Gianfranco Soldera SOLDERA® CASE BASSE®
Gianfranco Soldera was born in 1937 in the northern town of Treviso. He grew up in Italy’s banking capital of Milan and eventually became an insurance broker. In 1970, he moved to Tuscany and purchased the 23-hectare Case Basse wine estate located in the southwest quadrant of the Montalcino appellation. He planted Sangiovese vines in 1972 and 1973 and immediately set out to make a non-interventionist’s style of Brunello, thus becoming one of the pioneers for what would become the natural wine movement. His first bottled wine was produced in the 1975 vintage, and the first vintage of Case Basse Brunello di Montalcino was 1977 (released in 1982).
Soldera continued to make Brunello di Montalcino until 2006.
Since 2013 (with the 2006 wine) the winery has labelled its products as Toscana IGT/IGP Soldera 100% Sangiovese dalla Società Agricola Case Basse®.
All the grapes harvested at Case Basse are Sangiovese.
Soldera Case Basse® boasts a very small and exclusive production, which is the result of passionate work aimed at creating a great wine through completely natural vine growing and winemaking processes.
The result is winemaking excellence, which only those who have tasted this wine can confirm: it is an exclusive experience, for the benefit of just a few, because only a small amount of wine is sold after such a rigorous selection process.
As per Gianfranco’s philosophy: “A great wine stands out for its harmony, elegance, complexity and naturalness. This means balance and proportion, finesse, manifold sensations of aroma and flavor. It means using healthy, ripe grapes, transformed following a natural process, without the addition of chemical products, coloring, preservatives, or other substances not existing in grapes (for example oak tannins etc.).
A great wine is not replaceable, because it has unique characteristics, like any work of art. I didn’t sell a single bottle of the 1989 vintage, because I didn’t think it was up to my usual quality standard.”
Gianfranco Soldera’s natural vine growing and winemaking project is based on a fundamental principle: to produce a fine wine it is necessary to look after not only the vines, but also the surrounding environment.
Natural vine growing requires a complex ecosystem, made up of other plants, insects and animals. Man’s intervention alone is not enough, and it certainly does not help if he means to exploit the soil and crops without care.
The best contribution man can make to vine growing and winemaking is to heed farming culture and knowledge and to solve problems through the study and application of techniques that scientific and technological innovation have put at his disposal.
Graziella Soldera is a botanist and landscape architecture enthusiast. She designed and created a botanical garden covering over two hectares at Case Basse.
Graziella's amazing garden has floral arches and stone columns, hedges and pathways, ponds and streams, shrubs and trees: Chinese apple, dogwood, elder, laurel, juniper, olive, and, of course, holly oak, also known as holm oak or ilex, Montalcino taking its name from the Latin Mons Ilcinus (Mount Ilex). There are flowers of every color and hue, shape and size: a magnificent collection of more than 1,500 kinds of antique roses, one of which (the Noisette rose La Biche) Graziella herself discovered, as well as many different irises and lilies, including the ruby-red Lilium Soldera, which a breeder in Holland produced in honor of their wine. It is, as the Solderas' daughter Monica rightly says, "a never-ending story."
The estate teems with animals, birds, and insects, as well as with plant life: wild boar, deer, and foxes, martens and weasels, hedgehogs and porcupines, frogs and toads, lizards and snakes, bees and wasps, bats, sparrows, and starlings, and thousands of crawling and flying insects, for which it is the ideal habitat.
After the passing of Gianfranco Soldera in February 2019, the family continues its activity in compliance with the principles and core values of Case Basse. The excellence of the natural product, the enhancement of the ecosystem and the garden, the investment in studies and innovation, the support for young researchers, are in fact part of the company's DNA.
An imprint that Graziella Soldera, Monica with Paolo, Mauro with Valeria, follow today and will enhance in the future with renewed passion giving each one their own personal contribution.
A note from Filippo - owner of Bacchanal Wine Imports, Inc.:
“I will miss a friend, a person that I tried meeting as often as possible to absorb, like a sponge, his thoughts, his philosophy and his art.
My goal with Bacchanal is now to continue working with his family to protect and carry on with Gianfranco's legacy.”