Montalcino's twin peaks are Soldera and Biondi-Santi, but there's a small handful of estates that are gaining reputations as being right behind those two super-stars. At the top of the list is Cerbaiona. Diego Molinari, former owner and winemaker, has a similar story to Gianfranco. He retired after 25 years as an Alitalia pilot and bought a small estate in Montalcino in the late '70s. He has always been committed to traditional, "hands-off" winemaking. The wines are fermented with native yeasts in concrete and aged in large oak casks. The result is world-class Sangiovese, aromatic, elegantly-fruited and balanced by good structure and underlying savory minerality.
"The Cerbaiona NV Rosso V.D.T. is a real beauty. This mysterious blend of what appears to be about 90% Sangiovese and 10% Pinot Nero (with no vintage declared on the label) opens to a sultry, dark appearance with some deep ruby shine that shows from within. The bouquet has elements that remind me of a classic Tuscan Sangiovese and fragrant, blue flower elements that do in fact recall a distant Pinot Nero on the other. It also has some carbonic-adjacent aromas and a whole lot of freshness, with mint and medicinal herb. Dusty earthenware or baked terracotta also appear. The wine is certainly beautiful, and I'm excited to recommend it." -Robert Parker