Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.

Those who embrace character will love these wines, says Michaela Morris, who tastes through recent vintages with long-time estate custodian Francesco Leanza.

Salicutti, brunello
Podere Salicutti: 'A precious piece of vinous history,' says Michaela Morris.

Michaela Morris tastes recent vintages...

The post Salicutti Brunello vertical: The past, present and future appeared first on Decanter.


Those who embrace character will love these wines, says Michaela Morris, who tastes through recent vintages with long-time estate custodian Francesco Leanza.

Salicutti, brunello
Podere Salicutti: 'A precious piece of vinous history,' says Michaela Morris.

Michaela Morris tastes recent vintages...

The post Salicutti Brunello vertical: The past, present and future appeared first on Decanter.

Those who embrace character will love these wines, says Michaela Morris, who tastes through recent vintages with long-time estate custodian Francesco Leanza.

Salicutti, brunello
Podere Salicutti: 'A precious piece of vinous history,' says Michaela Morris.
  • Scroll down to see the wines


Podere Salicutti: How it all began 

Francesco Leanza is a chemical engineer by profession, an artist in the soul and an accidental winemaker.

Originally from Catania in Sicily, his career led him to the chaos of Rome. He spent weekends seeking tranquility in the hills around Montalcino in Tuscany. In 1990, he retired, sold his 70 square metre apartment in Rome and purchased 11 hectares in the south-east of the Montalcino territory.

‘I bought Salicutti because I liked this little oasis, unspoiled by time,’ recalls Leanza.

He also saw the economic potential. At the time, the value of land was ten times less than in Chianti Classico. Now it’s worth substantially more.

The approach


He has farmed organically from day one and was the first in Montalcino to be certified


Over time, Leanza planted four hectares of vineyards. He has farmed organically from day one and was the first in Montalcino to be certified.

The mainstay of his production is the ‘Piaggione’ Brunello which is actually a blend of fruit from his Piaggione and Teatro plots.

Despite working with a handful of different consultants over the years, Leanza has always made the final decisions himself. His approach has changed very little.

‘There is no oenology in my wines. Nothing is added, taken away or corrected. They are a natural result,’ he says.

The wines of Salicutti aren’t for those looking for technical perfection.

Some earlier vintages have elevated volatile acidity and the occasional trace of brettanomyces. Nevertheless, drinkers who embrace character, will find personality in spades.

I thoroughly appreciated Leanza’s willingness to share a range of vintages, not all necessarily the most highly rated.

This vertical is a precious slice of vinous history.

Leanza sold Salicutti last year. With no children to inherit the estate, the sale was a necessity. Buyers Felix and Sabine Eichbauer from Tantris restaurant in Munich were longtime clients of Salicutti.


  • Read Brunello di Montalcino 2012: Top wines and vintage review


One of the sale stipulations was that Leanza would stay on for three years. He is not sure exactly when he’ll be handing over the reins and future direction remains uncertain.

Although a crane looms over the property, Leanza claims no big changes have been planned. The current expansion of the barrel and storage facility was his idea prior to the sale. The new ownership has simply helped finance it.

See the Salicutti wines:

Click on the wines to see the full tasting notes and stockist details for US and UK, where available. 


Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, 1999

This is the same combination of the Piaggione and Teatro plots as in other years. It demonstrates evolved and savoury nuances of soy and worn leather with smoked black tea, exotic spice and tamarind. While tannins have mellowed somewhat, they are still powerfully present providing a firm backbone and dusty…

Points 92

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione, Tuscany, 2001

The first vintage labeled as 'Piaggione', 2001 opens with balsamic and fennel notes followed by crushed dried flowers, sweet tobacco and powdery cocoa on the palate. It shows more youthfully than the 1999 with plenty of stamina as it sits in the glass. This elegant and linear Brunello is endowed…

Points 93

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione, Tuscany, 2003

The challenges of a hot ripening season are evident here. Besides slightly baked plum and cherry fruit there is a smoky undertone. Vaguely gamey and cured leather aromas are suggestive of brettanomyces. While the rich, ripe fruit and soft mature tannin are pleasing, the wine lacks the tension and grace…

Points 89

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione, Tuscany, 2005

Leanza calls 2005 a complicated year saying that the fruit was difficult to ripen. At this point in its evolution, it almost has the weight and structure of a Rosso. Nonetheless, 2005 is an honest expression with lifted scents of basil, mint and pepper. The medium-bodied, slightly skinny palate offers…

Points 91

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vigna Il Piaggione, 2008

1.4ha, SE-facing, 420m, sandyclay, SE of Montalcino.Real intensity, elegance, wildness, levity and digestibility. Constantly changes in the glass to keep you guessing. A jewel.

Points 98

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Tre Vigne, Tuscany, 2009

As yields in Piaggione and Teatro were down by 30% in 2009, Leanza supplement these with the best fruit from the Sorgente parcel, which is typically used exclusively for his Rosso. Thus the name, Tre Vigne. Still youthful with intense wild cherry and spice giving way to subtle cedar underneath,…

Points 93

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione, Tuscany, 2011

2011 was another year Leanza considered exceptional enough to make a Riserva. This regular bottling is a thrilling harbinger, allying impressive power with beautiful elegance. Expressive and energetic, it bursts with perfumed thyme blossom, pepper, aromatic herbs and red plum. A plush, ripe fruit core is held together by supple…

Points 95

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione SV, 2011

Salicutti's Riserva is a true single vineyard bottling of Piaggione with the initials SV distinguishing it from the regular Brunello. Like the latter, the Riserva is aged for three years in wood but sees an addition year in bottle - a total of two. Still very much in its infancy,…

Points 96

Salicutti, Brunello di Montalcino, Piaggione, Tuscany, 2012

This wine seems to be in an awkward phase, which isn't surprising given its youth. However, the vintage could also be at play. The nose is compelling, offering intriguing earthy aromas, rose, anise and mineral underneath. Yet on the palate, the tannins are ever so slightly dry and the alcohol…

Points 92

More tastings like this:

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Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.