At Podere Salicutti, in the Montalcino commune of Tuscany, Francesco Leanza has been making wine with humility, maturity, and conviction for nearly 25 years. As the first organically certified estate in Montalcino, Salicutti prides itself on wines that showcase the uninhibited brilliance of its terroir. Here, in the Tuscany region of Italy, a pleasant hour-and-a-half drive south from Florence, the three Salicutti vineyards extend out from the original farmhouse (that also serves as winery, cellar, and lodging) and offer up some of the most carefully cultivated Sangiovese in the region. Leanza has always insisted on manual tending of the vines and soil during the spring months, followed by a meticulous harvest, hand picking each cluster at its peak ripeness each October. In 1990, relocating from Rome following a career in chemical engineering, Leanza bought the 11-hectare property with the express intention of growing vines on the land. By 1994 he had planted four hectares of Sangiovese on three adjoining plots, which over the years have remained largely unchanged, except for some small additions in 2001 and 2007 to the Sorgente and Piaggione vineyards, respectively. Leanza maintains his unwavering commitment to natural winemaking, now in partnership with the new owners: the Eichbauer family, who bought the estate from him in 2016 under the condition that he stay on as head winemaker. Leanza’s focus on fostering typicity and the fullest expression of Podere Salicutti’s strengths results in uniquely beautiful and complex wines that never fail to delight.
Francesco Laenza and I met in 2015 and I was nervous about it. A friend had told me was looking to sell the property and at the time I had dreams of making Brunello (with no clue as to how). Francesco is this sort of admired and feared guy… devoted to his vines, he moved from Catania (Sicily) to Montalcino in the early '90s when Montalcino only had about 80 producers. He wanted to plant and farm organically, which was a new concept at the time. Unmarried and without children, the vines were his family... so the concept of potentially buying the property from an iconic producer was nerve racking. I couldn't afford the winery, and I should have known, but the view is amazing, the wines were inspiring, and the man was as cool as they get. I brought my wife, Angela, and our two boys back to the property several times before he sold the property in 2016. Now I'm hopeful the new owners of Podere Salicutti take as much pride in this amazing place as Francesco did, while forging their own path forward on this amazing vineyard.
Marls (clay, sandstone, lime sand), rocks (argillite and sand lime rock)