The call of the soil

I can’t find better words than those of the title to describe the breakthrough of Summer 2000.

It was a clear summer’s Sunday and I, freshly graduated with a degree in Economics and Commerce from Siena, found myself deciding what to do with all my newfound free time.

Before the words had even left my mouth, I had come home to Montauto, at km 10 of the Campigliola.

The harvest was approaching and I, who, up until then, had participated more out of pleasure than authentic interest, decided to take part and, while I was at it, assist in the delicate process of winemaking.

Montauto has been part of my family for over 60 years. It was my grandfather Enos who planted the first Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in the 1980s. He had guessed or, more precisely, used what the Romans called his genius loci in a time when little was known about zonations, exposure and traditional vines, to determine that the vineyard’s vicinity to the sea of Capalbio (on 10km away, as the crow flies) meant its oenological path was to be found: in whites!

Returning to that summer, I was walking with an oenologist friend through the old Sauvignon vines, now bearing the most beautifully formed grapes bunches, when our nostrils were assaulted by an intense perfume. Few people know that even the slightest touch of a bunch of Sauvignon during the harvest perfumes the hand in a way that is as insistent as it is delicious.

 

It was this aroma of the grapes that persuaded me to return home and dedicate my life to the wine and red soil of Montauto.

Moreover, the premises were most encouraging: the composition of the soil, clayey and very rich in minerals such as quartz, the proximity to the sea, whose breezes gild the berries and cool them in the summer, and finally, the wind, which dries the grapes, combined to make and continue to make this an ideal territory for the production of white wines.

For the man – in this case, myself – the task was to make them “big” and, in doing so, transform the territory into a terroir.

So I imagined and implemented, little by little, a company policy that I still like to call “small steps”. One step at a time, I built the cellar, bought the destemmer, the steel vats and the wooden ones, I designed a tasting room and planted new vines and, over the years, this sense of parsimony allowed me to create a healthy company, able to support itself and to speak to its customers through its wines. All over the world.