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Il Marroneto, Brunello di Montalcino

“The world is missing a lawyer or a banker and I for one, rejoice.”

The explanation for the above is quite simple, Alessandro Mori, the sage of Il Marroneto was destined to join his father, Giuseppe Mori, in his legal practice in Siena where his brother, Andrea, was already established.

But following the usual school, university route and subsequent legal exams, which he excelled at, Alessandro took an associate Avvocato position in his fathers legal firm, but after a relatively short period of time, he decided that this was not to be his destiny and resigned his post and took up a banking career in Rome.

During Alessandro’s period of schooling and higher education the family decided to purchase a small holding (farm) on an elevated site in Montalcino, named Madonna delle Grazie, for the purpose of weekends spent away from city life in Siena, and the opportunity to perhaps plant some vines in order to have one’s own wine, for household use.

The property was first viewed in October 1973 and finally purchased February 1974. A plot of 8.2 hectares consisting of a small ancient building and general farm lands.

Alessandro took to the countryside life like a duck to water, and as a teenager fully immersed himself in all aspects of the life of a contadino (farmer).

The first vines were planted in 1975, about 5.000 sq metres, a second planting of 2,000 sq metres followed in 1977. The first formal vintage was 1980 and consisted of 1,800 bottles.

As required by Italian law, Alessandro was drafted into the Italian army as a cadet in 1980, as a conscript with a university degree he was given an officers rank, in fact, ending up a Major.

After leaving his father’s employ and moving to Rome, Alessandro worked hard in his banking career and as his nature commands became the youngest Bank manager in Rome.

Young, handsome, educated and successful the inevitable was about to happen when he met a young lady, with whom he fell in love with, married and shorty after and their son, Jacopo was born.

Most people would be content with that situation, but alas, not Alessandro, he had a restless spirit and the call of the countryside was too strong for him to resist, so in 1991/1992 he decided to move his young family from Rome to the somewhat abandoned house and farm in Montalcino.

During our time together Alessandro kindly agreed to take part to my High Five Interview:

He then recalled to me in vivid detail of arriving at the old pair of doors on the 13th century building, key in hand, placing it into the lock, turning the key and hearing the loud creek as he pushed open the doors. It was far worse than he expected, the place had been left to deteriorate, it was a sorry sight to behold. Alessandro took that challenge in his stride.

So in 1993 with family inheritance sorted, the new owner of Il Marroneto set about making a wine that would satisfy his requirements. With the help of Mario Cortevesio and in particular Giulio Gambelli his four-decades-long quest had begun.

It is worth noting that childhood is a complex right of passage: Alessandro weekends and summers spent in the countryside had a profound effect on him as time evolved. Some people may refer to this as ‘a calling’.

For two people to share a dream of one, sometimes works, sometimes not, as it turned out the life of the artisan winemaker was not for Alessandro’s artist wife and a parting of the ways ensued. Alessandro’s beloved young son Jacopo left the countryside with his mother… There is always a cost to follow one’s dreams.

On a happier note: Jacopo returned to Il Marroneto as a young man. Proving that “the apple didn’t fall far from the tree” he has assisted his father for the past seven years sharing his time between university and the land and vineyard they both love so much.

So back to the quest of wine excellence; a part from a massive amount of time and investment in the vineyards the ancient building needed some updating.

This review is a highly personal account of a winery, because as hard as I try I cannot separate the man from his wines, doing this would be an injustice to both. The drive, passion and willingness to learn through trial and error has forged a bond between man, terroir and wine, they somehow share DNA.

I heard this recently; one must understand that in each wine there is a fortunate encounter that allows the maximum expression of grape variety; is where the terroir holds all that grape needs to flourish and an individual that listens to his vines heartbeat.

Now you can begin to understand the life of Alessandro Mori, and his life’s work at Il Marroneto.

In typical fashion Alessandro offered any of his past vintages to taste and review, saying let’s start with the ‘99. I felt this was not what the day called for, another time, should I be so fortunate.

But I did taste with Jacopo ALL the barrel samples of 2020 and 2021 Brunello di Montalcino ( and yes there were quite a few!)… I have never been so impressed by the astonishing quality of young Sangiovese.

Alessandro last made a Riserva in 2013. I would not be surprised to find one maybe both vintages being called Riserva in the future. But that’s for another day.

Should you wish to read past reviews of the wines of Il Marroneto please go to June 4th Best of the Best. Benvenuto Brunello 2023, and Benvenuto Brunello 2022.

My appreciation to Alessandro and Jacopo for their valuable time spent with me at Il Marroneto.

© Tony Wood Italian Wine 2023

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