IL PARADISO DI MANFREDI
TUSCANY - ITALY
“The tiny Il Paradiso di Manfredi farm, run by three generations of a close-knit and delightful family, makes the most soulful wines in the entire appellation… In a day when there is so much doubt over the authenticity of Brunello, and question marks over whose dark and inky Brunellos are the result of blending or of the newest generation of Sangiovese super-clones, and when so many small and large producers over-extract and over-oak their wines in an attempt to be noticed by critics, it is refreshing to discover a winery like Il Paradiso di Manfredi. These distinct earthy and mineral Brunellos are the real thing; they are without doubt Brunellos for connoisseurs.”
- Kerin O’Keefe in ‘Brunello di Montalcino’
Il Paradiso di Manfredi is a tiny estate of 2.5 ha in the heart of Montalcino. In the 50s Manfredi worked for the famous Biondi Santi estate. In 1958 he bought Il Paradiso di Manfredi where there were more olive trees than vines and indeed in that period in Montalcino the olive oil production was higher than the wine production. Initially they were harvesting around 10000 kg of olives each year but at the beginning of the 60’s a big freeze destroyed all the olive trees and Manfredi decided to replant everything with vines. In 1982 Manfredi died, and Florio, Manfredi’s son in law, decided to work on the estate full time. Florio had always been passionate about wine and helped Manfredi, but his main job hitherto had been as a maths teacher.
Il Paradiso di Manfredi today is one of the best expressions of traditional Brunello di Montalcino. Viticulture and vineyard rhythm is effectively biodynamic. Pesticides and weedkillers are eschewed, the waxing and waning of the moon determines activity in the vineyard and the winery. They hand-pick the grapes (yields are around 42hl/ha) , the wild ferment takes place in concrete vats (no temperature control… ) after which the wine spends 36/40 months in big casks of Slavonia oak (25/ /30 hl).
By law a Brunello di Montalcino may be ready for the market in January five years after the harvest. For Florio a Brunello is ready when… it is ready. Florio also produces a Rosso di Montalcino from the same vineyard, the only difference between the two wines is the period that it spends in wood (usually ten to twelve months). The wines are everything you hope for in great Sangiovese, displaying wicked wild cherry fruit along with notes of herbs, leather, liquorice, pepper and spice and nascent prune, tar and tobacco aromas.