The La Gerla property is situated at 320 metres above sea level, on the gentle slopes below Montalcino. This small wine estate has established itself as one of the great crùs in this territory in the heart of Tuscany, delineated by the Orcia and Ombrone valleys. The owner, Sergio Rossi, was formerly involved in advertising. He was the director of three European offices of a famous agency and was used to travelling for work and to losing sleep over lay-outs and jingles. These days he is almost an “ilcinese,” and he loves his vineyards as if they were children.
This gentleman, with his vivacious character, has succeeded in his goal of creating a small cru in Montalcino where the most modern technology is combined with the know-how of local men and one winemaker. At La Gerla, human intervention plays an important role is extracting excellent Tuscan products from the land.
The farmhouse, with the characteristic name “Colombaia” was once the property of the Biondi Santi family. They used it to make one of the best Brunellos in the area. Sergio Rossi purchased the property in 1976 and restructured it with care and attention to detail. Not long afterwards, in 1978, he created the trademark La Gerla.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.