Aldo Bianchi, a native of San Gimignano, left Tuscany before the Second World War to seek fortune in the North of Italy. In 1960, he came back to the area for a wedding and was enchanted by the view from the terrace of Castello di Monsanto: all the Val d’Elsa with the inimitable backdrop of the Towers of San Gimignano. It was love at first sight which made him buy the property within a few months. But if Aldo was bewitched by the landscape, Fabrizio, his son, immediately fell in love with the wines he found in the cellar. Thanks to a passion for wine handed down to him by his grandmother, who came from Piedmont, and to an innate entrepreneurial spirit, Fabrizio, together with the untiring help of his wife Giuliana, started to plant new vineyards and convert the numerous farmhouses….and an incredible story of love, passion and joy for wine and everything concerned with it, starts from here.
In 1962, for the first time within the area of the Chianti Classico Denomination, Fabrizio vinified the grapes from the Il Poggio vineyard: the First Chianti Classico Cru was born.
In 1968, he decided to eliminate the white grapes from the Poggio blend (Trebbiano and Malvasia), a compulsory requirement for the Specifications : a clear and net message to try and make it understood that the real richness of this land, to which the maximum attention had to be given, had to be the Sangiovese.
In the same year, much ahead of his times, he also eliminated the grape-stalk fermentation and the use, very much followed then, of the “Governo alla Toscana” (a refermentation technique adding grapes harvested later) in order to produce a wine of major complexity and balance suitable for a long ageing.
Always the more convinced in the value of Sangiovese, in 1974, he created, from the Scanni vineyard, planted in 1968, the Fabrizio Bianchi Sangioveto – then labelled as Sangioveto Grosso – a table wine exclusively from Sangiovese grapes, which triggered off the enhancement of this vine in Tuscany.
In the meantime, innovations in the cellar did not fail to arrive : as long ago as the 70’s the use of fermenting steel containers started, substituting the wooden ones, where temperature control was much more difficult. In those same years, the use of chestnut barrels was substituted with those in Slavonia oak, with sweeter and less aggressive tannins.
1974 is also the year in which the experiments in the vineyards started in order to produce a white Tuscan wine worth the name of the company : the Valdigallo vineyard was planted which was to give life to the Fabrizio Bianchi Chardonnay after some years.
In 1981 the new cellar was ready and a few months later the first harvesting of Nemo arrived : a monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Il Mulino vineyard.
In 1986, with great boldness and courage, works for the construction of an underground tunnel started. Mario Secci, Giotto Cicionesi and Romolo Bartalesi, who had already worked in the company for many years, converting the farmhouses, took up the challenge : to hand-build 300 metres of an underground tunnel for the storing of wooden barrels, using only the marl stone coming from the ploughing of the vineyards, with the Medieval technique of arched wooden ribs to give shape to a very long and charming lowered Etruscan arch. In 1992, six years later, the work was completed and their spirit and strength still live in the energy of this masterpiece.
In 1989, Laura, Fabrizio’s daughter, started to work in the company and gradually learned from the land, the people who worked it and her father, the marvels and difficulties of the natural evolutive process which transforms grapes into wine.
In 1996 another important innovation was brought to the cellar : the substitution of the traditional shape of the fermenting vats to a truncated cone one, in order to fully exploit the phenomenon of the convection of the liquids generated by their specific shape, obtaining the maximum extraction from the macerating peels using the “délèstage” system (emptying).
As from 2001, Laura and Fabrizio have been sided by the collaboration of a wine maker. From this encounter with Andrea Giovannini, a strong relationship was born where the energies coming from each one become synergies for the company, all going in the same direction.
Castello Monsanto pictures