The Cantina dei Barbi, with its 300 wooden wine barrels and thousands of bottles of Brunello laid down for aging, has been open to the public for more than fifty years. During this time more than a million and a half wine lovers have visited our cellars, admiring the collection of bottles that date from 1870 to the present day, bearing witness to a continuity that makes Barbi unique in Italy.
The Brunello produced by Fattoria dei Barbi has won prizes all over Europe since the late nineteenth century, and still today all over the world.
The Fattoria has always been a careful custodian of tradition, but also attentive to innovation and a pioneer in every sphere of winemaking. It was the first firm in Montalcino to export bottled wine to France (1817), the first to sell Brunello by mail order (1832), the first to export it to America (1962), England (1969) and Japan (1975). It created the first “Super Tuscan” (Brusco dei Barbi, 1969) and the first single-varietal grappa (Grappa di Bruennlo, 1974). In the 1960s the estate was a pioneer in using organic fertilizers, in the 1990s it created the first “artificial nose” for analyzing wine, and in 2000 was one of the first to use carbon dioxide for cold fermentation of red wines.
The current annual production is about 800,000 bottles, of which more than 200,000 are Brunello. The 66 hectares of the farm have an average density of about 5,000 vines and produce on the average less than 1.5 kg of grapes per vine; thus each vine produces only a little more than one bottle of wine. The philosophy of the Colombini family and the Fattoria dei Barbi has always been to know and study the most innovative technology and then wed it to the best tradition, so as to improve everything we produce without ever changing its distinguishing characteristics.
The surface planted in grapevines covers 28 hectares. All our vineyards at Scansano are set up for irrigation, which enables us to bring the grapes to the perfect degree of ripeness. Theoretically, the farm can produce 84 hectoliters of Morellino di Scansano DOCG per hectare, although we have never been able to get more than 50 hectoliters per hectare, even taking advantage of irrigation. We feel that the Maremma region can produce outstanding Sangiovese wines, but to attain this quality production has to be kept very low.
The regulations for making Morellino call for 85% of Sangiovese, locally called Morellino, and 15% of other varieties. We have added 15% of Merlot grapes, which gives our Morellino di Scansano an intense bouquet and pleasing roundness, without altering its distinguishing characteristics. The vineyards are situated on a hill 250 meters above sea level, facing the Tyrrhenian Sea, a detail that contributes to a perfect microclimate, with warm sunny days and cool nights, thanks to the sea breezes.
Morellino is ideal for well-seasoned meat dishes, roasts, the grilled wild boar meat typical of Mediterranean cooking, cured pork, and especially flavorful cheeses. This wine breaks the rules in its own way, since it is an excellent companion for fish soups and in general any type of fish cooked with spices and tomato sauce. In Italy, the major market is Tuscany, but consumption of Morellino is growing fast in other regions as well.
Vivaio dei Barbi was bought in 1997 by Stefano Cinelli Colombini, who had been keenly interested in Maremma wines for some years, maturing the conviction that Morellino could be the ideal complement to the range of products offered by Fattoria dei Barbi. After a visit to the Etruscan town of Ghiaccioforte, his love for this area grew to the point that he felt he had to buy land here. The “race to Maremma” had not yet begun, and the purchase price was very low, enabling this investment.