A few days ago, Giulio Gambelli passed away. He was a historical figure in Tuscan enology, with a great palate and innate ability as a taster, a talent he refined over the course of many years.
A highly capable man but at the same time a paragon of modesty who believed in the potential of Tuscan wines produced using only Sangiovese. He always said that winemakers are the ones who make the wines together with the land and the vine. He was a simple taster who gave his advice to winemakers on what to do in the cellar without forcing them to denaturalize their wines.
He made his first visit to Montalcino in the early 1970s when the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino asked him to visit all of the producers in the appellation. He drove his famous Renault 4 from winery to winery, tasted the wine from the barrel or vat, and then he would patiently and phlegmatically explain the importance of cleanliness in the cellar, precision in vinification, the importance of racking, etc. But always with the humility typical of the greats in the world of wine.
When he came to visit us at Il Poggione, we liked to have him taste from cask. After our tasting, we would head over to the Trattoria Il Pozzo where we would continue tasting wines from bottle paired with classic Tuscan dishes.
I was proud to know him and our friendship was the source of great joy. Every year, we would speak to catch up and wish each other happy holidays. But this year, season’s greetings didn’t arrive. He was in the hospital. My thoughts and wishes go out to Giulio’s family and dear ones.