Castello di RomitorioCastello di Romitorio, high on the hill in front of the village of Montalcino, is an imposing and picturesque edifice. Of Roman origin, the castle was later a monastery before being bought by art patron Giorgio Franchetti, who exchanged the property in 1984 with Sandro Chia for some of his paintings. A contemporary of Basquiat, and leader of Italy’s “Transavanguardia”, Neo-Expressionist movement, Chia used the castle as his studio but was also keen to restore the surrounding vineyards. He embraced the innovations that were taking place in the late 1980s in Montalcino and he was at the forefront of propelling the region’s wines to their current renown. His son Sandro joined the business in 2005, the same year the new winery was inaugurated. Winemaker Franco Martini has been with the estate since 2016 and Carlo Ferrini (who also works closely with San Leonardo) consults. Romitorio has fifteen hectares in total, planted on ferrous and magnesium-rich soils, over shale and gravel beds, and the vineyards are elevated for the region, from 200m behind the Montosoli Hill, right up to smaller parcels of not greater than 1.5ha up to 500m. The oldest vines are 35 years old and harvest tends to begin at the end of August with the higher plots being picked in mid-October, and these later harvest grapes tend to be destined for the Riserva (which has only been made seven times in thirty years).