Established in 1974 by Siena lawyer Giuseppe Mori, Il Marroneto takes its name from the central building of the cellar that dates back to 1250. As the story goes, the nuns of the nearby Madonna delle Grazie convent used the ‘Marroneto’ to dry chestnuts prior to being ground into flour to bake bread for weary pilgrims walking the infamous Via Francigena to Rome. Fast forward to the 20th Century, the nuns are gone but the Cantina’s first wines, the 1976 vintage, were made by Mori’s sons, Alessandro and Andrea inside this classified building. Both sons had followed Giuseppe’s career path, but Alessandro in particular, was bitten by the winemaking bug, travelling the globe and eventually returning to Il Marroneto full time from 1993.
Il Marroneto is ideally located. It’s to the north of the appellation, sitting around 450m, affording a mesoclimate with a large diurnal shift sets the scene for the vibrant, pure and precise nature of the wines. The first additional plantings took place in 1975, these provide fruit for the revered Madonna delle Grazie, with the remaining 90% following in 1977 and 1982/3 taking land under vine to 5.8ha at a density of 3,400 vines/ha.
In the winery, Alessandro Mori’s approach is simple and focused with a staunch view to tradition. The approach in the vineyard is distinctly hands off with no chemical treatments and no tilling having taken place since 1988. Winemaking follows a similar path with natural ferments, no fining and no filtration. A 48-hour maceration with regular pump overs occurs after a partial destemming. No temperature control is used during fermentation with temperatures often rising to 37°c, truly old school. Ageing is in large botti of French and Slavonian origin. The resultant wines show a clarity of colour, great depth of perfume and taut acidity with detail and precision across the mineral inflected palate. This high-toned nature belies the underlying concentration which will see these wines march gracefully through time. Today the estate sits among the most highly regarded in Montalcino.