One of the ‘sanctuaries’ of Italian wine...
Producer profile: Biondi Santi
In January 2017, France’s EPI group, which owns Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck Champagnes, announced that it had bought a majority stake in Biondi Santi. The below article was written for Decanter magazine prior to this announcement.
It is impossible not to feel a buzz as you drive along the avenue of cypresses that lead to Tenuta Greppo.
The cellars at the end of the drive are one of the sanctuaries of Italian wine. The sense of anticipation was even greater when your appointment was with the late Franco Biondi Santi.
Even in his later years, ‘Il Dottore’, as he was known by all on the estate, was a tall and imposing figure, always gracious and charming to guests in an old-fashioned, formal way. I never saw him without a tie or immaculately polished shoes.
I recently asked heir to the estate, Jacopo Biondi Santi, what had changed since his father’s death.
‘Absolutely nothing,’ he replied with great emphasis.
Be that as it may, I have the impression that Biondi Santi wines are more approachable, less impenetrable, in their youth than they used to be in the past.
The official line is that, if they are a little more open, it is the result of the string of hot vintages.
Anyone wanting to compare the wines of today with those of the past can choose from the vintages on sale at the estate, which go back to 1955 (prices on request).
Richard Baudains is the regional chair for Veneto in the Decanter World Wine Awards.