Bottled Asset Fund, a New York-based investment fund specializing in Italian wines, has purchased a 7,000-bottle collection of historic vintages of one of Italy's most iconic wines—Biondi-Santi’s Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Greppo Riserva. The vintages range from 1975 to 1945, including the legendary 1955 and 1964. Sergio Esposito, codirector of Bottled Asset Fund (BAF), purchased the collection for $5 million from Biondi-Santi SPA, a distribution company that was formed in 1988 to distribute the wines of Biondi-Santi, but is no longer connected to the Montalcino producer.
Jacopo Biondi Santi, the fifth generation to work at the estate and son of the legendary Franco, who passed away in April, confirmed that the wines were moved from the cellars of Biondi-Santi to a temperature-controlled facility under the management of Biondi-Santi SPA between 1989 and 1995. “When he created the distribution company, my father sold this quantity of bottles to the distribution company,” Jacopo told Wine Spectator. “Some remained in the Biondi-Santi cellars until 1995. [Since then] they have been properly stored, but off the estate."
The Biondi-Santi riservas from the collection will be available through Italian Wine Merchants, the New York wine retailer Esposito founded, as well as select auction houses and London's Liv-Ex Fine Wine Exchange. Esposito also plans to make them available for restaurants this fall. “I wanted to give these wines a home so they will be enjoyed,” said Esposito. “These are not wines you find in circulation, but wines that have been caressed and meant to live 50 years or longer. They are a treasure.”
Biondi-Santi is credited with creating the style of Brunello di Montalcino that has given the wine and the appellation a worldwide reputation—100 percent Sangiovese from selected vines aged for several years in oak casks. The estate is also a staunch defender of tradition, opposing a movement to allow the use of other grape varieties for blending.
The BAF is a wine-investment fund created largely to focus on Italian wines, although it does purchase wines from other areas, notably Bordeaux. Esposito believes the market for Italian wines is growing globally and claims that the initial fund of $10 million has delivered returns of more than 30 percent, net of fees, for its investors. Administered by Vino Management Corporation, BAF plans to launch an additional $25 million fund by the end of 2013.