’s strategic planning initiatives, and to oversee its implementation in the Company. Dan is also the CEO and Managing partner for Woodberry Wine, LLC, a Michigan distributor of fine wines from around the world.
Recommended Posts