It is difficult to avoid superlatives when writing about this unique wine. The 24 hectares of vineyards and garden have been transformed from abandoned scrubland to a Garden Of Eden, where wildlife, flowers and vines flourish under the fastidious care of Gianfranco Soldera and his wife, Graziella. At around 320m above sea level, the property is high enough to avoid frosts, to enjoy warm, daytime temperatures and cool nights – ideal for even ripening. There are two distinct parcels of vines, planted exclusively with Gianfranco’s revered Sangiovese Grosso, the only grape he believes truly belongs here. Case Basse, 2 hectares in size, was planted in 1972 and Vigna Intistieti, 4 hectares, in 1973. Gianfranco’s and Graziella focus on creating the perfect ecosystem.
An important early alliance was with the winemaker Giulio Gambelli, “il grande maestro del Sangiovese”. Gambelli continued to consult at Case Basse until his death in 2012. The two men discovered common ground, both ideologically and more prosaically on such topics as minimal intervention, no temperature control, no added yeasts, long maceration on skins and long ageing in large Slavonian botti. Case Basse was and is constantly evolving as Gianfranco and now Monica, Gianfranco’s daughter, and family look for ways in which to encourage a bird- and insect-rich environment. The vines themselves are tended with extraordinary attention to detail. Everything is done by hand. Paolo, Monica’s husband, spent many years in the vineyards working with Gianfranco and it is Paolo who is now very much the man in the vines.