Azienda Agricola Solaria - Patrizia Cencioni

Montalcino | Tuscany

Many an independent winemaker will tell you that if you want something done well, you’re going to have to do it yourself. Patrizia Cencioni of Azienda Agricola Solaria takes this adage to the extreme—as winemaker, vineyard manager and owner, she is the singular beating heart and soul of Solaria.

While Patrizia’s family roots do reach back decades in Montalcino, this is not a typical tale of wine-stained generations, each planting vines and learning from the next. Patrizia wanted to make Brunello wines; thus, she bought a crumbling property on the southeast flanks of Montalcino in 1989—not far from the lauded Casanova di Neri—and set to doing things her way.

Thirty years later, Solaria is a shining example of how hard work and dedication can make a modest family farm into a rising star of this world-famous appellation.

Sitting on a perfect plateau some 1,050 feet above altitude, Solaria benefits from a particular microclimate that moderates the more Mediterranean heat of this side of Montalcino. Brunello here is wonderfully suave and savory, with tangy licorice and black cherry fruit. Patrizia’s Riserva, a single-vineyard selection of older vines, takes this intensity a notch higher, all the while preserving the freshness and energy that the best Sangiovese Grosso wines can and should give.

Today Patrizia works side-by-side with her daughters in the fields and in the cantina. They represent Montalcino’s next winemaking generation, making their own traditions, just like their mother did.

FARMING & WINEMAKING

The family farm, to the southeast of the village of Montalcino, comprises more than 100 acres of land, a quarter of which is planted to vine. Some additional 15 acres are planted to olive trees, with the rest of the high-altitude estate left to wild forest.

Vineyards range from 900 to 1,050 feet in altitude, over a series of rolling hills, protected from the cooler winds coming from Mount Amiata yet well-exposed to capture the warm afternoon sun. Soils are classic Montalcino, a combination of “galestro,” a compacted clay, and volcanic rock.

Vines are cared for according to organic principles, and the estate is working toward certification. The oldest plot of vines, called ‘123,’ was planted in 1987 and is reserved primarily for the estate’s Brunello di Montalcino Riserva wine.

Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Wines are aged either in older French oak barrels (no older than eight years) or traditional, larger “botti” made of French and/or Slavonian oak.

RED WINES
Rosso di Montalcino

100% Sangiovese Grosso. A selection of younger fruit from the estate’s Brunello vineyards, sitting 900 to 1,050 feet in altitude and southwest from the village of Montalcino. Soils are classic Montalcino, a combination of “galestro,” a compacted clay, and volcanic rock. Vine age 5 to 20 years. Hand-harvested. Destemmed; fermented in stainless steel on indigenous yeasts. Aged for eight months in older French and Slovenian oak “botti,” from 26HL to 42HL.

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

 

Brunello di Montalcino

100% Sangiovese Grosso. Estate vines are found on a series of rolling hills, sitting 900 to 1,050 feet in altitude and southwest from the village of Montalcino. Soils are classic Montalcino, a combination of “galestro,” a compacted clay, and volcanic rock. Vine age 20 to 30 years. Hand-harvested. Destemmed; fermented in stainless steel on indigenous yeasts. Aged for 30 months in older French oak barrels.

 

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 'Selezione 123'

100% Sangiovese Grosso. A single-vineyard selection of the estate’s oldest vines (planted in 1987) from a plot called ‘123,’ located at the highest point of the estate, at 1,050 feet in altitude. Hand-harvested. Destemmed; fermented in stainless steel on indigenous yeasts. Aged for 36 months in older French oak barrels.

 

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

Established: 1989
Winemaker: Patrizia Cencioni
Region: Italy • Tuscany • Montalcino
Vineyard size: 25 acres

PRACTICING ORGANIC

Azienda Agricola Solaria