Even before Diego Molinari founded the Cerbaiona estate in the 1970s, its vineyards were famous. Indeed, “Il vino più buono viene da la Cerbaiona,” or “the best wine comes from Cerbaiona” had been a saying in Montalcino for about two hundred years, well before Brunello di Montalcino was born! Situated just northeast of the town of Montalcino, Cerbaiona’s lands occupy prime territory; its steep vineyards boast soils of limestone, shale, and clay, while its location offers a happy medium between the structured wines of Brunello’s northern zone and the ripeness of Brunello’s southern zone. When planting his vineyards, Diego went to Gianfranco Soldera for advice and vine clippings, so the estate’s original seven acres put Cerbaiona on a world-class footing from the start. In 2015, Diego sold Cerbaiona to Matthew Fioretti, along with choice investors, who immediately began making subtle yet important changes in order to improve the quality of Cerbaiona’s wines. The new Cerbaiona team began by taking the estate fully organic, then they embarked upon an ambitious six-year replanting program that increases vine density, replaces international vines with specially selected Sangiovese Grosso clones, and increases the estate’s holdings to almost ten acres. In addition to viticultural changes, the new Cerbaiona team has updated the cantina — it’s a lot of hard work in the service of raising the bar at the cult Cerbaiona estate! The payoff began with the release of the velvety and layered 2016 Brunello, a sign that the future is rosy at Cerbaiona, one of the great Brunello estates.