Podere Le Ripi
Legacy Tuscan wine producers helped bring modernization, marketing skills and investment to Montalcino. But they also ushered in an era of winery ownership strangely disconnected from the land and traditions that made Brunello di Montalcino great in the first place. Many heirs of Tuscany’s wine “aristocracy” began to prefer the boardroom to the vineyard. And successful industrialists snapped up DOCG-designated vineyard property, reinventing themselves as gentlemen wine producers/hobbyists -- Montalcino’s version of the Silicon Valley tech tycoon with a Napa Valley vineyard. Most of these newcomers had little or no personal winemaking knowledge and no historical connection to the land they’d acquired.
Enter Francesco Illy, Le Ripi’s charismatic owner. A descendant of the famous Illy Coffee family, Francesco – a nature photographer by profession and a studied admirer of beauty in all forms – first fell in love with the sweeping majesty of Montalcino’s vast landscape and only later decided that winemaking would be part of a new life on this land.
In line with his vision, Illy hired Nasello – a recipient of the prestigious Giulio Gambelli Award which is conferred annually upon a young winemaker whose work best exemplifies the winemaking philosophy of the late master taster -- to assemble a team dedicated not only to producing great wine, but to doing so in a way that honors this special terroir and its rich traditions.
Podere le Ripi is made of 75 acres of biodynamic vineyards, rooted between forest, olive trees, vegetable garden, and fruit trees. Uncontaminated oceanic soil with marvelous vegetal diversity, breathtaking views, and pure air. All of this divided between two opposite Montalcino mountainsides, with soils belonging to different geological eras. Here Podere le Ripi began its adventure in 1998, on the Eastern side of Montalcino: Castelnuovo dell’Abate. In 2017 they added the vineyards on the western side, from the oasis-looking environment of il Galampio.
Two wines that belong to the tradition and terroir of Montalcino, are the two main spokespeople of Podere Le Ripi. They measure themselves and their success, each year, by the Sangiovese which comes from their vineyards, trying to interpret the vintage and uniqueness of every single corner of our land.
What do Rosso and Brunello have in common? Both are produced with 100% Sangiovese from Montalcino, in purezza. Sangiovese in Montalcino has always expressed itself differently from the rest of Tuscany, thanks to the oceanic clay soil and a windy and dry climate. Due to all these conditions wines made from Sangiovese develop a thicker texture with numerous layers, more than anywhere else in Italy.
Sangiovese is the reason why they do everything they do. It is the grape variety that made them fall in love with Montalcino, that shaped their history and present, their terroir, the different vineyards and vintages. The marriage between Sangiovese and Montalcino is the starting point for all the magic that follows.