On taking over the property in 2015 it was clear to Fioretti that the vineyards were in desperate need of renovation.
They had been planted with the material that was available at the time, but there had since been massive development in terms of the clones and rootstocks of Sangiovese available to producers. Fioretti retained and harvested the oldest vineyards at Cerbaiona for four harvests and interacted with top agronomists.
“We made many attempts to overcome the shortcomings of these rootstocks and clones (which tended to produce enormous bunches, especially in wet years). But we all agreed: the sooner we replanted, the better off Cerbaiona would be.” As he undertook this major work, Fioretti declassified the wine, with 2016 the first vintage of Brunello di Montalcino released from the revamped Cerbaiona.
Fioretti has made significant changes to promote the long-term health of the vineyards. Since taking over the property the estate has embarked on a six-year replanting program (scheduled to be completed in 2021). The original three hectares of vineyards (of which one hectare was made up of Bordeaux varieties) have been completely replanted to Sangiovese. An additional hectare of olive groves located on the steepest slope, which Fioretti believes is the finest on the estate, has also been replaced with vines. Where possible, vines have been planted at a higher density and Fioretti has also converted the property to organic viticulture.
The winery was completely renovated in 2015-16, with all new material and equipment brought in, partly to eliminate the Brettanomyces that was present in the winery and barrel rooms.
Today the wines are fermented in open-top oak fermenters using ambient yeasts, no temperature control and low sulphite additions. After pressing – in which free run and press wines are kept separate (the latter goes into Cerbaiona Rosso) – and malolactic, the three best tanks are racked into four 17-hectolitre oval casks and become the Brunello.
The Brunello spends two years in cask and is racked just once a year. Following the second racking, the wine rests in stainless steel to await bottling the following May. Fioretti aims to move the wine as little as possible post fermentation, trying to ensure the right contact with lees, protect the wine from oxygen but control for reduction, and reduce the sulphur additions.