Week 3 Sommelier Feature: La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino

Sergio Rossi fell in love with the Montalcino area a very long time ago, by pure chance he was able to purchase the original 6.5 Ha estate in 1976 form Biondi Santi. It's located on the North slope of Montalcino and his first vintage of La Gerla Brunello was 1978. The farm dates back over 600 years and was slowly renovated; today the wines preserve the traditional style of Brunello.

La Gerla's Brunello is blended two sites to achieve a combination of power and elegance. The original vineyards purchased in 1978 are on the cooler North side of Montalcino The other site in the South near the village of Castelnuova dell'Abate where a Mediterranean climate prevails. It's a clear example of a blend being greater than the sum of the parts. The soils are a blend of Galestro and limestone.

The La Gerla property is situated at 320 metres above sea level, on the gentle slopes below Montalcino. This small wine estate has established itself as one of the great crùs in this territory in the heart of Tuscany, delineated by the Orcia and Ombrone valleys.

The Vineyards - Castelnuovo dell’Abate - Southern area of Montalcino

The owner, Sergio Rossi, was formerly involved in advertising. He was the director of three European offices of a famous agency and was used to travelling for work and to losing sleep over lay-outs and jingles. These days he is almost an “ilcinese,” and he loves his vineyards as if they were children.

Today the estate has 11,5 hectares (28,41 acres) under vine and large modern cellars complete with the latest technology. Sergio Rossi is flanked by a united team of people that have helped him to achieve his goal; the winemaker, Vittorio Fiore, who has been with the estate from the start and is both a friend and a trusted professional, and Alberto Passeri, agronomist and director of the estate.

The wines are classic Brunellos with aromas of dried cherries, cedar wood, Mediterranean herbs and bright acidity, balanced with firm tannins. The wines will age for decades, however approachable in their youth.