Colle Santa Mustiola

Chiusi, Toscana

Fabio Cenni has dedicated his life’s work to Sangiovese, here in the cradle of Etruscan history, Siena province near Chiusi. Pliny the Elder first observed vines and winemaking in Chiusi over 2000 years ago. Once a major center in the Etruscan League, Chiusi is now an important location for historians of many civilizations. Fabio’s decades of study have preserved even more than the treasured old vines farmed by his grandfathers--when he began digging a cellar in a hillside, Fabio discovered an Etruscan site himself!


The “Poggio ai Chiari” line reflects the character of the farm, five hecatres (12 acres) of organically farmed vineyards planted on the hills. The local word for “hill” is “poggio.” “Chiari” refers to the reflection of the moon on the mirror-like surface of the lake Chiusi. The lake also tempers the climate. The wines have a markedly refined character from the sandy soils--marine Pliocene sediments together with pebbles and clay--and a marked diurnal shift. The wines are fermented with native yeasts and aged for a significant amount of time before Fabio releases them. 

Fabio began studying his grandfather’s Sangiovese vines, studying and preserving each fascinating clone, when he took over his family’s vineyard and cellar in the 1980’s. He discovered 28 distinct Sangiovese clones, including four clones represented by pre-phylloxera vines. In the 1990’s, he carefully preserved the clones he’d identified by replanting using massal selection. Supported by his long friendship with Luigi Veronelli, Sangiovese became Fabio’s abiding passion. After years of agronomical studies, Fabio has not only learned to craft Sangiovese of exceptional elegance and character, he must also be recognized as one of the experts in cultivating this quintessential Tuscan grape.