Paolo Tenti catches up with the Brunello di Montalcino producer who lost most of six vintages when his cellar was vandalized.
Gianfranco Soldera established his Case Basse estate in 1972, leaving behind a successful career as an insurance broker. He’d looked for years for a Barolo estate, but as owners of good vineyards were not willing to sell, he searched elsewhere and found the perfect estate in Montalcino. Although the land was abandoned, with no vineyards, he had a strong feeling it would be perfect and his intuition proved right.
Soldera’s Brunello di Montalcino, almost always designated as riserva after five or six years’ aging, is among the most sought-after and expensive wines in the denomination.
Police have arrested a former employee of Brunello producer Soldera in connection with the destruction of thousands of litres of wine.
As reported earlier today on Montalcino-based website winenews.it, Di Gisi was arrested last night after a coordinated investigation involving Montalcino and Siena carabinieri, as well as the public prosecutor of Siena.
According to reports, the suspect already has a record of crimes involving destruction of property. In this case, he is charged with sabotage.
According to unofficial reports, Di Gisi bears a grudge against Soldera, stemming from the fact ‘Soldera showing preference to another employee by giving him better lodging’ at the winery, online daily siena.free.it said.
At a televised press conference in Siena the authorities said they arrested the subject after following his movements on 2 December on various video cameras around Montalcino and later intercepted a cell phone call where he told his nephew, ‘Wine isn’t like blood, with two washes it will go away.’
Vandals have destroyed thousands of litres of ageing Brunello in the cellars of cult producer Gianfranco Soldera.
The cellars at Soldera’s Case Basse estate in Montalcino were broken into and the taps opened on all of his Brunello barrels, draining the every litre of vintages from 2007 to 2012 – more than 600 hectolitres (60,000 litres) of ageing wine. No bottles, nor any valuables were taken or damaged.
Most observers assume this was a personal attack on Soldera (pictured), one of the most outspoken Brunello producers and a staunch advocate of the rule that allows only 100% Sangiovese in the blend.
Fellow producers and their consorzio, shocked at the crime, are rallying behind him.