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17 Apr 2012

Grifi: The Return of a Legendary Wine

Grifi: The Return of a Legendary Wine

Between 1983-1996, Avignonesi produced Grifi, a blend of Sangiovese (60%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), and a wine that would become a classic in the category eventually known as “Supertuscans”. The original raison d’etre behind the wine was to create something special, something uniquely Tuscan, a wine that explored the innate capacity of the Sangiovese grape for welcoming other varieties into a blend. Avignonesi found that Cabernet Sauvignon was the ideal blending partner for our Sangiovese, bringing muscle and spice to the fresh, full, fruity Sangiovese. The Sangiovese came from our Montepulciano vineyards while the Cabernet Sauvignon came from our Cortona vineyards.


Although Grifi had quite a following, production was stopped in 1996. By then, another iconic Avignonesi wine had earned its place on the world wine map, Desiderio Merlot, and the former managers of Avignonesi felt that the two wines crowded each other out of the portfolio. Moreover, the world demand for Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano had increased, and no Sangiovese could be spared for the Grifi.

Today we are pleased to announce that we are going to re-introduce Grifi in its original blend, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, starting with the 2010 vintage, which will be released on the market in Spring 2013. The idea for bringing back this wine comes primarily from our customers; we constantly meet people who remember Grifi and who tell us how much they loved it. We still have some old vintages in the cellar and whenever we open a bottle for special occasions we are dazzled by it. This decision is feasible thanks to Avignonesi’s recent acquisitions of new vineyards in the Montepulciano area, which will allow us to both increase our production of Vino Nobile as well as use some of our Sangiovese for the Grifi.


The wine is sure to be stunning. When our winemaking team was preparing the blend for the 2010 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, we identified one vineyard in Montepulciano that would be perfect for the Grifi blend: Poggetto di Sopra. With its tall, guyot-trained, old vines from the ‘70s, the wine from this estate is balanced and complete, with concentration and structure coming from the clayey soil and elegance and finesse coming from the age of the vines, bringing fresh acidity, mineral elegance and refined ethereal notes to the flavour profile. We have also individuated the best vineyards for the Cabernet Sauvignon: Selva Nuova and Selva Vecchia at La Selva estate. This wine is potent, tannic, with lots of mature fruit and well-defined herbs. It complements the Sangiovese perfectly and creates what we like to define as a true “toscanaccio.” There’s no real English translation for this word, but it describes something quintessentially Tuscan, something that has both bite and depth, that’s rustic yet elegant, that is demanding while also proudly independent.  


You’ll recognize the updated label: it still portrays two griffins facing each other, symbolizing the encounter between the municipalities of Montepulciano and Cortona, both of which have a griffin on their crests. However, instead of holding up the old Avignonesi shield between them, the powerful mythic creatures now proudly bear the new Avignonesi logo.

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