Graziella and Gianfranco Soldera have worked for 40 years to enhance the land and soil that nourishes their Sangiovese vineyards in Case Basse. More than just a winery, the property has played host to ongoing viticultural research and constant efforts to improve winemaking in the region. Gianfranco Soldera promotes studies and research linked to the Sangiovese grape with an award he has set up to enable him to finance young people who carry out research on the variety. They enforce an utmost adherence to nature and terroir, hardly interfering in the vinification process and thereby deferring always to the inherent nuances and splendor of their fruit. Gianfranco Soldera’s natural vinegrowing and winemaking project is based on a fundamental principle: to produce a fine wine it is necessary to look after not only the vines, but also the surrounding environment. Gianfranco and Graziella have renovated abandoned buildings on the estate and restored them to their original Tuscan farmhouse architecture, made up of dry, stone walls where swallows, robins, and small mammals, such as squirrels, find refuge, as well as many, many insects. At harvest time, the grapes are hand-sorted three times to ensure that every bit of fruit is up to Gianfranco’s discriminating standards. The Sangiovese is then fermented in large Slavonian oak vats in Soldera’s specially-designed cellar, away from temperature changes, humidity fluctuations, and vibrations. The cellar at Case Basse is located 14 m underground and was built using only natural materials and carefully avoiding concrete. It is a place made for wine: “a belly destined to house and protect something precious,” to use Gianfranco Soldera’s own words. After the wine has completed fermentation, it is racked and aged, then bottled right in the cellar and aged another few months prior to the vintage release. Every one of their annual 15,000 resulting bottles is unparalleled.
When I got started importing, I always dreamed of working with 2 wineries… Soldera and Quintarelli. I've been lucky to work with them both, and to have spent hours with Gianfranco Soldera at timeless lunches has been a real highlight to my life in wine. There really isn't an appropriate way to describe the property... it just leaves you in awe when you taste the wines out of barrel, understand the meticulous farming methods in place - literally down to the exact number of leaves per vine desired per vintage, and an amazing 2 acre garden with over 1,000 species of flowers intended to create a unique ecosystem in the vineyards. The wines were blessed by DRC and Conterno to be the best of Sangiovese and Brunello in the early 90's. Since then they've been the darling of Italian wine lovers.