Though a little scruffy in his work clothes, Flavio Andreucci is a tall and handsome Italian who was born to make wine. Known as Chicco (pronounced “kee-koh” in Italian) to his family and close friends, he is the seventh generation of his family to practice the art of making wine.
His journey to becoming a great winemaker started in his childhood. One of his earliest memories is of his older brother teaching him how to drive a tractor when he was only five years old. Much of his childhood centered around the wine cellar his family owned in Montefollonico, a village of approximately 500 people located between Montepulciano and Pienza. He watched his parents and brothers work tirelessly there and at an early age he remembers thinking “One day I will do that myself”.
From the eyes of a child, harvest time was like a festival. Even though his mother was a teacher, he was allowed to stay home from school and participate in all the harvest activities. It was a time of great excitement. Men and women from the village were hired to harvest and crush the grapes. When all of the juice was resting in the vats, the celebration would begin. One of Flavio’s favorite parts was the sharing of stories as had been done from generation to generation. These stories told of the traditions of growing, harvesting and crushing grapes. It was here that Flavio began to learn the Andreucci family’s secrets of making great wine.
After secondary school Flavio attended the University of Siena and received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. These studies added to his insights regarding the importance of soils, the topography of the land, the location of the land, even the wind, the sun exposure, how the rain runs off the land and how all these factors influence wine production and quality.
In 1998 his father asked him to assume responsibility for the family business. A few years later he bought the business from his father. Flavio was now ready to put into practice everything he had learned about the traditional way to make great wines along with modern techniques that would further enhance the overall quality of the wines.
The Andreucci family has been making wine in Tuscany since 1794. They have over the centuries developed good relationships with other vintners in the area. Flavio continues this tradition with many of the area vintners today, some of whom are the best Brunello producers, to discuss new ideas and trade insights on up and coming techniques for improving the quality of wines.
Flavio is a perfectionist when it comes to wine making. And that is a good thing for those of us who love an exceptional wine because in order to make high quality wines there are thousands of “little things” that need to be done and to make decisions about. These are things the average layman never sees. Like when to prune, when to fertilize, when to harvest, which grapes grow best on a particular part of the vineyard, how to achieve consistent quality along a row of grapes which may have an elevation change of 20 to 40 feet, when to replace “exhausted” vines with new vines, the best construction standards of an underground cellar, which wines should be aged in wooden barrels versus stainless steel tanks and for how long. These are just a few examples of the many decisions that go into making good wines. Flavio is constantly looking at all the many aspects that go into making his wines better and works tirelessly to make sure they are done perfectly.
And finally, whether Flavio was born with a great palate and nose or whether it is something he has developed over his lifetime is kind of like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. Either way he possesses an extraordinary ability. He can taste a wine and not only tell you what kind of wine it is but where it was produced. His nose picks up smells and scents that is way beyond the capability of most people. These talents are especially important when he is determining the right combinations of wines for his Super Tuscan offerings.
And you thought producing wine was simple. Just plant some vines, harvest the grapes, ferment the juice, then bottle and sell. Well, some people do this with mediocre results. Flavio Andreucci is not one of them.