Margherita and Francesca Padovani grew up in the Fonterenza farmhouse and acquired their deep love and respect for the land over years spent playing in the hills of Montalcino. Later, when they began making wine on the site, it was practically a given that they would follow a sustainable philosophy. Fonterenza’s vineyards are all located in the Poggio San Polo area in the south-eastern part of Montalcino, along the hills that slope down from Il Greppo towards Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The slopes range from 420-450 meters above sea level and are framed by surrounding woodlands the mighty Monte Amiata rising behind, with its dual function as both protective barrier from the weather and thermal regulator. Sea breezes roll in from south east and meet winds from north and north east. The vineyards experience many hours of direct sunlight in addition to ample moisture. The soil is highly variable as well: clay, galestro, limestone, quartzite and more. Margherita and Francesca are thankful for this cocktail of influences because it adds to the complexity and unique character of their wines. Their 4.2 hectares of Sangiovese are divided into two parcels; “Bosco” and “Strada.” The “Strada” vineyard is made up of four smaller areas: Vigna della Strada, Vigna del Lupo, Vigna dell’Alberello and Vigna della Quercia. All vineyard operations are manual, determined through observation of the phases of the moon and the biodynamic calendar. They combat vine diseases with Sulphur and Copper, combined with natural anti-mildew treatments that rely on propolis and herbal infusions from various plants including yarrow, chamomile, equisetum, nettle, and willow.
I have spent an enormous amount of time tasting in Montalcino… mostly because I'm in awe of the potential for Sangiovese from this region, but also because I have a thirst for learning and want to validate my opinion on the producers I import. Such was the case when I stumbled across the Fonterenza wines at the 2010 bottling. I was dining in Montalcino and talking with the owner of a local restaurant during a tasting. He brought out a bottle of wine and talked about the twin sisters making this organic and biodynamic wine. Great potential and a curious story, so I checked them out... what a cool family. Two sisters basically farming like hell to make a name for themselves in a tough area to gain market share. The wines are raw, but offer great potential.
Organic, biodynamic, sustainable
Clay, galestro, limestone, quartzite