Gianfranco Soldera dies at the age of 82
One of the most controversial of Brunello’s wine producers, Gianfranco Soldera has just died at the age of 82.
His estate of just 8ha produced wines sourced from some of Montalcino’s best slopes (next to Gaja’s PIEVE SANTA RESTITUTA), the grapes are grown organically with great effort going into not only maximising the fruit quality but also enriching the ecosystem. The winemaking was natural with no temperature control, and a long and rigorous maceration precedes a stay of (often) more than five years in large oak botti. The resulting wines of, at times, extraordinary breadth and complexity can make most modern styled efforts seem rather simplistic and one-dimensional. In certain vintages Riservas were produced from the two different vineyards of Intistieti and Case Basse but these are not released until 6–7 years after the vintage. In other years a single Brunello was produced (designated Riserva if considered worthy).
Problems of stability due to high levels of volatility were occasionally an issue in the past, but the greatest dilemma for most would-be drinkers is which car to sell in order to buy a case or two of the wines from this cult producer.
In 2012, almost all of Soldera’s wines from 2007 to 2012 was intentionally destroyed by a former employee who was later jailed for this. 2006 therefore, was the last year that Soldera’s Brunellos were produced
As a result of this attack, the Consorzio del Brunello di Montalcino offered to supply Soldera with wine for him to sell, but he declined, saying that this would not be fair to consumers. He resigned from the Consorzio and continued to make 100% Sangiovese wine as Tuscany IGP.
Soldera is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren and it is not known in which direction the estate will go now.