On a rocky ridge less than 3 km west of town lays Carpineto’s Montalcino estate. It is one of the highest in the appellation at an altitude that exceeds 500 meters (1,500 ft) above sea level. The 53ha farm (130 acres) has an historic stone cellar that was built three centuries ago. Right in the middle of the woods there are 10 ha (25 acres) of sustainably, dry farmed vineyards planted to Sangiovese Grosso, in perfect view of Montalcino, with Siena that can be seen in the far distance on clear days.
In ancient times this estate was called Forteto del Drago, the Dragon’s Fort, because a very large and mean animal lived in the thick forests surrounding the vineyards. When it turned out to be just a very big porcupine the locals were no longer scared of it, but the legend remains to this day and it is the reason why there is a red dragon on the label.
The sedimentary soil has a clay shist frame, locally called galestro, with clay accumulations dating back to the Eocene era, 15 million years ago. The planting density is just over 5,000 vines per hectare (2,100/ acre), dry farmed and trained to unilateral cordon. Production is about one bottle per vine.
The slightly northern exposure of the vineyards, surrounded by thick woods, protect the vineyard from the warm and humid westerly winds that come up from the Maremma. This well ventilated, high altitude mountain oasis is well above the humidity that forms in the valley, thus allowing for excellent hang times of the grapes, making this one of the last vineyards to be picked in the entire Brunello appellation. The mountain fruit makes a unique wine in a very classic style.
Attaining a perfect phenolic ripeness confers to this Brunello an intense bouquet of wild berries, mediterranean herbs and a pronounced minerality. The vibrant acidity supports a very fine elegance and a decades long longevity. The resulting Brunello is aged for three years in 30hl Slavonian oak casks with the Riserva coming from the highest elevation vineyard yielding the best fruit, called Vigna Paradiso.