Owner | Emilia Nardi, daughter of Silvio Nardi who was originally from Umbria which neighbours Tuscany to the east.
Background | Although Casale del Bosco is 18th century in structure, the origins of the settlement on the site are Etruscan, as numerous finds by the Soprintendenza Archeologica seem to indicate. The Nardi family’s business is agricultural machinery, based in Umbria.
Emilia’s grandfather Francesco left his native Umbria for the United States in 1893, leaving his wife and three children (including Silvio) in Italy. In 1895, he invented a new type of plough–the ‘voltorecchio’ or “reversable” plough–which became known as the “Nardi System”. Francesco’s invention went on to win the Grand Prix at the IV International Exhibition in Paris and helped to drive the great agricultural revolution in the early 20th-century.
When Emilia’s grandfather came back from the United States, her grandmother had been the one who lent him the money to invest in the plough business. She was a small farmer in Umbria, and her own business was growing. She was the financial head of the family. Emilia’s mother’s side of the family was involved in a small textile business, and her grandmother kept the books as she worked in the accountancy services. ‘We are middle class, we are not upper class,’ says Emilia. ‘I’m very happy about that, because I think that women need to work. Even my mother helped my father in developing the business of the farming equipment worldwide. She spoke French and English. She has been a great help to him.’
Francesco’s son Silvio enjoyed a successful career selling farm implements such as ploughs, tillers and seeders. In 1949 Silvio began renting ‘Casale del Bosco’ or ‘house in the forest’ north-east of Montalcino. Silvio had discovered this area because he liked hunting here, hunting being his passion. At the time the road from Buonconvento to Montalcino was unpaved. In 1950 Silvio Nardi bought the estate. In 1962 Silvio extended the family holdings by buying more land, including Manachiara, which is close to Fattoria dei Barbi, on the south side of Montalcino. Emilia Nardi, Silvio’s daughter says that ‘At the time Silvio was trying to sell his agricultural machinery to the Biondi Santi family, to the Colombini family at Fattoria dei Barbi, and others. They were producing wheat as well as wines, and so they needed the plough. At this time the use of tractors was becoming more commonplace, hence the need for a new kind of plough adapted to tractors rather than animals. Silvio invited them for dinner, and they suggested that as he was a very good business man he should start to produce Brunello di Montalcino. In 1954 the Nardi family produced their first vintage of Brunello di Montalcino. Silvio was a business man. When he could smell the potential to do business, he was there. We even had some business interests in Africa and South America. He was a real business man—an entrepreneur, but this was his place to relax.’
Silvio had eight children, one of whom, Emilia Nardi runs the estate today. In 1984, when Emilia was 20 her father told her that if she decided to go university she would have to study and complete the course or she could stay at the estate and work there. She chose the latter. Emilia says ‘My father told me that the estate was losing money. He said for me to go there and see what you can do to generate some profit. I was very young, only 20 but I was a great lover of farming, but it was very difficult. I was completely raw. I was not ready to do this work, but I had the determination to do that. That’s why I started, but in 1985 we were very few wineries in Montalcino. As women in wine, we have to wear our boots in the vineyard and then put the high heels on when we globe trot to promote the wine.’
Staff (2018) | Brand manager: Michela Fiorucci (Speaks English, married to a Scotsman). Agronomist: Fabrizio Lazzeri. Winemaking: Mario Pisanu. Winemaking consultants: Oen: Andrea Paoletti. Eric Boissenot. Previously the late Yves Glories and Mauro Monicchi. Emilia Nardi’s nephew Emmanuele Nardi now contributes to the winemaking.
Clonal research | This began under the late Yves Glories, resulting in five ‘Nardi’ clones being developed for commercial sale.
Vineyards (3) | Tenute Nardi has 70 hectares (197.6 acres) of estate vineyards in Montalcino in two estates. Casale del Bosco comprises 30 hectares (74 acres) and Manachiara comprises 40 hectares. There are also 2 hectares (4.94 acres) of rented vines.
1) Vineyards–Casale del Bosco (NW Montalcino)
Casale del Bosco comprises 30 hectares (74 acres) of vines and is where the winery is located, in the northwest of the Montalcino zone with the Ombrone river to the north. From 1993 the vineyards at Casale del Bosco were replanted after detailed soil analysis. Its 36 vineyard plots contained 25 different kinds of soils, clay-based with schist and a dark type of quartz called jasper (‘diaspro’ in Italian). Emilia Nardi says the Casale del Bosco area is exposed to winds coming from the north, whose cooling influence enhances aromatics, the Ombrone acting as a wind corridor. The airflow makes the area very dry, says Emilia, because the wind either keeps the rain clouds moving or dries the soil out. The total surface area of the Casale del Bosco estate is around 820 hectares (2,020 acres). The terrain is undulating with vineyards located between fields (cereal crops) and forests. The altitude is between 240-350 metres (790-1,150 feet). Ripening here is 7-10 days later than the vines on the eastern side of Montalcino.
Casale | 8 hectares (19.8 acres).
Cerralti | 7 hectares (17.3 acres).
Poggio Pina | A sub-vineyard here is called Poggio Pina which lies on a rocky outcrop at 300m (985ft).
Poggio Doria | Another self-contained vineyard here is called Poggio Doria. The name means “golden top of hill,” meaning it gets the tramonto or afternoon sun, facing west and north-west. This comprises 10 hectares (24.7 acres) of which 7 hectares (17.3acres ) is Sangiovese (mass selection cuttings from Manachiara on 420A) and 3 hectares (7.41 acres) is Moscadello (1103P) and Merlot (1103P). 220 metres (728 feet) = fog, and frost. Sedimentary rock. Clay-based. Deep, dry soil. Jasper (‘diaspro‘) is found in the sub-soil. Sand too, so it does drain. A hot terrain in a cool zone. The complex polymerisation of tannin here makes for a softer wine than Manachiara whose tannins give more of a bite–tannin reactivity seems more aggressive in mouth–but analytically Manachiara’s level of tannins is lower compared to Poggio Doria.
Poggio dei Sassi | Poggio dei Sassi (‘Stony Hill) comprises 5 hectares (4.95 acres) planted in 1998. It is the most north-westerly vineyard in Montalcino. It is unusual for having a small amount of basalt lava (one of the few vineyards with volcanic soils in Montalcino) originating from Mount Amiata. The rest comprises rather tough marl and sandstone. The high part was planted on 110R rootstock, with 420A and 110R on the lower part at 300 metres (984 feet). The site is west-facing and open to the wind, so has no issues with humidity, or downy mildew (peronospera). The wine from Poggio dei Sassi goes into the basic Brunello. Vine density is 5,200 vines per hectare (2.40 metres x 0.80 metres).
2) Vineyards–Manachiara & Il Pinzale (E Montalcino)
Manachiara and Il Pinzale are the collective names given to two sets of individual vineyard plots totalling 40 hectares (98.8 acres) on the eastern side of Montalcino, around 15 miles (25km) south of Casale del Bosco, and south of Montalcino, near Poggio San Polo. This east side is like a half moon says Emilia Nardi, and is one of the best places in Montalcino.
The Nardi family purchased the land here in 1962. Combined, Manachiara and Il Pinzale cover 180 hectares (445 acres), but this includes woodland, uncultivated land, and pasture, as well as vines. Only a small area of vines existed at Manachiara and Il Pinzale before the Nardi family purchased the land in 1995, and those vines provided just a small amount of wine destined mainly for consumption by the farmers who owned the land and who farmed it essentially for cereals. Near neighbours here are Terralsole, and Allegrini’s Poggio San Polo.
This vines faces east, overlooking the Asso river with a view to Rocca d’Orcia in the Orcia DOC. The individual vineyard plots are often separated from each other by forest, scrub or gullies. Manachiara and Il Pinzale are separated by a ditch, with Manachiara to the north and above Il Pinzale, lower lying and to the south.
Vineyards–Manachiara | Manachiara is an area of morcellated vineyards comprising 30 plots across 42 hectares (104 acres) of land. The name “Manachiara means “bright or sunny morning” in ancient Italian because it is east-facing. The land was purchased in 1952 by Silvio Nardi for hunting. Manachiara lies at around 280-400 metres (920-1,312 feet), and is thus higher than Il Pinzale. Compared to Il Pinzale, Manachiara produces deeper, more consistent, more intense wines. The entire vineyard area can ripen in the space of seven days. The oldest vines here date from the late 1960s. Emilia Nardi says ‘here we have more sandstone soil, mixed together with clay. It’s quite easy even to find some places with fossilised sea shells.’ A total of 7 hectares (17 acres) of Manachiara vines are dedicated to the wine of that name, from three named sub-areas. These are:
#1 Piano di Manachiara which comprises 2 hectares (4.94 acres) of Sangiovese on sand (yellow and brown) and veins of clay. The rootstocks are 1103 Paulsen and 110 Richter (both drought resistant). From 2015 replantings have been made using budwood from the estate’s own mass selection.
#2 Albatreta which comprises 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of Sangiovese on 110 Richter and 420A rootstocks. From 2016 replantings have with with the estate’s own massal selection. The site lies at 400 metres. Deep soils (red, brown) comprising sandstone and stones, with no hydric stress.
#3 Stercolati which comprises 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres) of Sangiovese on 1103 Paulsen and 420A roostocks. This was planted in 2000 using the estate’s own massal selection. The site could be described as being mostly plateau. Varied soils, red and grey clays.
Vineyards–Il Pinzale | This comprises 90 hectares (222 acres) of land in total, of which 20 hectares are vines, planted from 1991. Il Pinzale is a less homogeneous terroir compared to Manachiara (ripening across the Il Pinzale area takes longer to complete at two weeks), with more mixed soils of deep clay and sandstone. It is also lower lying at 350-380 metres (1,150-1,250 feet). It has sandier topsoil compared to Manachiara, and as a result produces softer, more perfumed Sangiovese wines. The underlying clay component means heat stress is rare here. Il Pinzale’s wines go into Tenute Silvio Nardi’s estate Brunello. An ‘Il Pinzale’ cru wine could be possible here.
3) Vineyards–Bibbiano (NW of Montalcino)
Vineyards–Castello di Bibbiano | Rented since 1970. 2 hectares (4.95 acres) of Petit Verdot and Colorino sold as IGT.
Winery | The oldest part of the cellar is C17th; stone arched cellar for the cru Manachiara.
Winemaking | Worked with the late Yves Glories, and subsequently Mauro Monicchi. Picking normally takes 21 days.
Red wine style | Everything is vinified apart. This allows wine to be graded as being either best for Rosso, or for Brunello. Not terroir based. Emilia Nardi told me her style of Brunello is not the ‘biggest’ but she is happy because this is what here terroir gives. Emilia told me that after the Brunello scandal ‘sales of Brunello dropped very quickly in 2009, partly to do with the financial crisis when the era of easy money came to an end and wine dropped down the list of must-haves. The result was a kind of house-cleaning for Montalcino, and producers had to work harder, and learn more about their soils.’
Sant’Antimo Rosso DOC, Merlot
Sant’Antimo Rosso DOC, Tùran | 2013 20,000 bottles. Mainly Sangiovese. Also Petit Verdot, Syrah and Colorino. Green and sweet, bit fluid, populist, oak and metal flavours at Benvenuto Brunello 2014.
Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tenute Silvio Nardi | 2012 50,000 bottles. Nice plump, bit simple but savoury and bright at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2013 80,000 bottles. Sweet and simple, plump plum at Benvenuto Brunello 2015. | 2016 13.5%. The young vines did well for Rosso in 2016 and the old vines did well for Brunello. A blend of 80% from Casale del Bosco and 20% from the vines on the east side. Fermented in steel. Pump over by hand so can cover the whole cap, no dry areas, more even extraction. 22 days of maceration as vg good tannins in 2016. Good acid too. Lovely red fruit, crunchy tannins during a vineyard & winery visit on Monday 23rd April 2018.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tenute Silvio Nardi | “Nardi’s Brunello is, in fact, blended with grapes from its Manachiara vineyard 15 miles (25km) south [of Tenute Silvio Nardi’s Casale del Bosco in the north of the Montalcino zone], from which they also make a single vineyard selection,” (Kerin O’Keefe, 11|2006, p.77). Early-drinking style. | 2000 A bit stinky, decent colour, not that knit and dry and short at Benvenuto Brunello 18 Feb 2005. | 2009 150,000 bottles. 225 litre oak, then 50hl botti. Sweet, dominated by oak at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. 2009 Mid-ruby, some fade, flat nose, maybe too much sulfur, some fizz, bit dirty, short and aggressive tasted blind at Col d’Orcia 14 June 2014. | 2010 150,00 bottles. Simple plum, some tankiness in 2015, OK at Benvenuto Brunello Feb 2015. | 2011 14.5%. L.15 BR11-1A. Nice clean bright red cherry-red plum fruit, which did fade a little on Day Two but juicy, prim, crisp, enjoyable in Viale Piave 32 mid-Oct 2016. | 2013 13.5%. Fermented in stainless steel. 25 days maceration. Late harvest. Rain came 14 days earlier than normal. Had to pick very quickly from 27 Sept to 03 October. 12 months in tonneaux (30% new, 30% second fill, 30% third fill), 18 months in botti grande (50% new, 50% 4-5 years and the rest older. 50hl average botti). Decent effort, with a bit of alcohol at the back but with appealing darkish cherry fruit on a winery visit on Monday 23rd April 2018. | 2014 Savoury, not over-extracted, more infusion style fruit, salty tannins in the background, a good effort given the year when tasted at Benvenuto Brunello on 15 Feb 2019.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Vigneto POGGIO DORIA RISERVA | 2007 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Poggio Doria Riserva 3,500 bottles. Bit of funk, bit dry but some savoury fruit too at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2010 3,000 bottles. | 2012 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Poggio Doria Riserva 15.26%. Lovely fluidity in 2018, crunchy red fruit too. Seems more tannic than it is. Max 5% press wine and only P1 is used, not P2, vineyard & winery visit on Monday 23rd April 2018. | 2013 Tough vintage, not made.
Brunello di Montalcino, Vigneto MANACHIARA | 1995 Debut vintage. | 2007 TCA nose at DWWA 02nd May 2013. Bronze. Quite tannic, decent tannin, tails off at the finish at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2010 10,000 bottles. | 2012 14.5%. Grippy tannins, very good structure in 2018. ‘Will take time to come round in bottle,’ vineyard & winery visit on Monday 23rd April 2018. | 2013 A vintage which required careful handling of the macerations. 30 days is normal here, this had 33 days but still has soft tannins. The concentration comes from the portion of old vines but these were grubbed up after the harvest (51 years old).
Moscadello di Montalcino DOC | 2014 3,000 bottles.
Tenute Silvio Nardi
Località Casale del Bosco
I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy
Tel+39 0577.808269 | www.tenutenardi.com
Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).
Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).