Gianfranco Soldera, the stubborn genius of Brunello
“Known for his strong will and intransigent views on the fundamentals of winemaking, Gianfranco Soldera would soon win a loyal following among the great wine collectors and cult wine enthusiasts of the world. His brazen style and sharp tongue rarely went down well with his critics, but ultimately Soldera will be remembered for his invaluable contributions to the appellation. The success and raging popularity of Brunello di Montalcino today is due in large measure to the efforts of this stubborn genius. Monica Larner.
It is hard to believe Gianfranco Soldera is no longer with us, as he was such a force of nature. Long coveted by those in the know, Soldera’s wines remain incredibly singular expressions of Sangiovese and Montalcino. Antonio Galloni, Vinous, JULY 27, 2020.
Readers should note that following his most recent disagreement with the Consorzio, which included, among other things, being kicked out of the Consorzio, Soldera has decided to release all of his new wines as Toscana Sangiovese. These are the same wines that would have previously been released as Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. As always, these remain some of the most compelling and transcendental wines being made anywhere in the world. Antonio Galloni, Vinous.
A former insurance executive from Milan, Gianfranco Soldera purchased Case Basse, in Sant’Angelo in Colle, after looking extensively for land in Piedmont and Tuscany. The estate's superb location and its exposure to light in particular were the big draws. Soldera set out to make world-class wines, accompanied by a steadfast belief in the greatness of Sangiovese and a palate shaped by the legendary Barolos and Barbarescos of the 1950s and 1960s he had tasted as a young man. As it turns out, Soldera knows more about the iconic wines of Piedmont than almost anyone else I have ever met, but that is another story. In the meantime, Soldera's wife, Graziella, created a botanical garden that is home to an extraordinarily diverse ecosystem of plants and flowers.
Vineyard development began in 1972. A few years later, Soldera released his first wines off the property, then known as Rosso dai Vigneti di Brunello. The first Brunello di Montalcino followed in 1979. Even today, the 1979 is in great shape, a testament to the pedigree of Case Basse and Soldera's vision. As always, the Soldera Brunellos are made with painstaking care in the vineyard, minimal handling in the cellar, indigenous fermentations and long aging in cask, typically around six years. The wines often drink well young, but really start opening up around age fifteen or so. These remain some of the most stunning and deeply expressive wines readers will taste from anywhere in the world. Antonio Galloni.