Fashion magnate Massimo Ferragamo, chairman of Ferragamo USA, yesterday bought one of the largest wine estates in Tuscany, Brunello de Montalcino's Castiglion del Bosco. He would not disclose the price of the 4,300-acre property, but sources estimated it at about $30 million.
"I want to make Castiglion del Bosco one of the three great names of Brunello," said Ferragamo, 44. He purchased the estate with a Newport Beach, Calif., businessman, Corky Severson, and a number of smaller investors. "I am very excited about the potential with the wine," he said. "There is a lot more we can do to improve the quality."
The Castiglion del Bosco property, located on the south side of the famous hilltop town of Montalcino, is primarily woodlands, although it includes about 125 acres of vineyards, 98 percent of which produce Brunello.
In recent vintages, Castiglion del Bosco's Brunellos have been made by consulting enologist Riccardo Cotarella, one of the top names in Italian winemaking. He makes wines such as Falesco Montiano and Vitiano, one of the best values from the country. In recent vintages, he has produced outstanding quality wines at Castiglion del Bosco, such as the 1997 Brunello, which was rated 90 points by Wine Spectator.
However, Ferragamo has decided to change the winemaking and enlist the help of his boyhood friend Niccolo d'Afflitto, a well-known winemaker in Tuscany who makes the superb Brunellos of the neighboring Castelgiocondo estate, which is owned by the Frescobaldi family. "We really want to make something special together," said Ferragamo.
The Ferragamo family is quickly becoming a force in Tuscan winemaking. Massimo's brother and CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo SA, Ferruccio Ferragamo, 55, is making wine in the up-and-coming region of Valdarno at his Il Borro estate. Its international-style red blend -- which scored 89 points in the 1999 vintage and 90 points in 2000 -- is also made by D'Afflitto.
Ferragamo said Castiglion del Bosco was one of the earliest producers of Brunello, and that the huge property had changed little over the years. "Being there is like going back in time," he said. "We want to keep the property all the same. We don't want to even cut down one tree. It's secluded and beautiful."
Check our ratings of Castiglion del Bosco.
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