One of the greatest names in Tuscan wine, Altesino, has been sold this week to Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini, a member of a well-known Italian family in the pharmaceutical industry. She paid an estimated $25 million for the 143-acre estate, which is considered one of the best producers of Brunello di Montalcino.
"We are very happy with the sale," said Claudio Basla, the manager of the estate, who had a small interest in Altesino before the sale. He will continue to direct the property under the new management. "We have needed some investment and improvements in the winery and the vineyards, as well as the main house. The new owner has told me that she only wants to improve Altesino, and make it the jewel it should be in Tuscany."
Altesino, located just north of the town of Montalcino, was founded in the mid-1970s by Giulio Consonno, who died late last year. (His son, Afro, was the majority shareholder until the sale.) The estate didn't become a leader in the region until the 1990s, but now its single-vineyard Brunello, Montosoli, is one of Italy's best reds. The property has about 67 acres of vineyards, with 47 of those producing Brunello. Annual wine production totals nearly 16,700 cases, including almost 6,700 of Brunello (in an exceptional year such as 1997) and 2,500 cases of Montosoli.
Angelini, 47, already owns a well-known Brunello estate, Caparzo, which she bought in 1998. In addition, she owns an estate in Chianti Classico, Tenuta Borgo Scopeto, as well as one in the Maremma, near Scansano, called Rivo delle Barbe.
"Mrs. Angelini is a person who loves life and loves great wine," said Basla. "She really wishes to make Altesino even better."
Basla, however, emphasized that there will be no changes to the style of Altesino's wines, particularly Montosoli, which is a classic Brunello. The red, especially when young, can be slightly austere and firm, yet with five or six years of bottle age it comes into its own. "We will never change the style of our wines," Basla said. "However, that doesn't mean that we can't improve."
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