The walled medieval village of Montalcino clings to a steep hillside about 25 kilometers south of Siena. The seasons in this region of Tuscany reflect the shift from the cooler continental climate of typical of the north to the warmer, more Mediterranean climate of the coasts. The sun warms but does not scorch, rainfall comes reliably but rarely in excess. This felicitous balance of temperature and precipitation, along with the fecundity of the Tuscan soil, bestows on the territory of Montalcino an ideal environment for the cultivation of Italy’s finest varietals. In particular, the region is considered the best suited for the noble Sangiovese Grosso Brunello, the pater familias of Italian grapes.
Castello Romitorio a massive twelfth-century hilltop fortress in Montalcino, now produces exquisite Tuscan wines, grappa and olive oil in the best traditions of the region. After acquiring the estate in 1984, artist Sandro Chia spent the next several years restoring Castello Romitorio and transforming it lands into vineyards, constructing a cellar on the castle’s ground floor with the most advanced equipment on the market, and enlisting the expertise of one of country’s leading oenologists.
The Castello Romitorio winery currently comprises three properties of which the flagship is the 187-hectare estate in Montalcino surrounding the actual castle. Ten hectares of this land are devoted to vineyards, and this property is the center of our operations. The second estate, called “Poggio di Sopra,” occupies a hillside not far from Monte Amiata. This land is also located in Montalcino, within the denomination of Sant’Antimo and it contains eight hectares of vineyards. The recently acquired estate “Giaccio Forte,” in the area of Scansano, rests atop a steep hill looking out over the valleys and the Tyrrhenian Sea, and contains eleven hectares of vineyards.
Sandro Chia’s first wine, “Romito del Romitorio” was bottled in 1984 and proved exceptional from the start, thanks largely to the Chia’s. In twenty years of winemaking, the Chia family’s winemaking philosophy has evolved into a strict adherence to the pursuit of excellence at any cost and an absolute belief in quality over quantity. This philosophy has led the family to embrace only the great D.O.C.G.’s and D.O.C.’s of our estates, abandoning “large-distribution” wines such as the Chianti Colli Senesi, Brio, and Donna di Rango. With the harvest of 2006, Castello Romitorio has baptized its new cantina, a 3000 square meter space located partially below ground on the flank of the castle. A reflection of the Chia family’s philosophy and interests, the cantina brings together fine wine and fine art in a unique setting, with monolithic sculptures standing beside the barrels and barriques from which Romitorio’s future wines will flow. Sandro Chia sees the key to the greatness of these wines in the irresistible impulse toward artistic perfection: “I make wine with the same passion with which I paint—it is devotion, a sacrifice, that ultimately brings the greatest reward.”
Castello Romitorio pictures