Yes, there really is a Santa Claus. But he doesn’t live at the North Pole, or in Lapland. Instead he ‘retired’ to Tuscany with Mrs Claus and decided to make profound Brunello di Montalcino. Lionel Cousin’s striking resemblance to Father Christmas is one of many reasons he almost instantly inspires affection. The former cinematographer’s love of wine brought him to Tuscany, where, under the guidance of bona fide Burgundian legend Henri Jayer, he planted the farm at Cupano from scratch, on a hill above the Ombrone river. The estate is beautifully and brilliantly situated, and Lionel’s dedication is extraordinary. In the disastrous 2002 vintage, he pruned the damaged fruit off each bunch with nail scissors, rescuing the harvest and, as a result, producing one the best wines of the year. Cupano’s style is powerful, but sensual. These are unforgettable wines that pluck the heart strings and leave the drinker with a sense of having tasted something profound.