Lionel (from Cognac) and Ornella (from Tuscany) bought this land in 1994, located south west of Montalcino in the Tavernelle region, where they found the soil to be extremely pure and never touched by chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or any other form of industrial agriculture. Equally important it is well drained because of the cobble and marine elements. In 1997 Ornella and Lionel planted 3.4 hectares of vines on the south facing slopes of Podere Centine. The vineyard has been certified organic since planting. With no prior knowledge of farming, Lionel studied the art of winemaking during the process of producing wine. His personal mentor was Henri Jayer. Lionel held firmly to french traditions and joined a passionate group of wine growers in Burgundy who follow organic vineyard practices and traditional winemaking. He was also a close colleague of Lucio Sandrone and Aubert de Villaine. Lucio and Aubert recently said Cupano is one of Italy’s greatest wines. Sadly, Lionel passed away in April of 2021. Ornellia now stewards Cupano with the same principles with aid of winemaker Andrea Polidoro who was mentored by Lionel. Andrea is the founder “Long Live Brunello”, an annual showcase in in Montalcino of aged Brunello.
Carlo Ferrini helped Lionel and Ornella find and evaluate potential vineyard sites as well the rootstock, clones and vineyard design. The vineyard lies 30km from the sea. It is composed of sandy, clay with cobble substructures where the Ombrone River once flowed. A tectonic shift created by the Mt. Amiata volcano lifted the ancient river bed that is now the Cupano vineyard. Lionel once found the fossilized remains of an ancient whales in the vineyard which is indicative of the marine and calcareous influences in the soil structure. Francois Bouchet, French Biodynamic expert, created their viticultural program.
All of the estate fruit is harvested by hand. Cassettes are brought to the winery and the clusters are sorted by hand. The clusters are gently de-stemmed with settings used for Pinot Noir. The grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts. Gentle pumpovers and delestage are employed to gently extract flavors and to preserve the seductive texture of the wine. The wines are racked once after fermentation and once after Malolactic. The wine rests for a few weeks and then is transferred for aging on the fine lees in French burgundy barrels for minimum of three years. Wines are bottled without filtration or clarification.
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