Sandro Chia + Castello Romitorio

Sandro Chia was born in Florence in 1946 and was one of the main representatives of the postmodern Italian Transavantgarde. This developed in Italy in the second half of the 1970s and was regarded as a sensual countercurrent to the brittle intellectualisation of art at the time. In the 1980s and 1990s, he maintained a studio in New York, where he experienced his most successful period as an artist. But he was drawn back to his homeland, where he has lived with his family in Castello Romitorio near Siena since 1999, and where he can combine his two greatest passions: Wine and art.

Only 3 km from the town of Montalcino as the crow flies, Castello Romitorio has had an eventful history. It was once a prison for deserted Christian soldiers in Roman times, then a temple, fortress, monastery, castle, manor house and finally a shelter for shepherds and their flocks. In 1984, the ruins and fallow vineyards were acquired by the contemporary Italian-American artist Sandro Chia (his trans-avant-garde works made it to the Guggenheim Museum in New York). The Castello was subsequently restored and the first vines were planted in the second half of the 1980s. Sandro Chia mainly used the famous and high-quality Sangiovese clones from Biondi-Santi (BBS 11) and Il Poggione.

All of Castello Romitorio's Brunello vineyards are located in the northwest of the appellation at altitudes of 250-450 metres above sea level, which gives Romitorio's wines their typical freshness. The soils here consist of the region's typical galestro (slate rock), clay and limestone. The surrounding forests and rivers also provide cooling influences in the vineyards. In 2005, the wine cellar was completed in its current form and Sandro Chia's son Filippo (a film-maker by training) followed his father's call. In the meantime, the enterprising and charming Filippo successfully leads the fortunes of Castello Romitorio. The grapes for Romitorio's top wines are strictly selected on the sorting table after the manual harvest. The subsequent maturation takes place partly in French barriques and partly in large wooden barrels. Incidentally, all of Castello Romitorio's labels feature artwork by Sandro Chia.