Il Marroneto is one of Montalcino’s most respected producers. Its Madonna delle Grazie is consistently one of the top-scoring Brunello di Montalcinos of any vintage.
Il Marroneto was established in 1975 when the Mori family purchased a small farm on the northern slopes of Montalcino, initially planting half a hectare of vines. Between ’82 and ’83 they expanded the vineyard, planting another 1.1 hectares. These early plantings – a total 1.75 hectares – are now used for the property’s top Madonna delle Grazie bottling.
For the first two decades, the estate was run part-time as a family hobby and production remained low – just 3,300 bottles a year. Slowly the estate expanded and today it produces around 42,000 bottles a year. Today the winery has three different vineyards in the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, all at relatively high altitudes and north-facing – the original Madonna delle Grazie vineyard at 420 metres above sea-level, the other two around 370 metres.
Owner and winemaker Alessandro Mori believes the exposition of the vineyards is significant, because they are quick to cool in the evening sun, benefitting from mountain winds that help maintain freshness and acidity in the grapes.
The soils in the vineyards are low in nutrients and very sandy, providing great drainage. Initially it took the vines time to find equilibrium due to the rootstock, needing one that could cope on such sandy soils. The solution was to provide permanent grass cover in the vineyards, with no ploughing, retaining moisture in the soils and producing grapes with the right balance of tannins and acidity.
The cellar was originally a shelter for farm animals, but has seen significant work over the years. Under the guidance of Tuscany’s two most famous, traditionalist wine consultants Mario Cortevesio (who worked for Il Marroneto from 1975-1985) and Guilio Gambelli (from 1985-1993), Il Marroneto became one of the region’s leading properties, working with very traditional techniques. Apart from a wine pump, no mechanical equipment is used – with everything done by hand. They only use indigenous yeasts and mature the wine in old large Slovenian oak barrels. All settling of the must, fining and filtration is done naturally.
Il Marroneto produces just four cuvées, two Rosso di Montalcinos and two Brunello di Montalcinos. Their classic Rosso is called Ignaccio, while a new cuvée – Rosso di Montalcino Selezione Iacopo – was introduced in 2019, named after and made by Alessandro Mori’s son who started working alongside his father that year. The wine is a blend of Iacopo’s favourite barrels, with just over 3,000 bottles made.
The estate produces two Brunello di Montalcinos, their classic Brunello which comes from three different vineyards in Montalcino and their top Madonna dell Grazie bottling, which comes from a the finest fruit from their original vineyard next to the winery.
The two Brunellos are made completely differently. The classic Brunello undergoes 48 hours of constant pump-overs, followed by a fast, hot fermentation (sometimes as high as 40˚C). It’s then left untouched to age in barrels for three to four years. By contrast, the fruit for the Madonna delle Grazie arrives at the winery and isn’t touched for the first 48 hours. Fermentation temperatures are much cooler and fermentation times much longer – up to 25 days. After fermentation the wines are also aged in old oak for three to four years prior to bottling.