Fattoria La Gerla, named for the large, old-fashioned, conical baskets that grape-harvesters used to carry on their backs, was founded in 1978 by the late Sergio Rossi. Originally from Milan, Mr. Rossi purchased the property in 1976 from Tedina Biondi-Santi, the daughter of Tancredi Biondi-Santi, who had inherited the property after her father’s passing. The purchase of what was then called the Podere Colombaio Santi included an ancient farmhouse and 6.5 hectare of vineyards. Mr. Rossi, who by then had been managing the Altesino-Caparzo estate for several years, renamed the property La Gerla and set about restoring the estate and replanting the vines using selection massale. Today, La Gerla consists of 11.5 hectares, divided between the original 6.5 hectare vineyard in Canalicchio (Montalcino) and an additional 5 hectares in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The Canalicchio vineyard consists of abundant marl and chalk while the Castelnuovo vineyard is more sandy and silty whilst maintaining a base of chalk.
The estate, now run by vineyard manager/director Alberto Passeri and winemaker Vittorio Fiore, makes four wines, all made entirely from Sangiovese Grosso, the only grape planted on the property.
- The La Gerla Brunello is a blend of both the Canalicchio and Castelnuovo vineyards. The grapes are kept cool for 7-8 days before fermentation, which lasts up to 15 days. The wine is then transferred to large 50-100hl casks and is aged for three years, racked twice a year, then bottled. It is then aged for an additional year before release. This is classic Brunello; focused and flavorful, with hints of violets and berries on the nose, a rich, velvety texture and excellent acidity.
- La Gerla’s Rosso di Montalcino, sourced from the same sites as the Brunello, is aged for two years, one of which is in Slavonian oak casks.
- Birba is an IGT Toscana that is made from 100% Sangiovese from the same sites as the two wines above. It starts as a Brunello di Montalcino and is then declassified. The only difference is that it sees about a year in barrique before moving to large Slavonian oak botte.
- La Gerla’s top wine is the single vineyard cru gli Angeli. This Brunello Riserva, which is only made in select years, comes entirely from a one hectare parcel of old vines from the original Biondi-Santi site, located between 270 and 320 meters above sea level. This hillside vineyard occupies a privileged position at the estate and consistently offers beautiful and healthy fruit. The wine is kept for 4 years in 50 hectoliter Slavonian oak casks and kept for an additional year in bottle before being released.