Soldera: The “stubborn genius” and “heretic” of Brunello. Remembrances of an iconoclast winemaker.

Above: thanks to my connections in the wine trade, invitations to Soldera’s winery and vineyards were extended to me on three occasions. But the first visit, in September of 2008, was the most memorable. Many trade observers would agree that his approach to viticulture was “maniacal.” Those Sangiovese bunches — nearly cinematic in their perfection — are […]

Soldera prize, a great opportunity for under-35 wine pros

Above: I’ve had the opportunity to taste with Soldera at his Case Basse estate on a few occasions. It’s true that he can be a grumpy old man sometimes but the conversation is always fascinating. Now in its fourth year, the International Brunello di Montalcino Case Basse Soldera Award for Young Researchers is currently taking […]

Brunello consortium sues & expels Soldera

I just received a press release issued by the Brunello consortium informing recipients that the bottlers and growers association “has decided” to file a lawsuit against Gianfranco Soldera accusing him of “defamation.” (Here’s an English-language translation of the press release issued by the consortium.) According to its authors, the consortium has also moved to “expel” […]

Soldera’s “water into wine” & rumors of his expulsion (& Cotarella’s zero sulfur wine)

Above: Giotto’s Marriage at Cana. Italian news junkies were gripped over the weekend with political intrigue, as 87-year-old Giorgio Napolitano was elected to an unprecedented second term as President of the Italian Republic. Most pundits predict Berlusconi as the winner of the new power balance. (“[P]olitical turmoil is preventing leaders from taking steps to right […]

Soldera & Brunello consortium spar

Above: Gianfranco Soldera with his fermentation casks (I took this photo in 2008). Every time I’ve visited and tasted with him, he’s spoken of the importance of fermenting in wood, “a breathing” vessel, he said repeatedly. Adding yet another unsavory wrinkle to the sad tale of the now infamous act of vandalism (or “sabotage,” as […]

Soldera: Rorschach & (probable) resolution

Above: I took this photo of sunset over Soldera’s Case Basse estate in 2010. Nearly two weeks after more than 60,000 liters of wines were destroyed in an act of vandalism at the Soldera Case Basseestate in Montalcino, Italian wine industry observers generally concur that the atrocious and senseless crime cannot be attributed to organized […]