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Hard to find, expensive and highly sought after, Avignoesi has seemingly gained the holy trinity of desirability. Their goal? To make wines which reflect the complexity and beauty of the terroir. Simple, right? Erm; yes, but no.
Saverys the savious
Avignonesi was founded in 1974 in Montepulchino in southern Tuscany. Although it had enjoyed a good reputation among its Sangiovese counterparts in the 1980s, the vineyard was slowly but steadily losing money. Thankfully, Virginie Saverys, a wealthy lawyer (and wine lover) came to the rescue and bought the estate in 2009. Saverys, a Belgian national, says “Sangiovese is Tuscany. I have fallen in love with it because of its many, particular characteristics”. Like any good love affair, this was not easy; Saverys struggled with Italian bureaucracy (“it’s a heavy dance partner”), particularly in her decision to turn the entire vineyard over to biodynamic farming. “I believe that with biodynamics we are not only able to create healthier and more interesting wines, but we are also promoting a healthier environment for the future”. So simple yet so eloquent, we think she is probably right.
The secret to Avignonesi success
Avignonesi now makes their famous Sangiovese Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano with 100% biodynamic techniques, ranking their wine in quality alongside those made in neighbouring Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino. The house makes more than 12 wines in total, including two delicious Grappas. Their vast repertoire offers some very good value for money (although at between €400-600 a bottle for the Occhio di Perniche, we would have to question the use of the word value). For special occasions, taste the Super-Tuscan Merlot, “Desiderio”, or the Sangiovese and Merlot “50&50” made in collaboration with Capannelle in Chianti. Sadly, the market performance of Avignonesi has been erratic, so if you really want to sample a glass or two, the vineyard owns two wine bars in London and one in Antwerp.