The family of author Graham Greene has owned properties in the Tuscan region of Maremma for over 50 years. In 1989 they began restoration of the magnificent Castello di Montepò near Scansano, establishing vineyards and a winery where Charlotte became winemaker. Ten years later, the estate was sold to Jacopo Biondi Santi of the illustrious Montalcino family.
In 2000, the Greenes purchased the 11th century Castello di Potentino, located at the foot of Tuscany’s highest peak, Monte Amiata, 30 km from Montalcino, where they have undertaken a remarkable restoration of the castle, planted vineyards and tend 100-year-old olive trees. In 2009, Potentino withdrew from the local Montecucco DOC, which siblings Charlotte Horton & Alexander Greene believe serves the purposes of commercial producers rather than artisans. Charlotte’s wines are intended to “stimulate the intelligence of the palate”.
Castello di Potentino has 4 hectares of low-density vineyards planted to Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Alicante (Grenache). The vineyards are tended by hand, farmed using largely organic principles — though they’re not certified (another philosophical choice) — and only native yeast is used for fermentation. Charlotte opts for 5000-litre ‘botti’ rather than barriques during fermentation and maturation to avoid overpowering the delicate fruit. Her wines are not fined or filtered prior to bottling to preserve the aromatics and complexity, and very low levels of sulphur are used. The wines reflect the delicate touch of a female winemaker - elegant, energetic, kaleidoscopic, gracious...
As Charlotte writes, “Castello di Potentino’s wines are representative of the delicate relationship between nature and the human, earth and the climate; a symbiosis based on observation and respect, sensibility and discipline. Due to our unique micro-climate and mixed volcanic soil we are able to grow 3 of the most site sensitive varieties together in one small vineyard – Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Alicante.”
These are handcrafted, elegant wines that possess a 'sense of place' reflecting the valley’s volcanic soils, maritime & alpine climatic influences, and the diverse agricultural heritage that defines this remarkable locale.
It is now possible to stay at Potentino, and participate in an ongoing program of events which celebrate local traditions in wine, food, art and literature.
To view the Modern Times Review interview with Charlotte Horton on taste, ecology, democracy and anarchy, click here