The story of the Lambardi family — once quality farmers in a small, family-run estate in the hills of southern Tuscany, today producers of broad, elegant wines — is the story of Brunello. Invented no more than 80 years ago with the isolation of a specific clone of Sangiovese, Brunello has rapidly become a very important style of wine, fully representative of the generous flavors of Tuscany.
Lambardi offers a traditional Brunello, aged in neutral barrels, magnificently structured and extremely age-worthy.
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The Rinaiscimento brought to prominence many of the noble Tuscan families: Antinori, Ricasoli, and Ruffino became symbols of Tuscany’s political and economic importance and were responsible in good part for the expansion of trade and increased respect for Florence’s wines – known colloquially as Vermiglio. Ironically, early references to the wines of “Monte Lucini” and “Monte Alcino” are to white wines.
Little is mentioned of red until well into the Nineteenth Century when Ferruccio Biondi-Santi began his great experiments on an obscure sub-variety of Sangiovese – called Brunello for its dark, dusky color. Ferruccio, a veteran of the Risorgimento (he fought with Garibaldi at Bezzecca), took his grandfather Clementi’s work with this new clone at IL Greppo, reduced the normal yields, fermented it without governo, and aged it in large Slovenian oak barrels. He is still credited with creating the first modern Tuscan red.
The Chianina cattle, (used in the famous bistecca alla Fiorentina), chickens known as Livornesi, rabbit, wild boar, pigeon and woodcock are all raised or farmed in the region.
But olive oil is what makes Tuscan food so unmistakably Tuscan. Rather than a dressing, the oil is the basis for nearly every dish. Food is sauteed and fried in it, soups are finished benedette – given a last-minute benediction by spooning oil into them – and every vegetable is made tastier with a couple of tablespoons of local olive oil.