Italy, Tuscany

Established 1972

"A great wine stands out for its harmony, elegance, complexity and naturalness. This means balance and proportion, finesse, manifold sensations of aroma and flavour. It means using healthy, ripe grapes, transformed following a natural process, without the addition of chemical products, colouring, preservatives or other substances not present in grapes (oak tannins etc). A great wine gives us satisfaction, a sense of wellbeing and makes us want to drink it again: it creates and develops sociability between friends. It is unique, rare, typical and long-lived. We can recognise in the wine the microterritory and the vineyard it came from. The wine from the Intistieti cru, for example, is different from the Case Base vineyard, despite being very close by. A great wine is not replaceable, because it has unique characteristics, like any work of art. I didn’t sell a single bottle of the 1989 vintage, because I didn’t think it was up to my usual quality standard. A great wine is rare, at the top of a pyramid of about 20 billion bottles produced worldwide each year. No more than 50-60,000 can make it to the top. A great wine is long-lived: it must improve, at least in the first twenty years, and offer up different sensations over time. It is the only natural product consumed by humans that can outlive man. As a rule, Harmony, Elegance, Complexity, Naturalness, Typicity, Uniqueness, Rarity and Longevity are values that significantly increase the cost of a wine. After all, any product with these characteristics has extremely high costs. Beauty and goodness require time, experience and considerable investments. I produce on average 15,000 bottles a year. But I drastically reduce the number if the vintage is not up to scratch due to bad weather. 27 out of 30 vintages have been excellent: this is a record. The best one was the historic 1979 vintage. In any case, wine is always subjective: the same bottle may be worth 500 euros for one person and not even 1 euro for another." Gianfranco Soldera

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