I love the high elevation Montalcino wines of Le Potazzine, and I love the story of Gigliola Giannetti as a family matriarch, winemaker, grower and survivor.
Giannetti, a now single mom who runs Le Potazzine with her two daughters, was born on the Argiano estate — herself the daughter of workers there.
She and her ex-husband began the 12-acre estate 28 years ago in some of the higher vineyards southwest of Montalcino at a time when locals thought they were wasting their time.
“The contadini said you can’t make a wine of 13.5 (percentage alcohol) up here,” says Giannetti. “Thirty years ago, we didn’t think the climate would change.”
The climate has changed. And so have the times. Ditto for Montalcino.
In fact, Giannetti’s life has pretty much been about doing things that others thought imprudent – from her vineyards to her wine shop and restaurant in town – and then toughing her way through.
Last fall I visited Le Potazzine — now a stellar female-driven producer of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino in an appellation oft-propelled by pretense and machismo. Read that account (free) at winespectator.com.