Poggio di Sotto
Lovers of fine Brunello di Montalcino will attest that Italy’s most famous wine region is flushed with historic estates that capture the essence of pure, terroir driven Sangiovese. Yet, for many, buying up Brunello is an endeavour with a disappointing hit rate. Take a difficult and particularly sensitive grape variety, coupled with a wide growing area and ill-defined sub-zones, and one could become a little disenchanted with these noble hilltops. Yet, there are few places in the world that offer as many deft, complex, complete wines that throb and thrum with such assurance. Here in Montalcino, as in many of the world’s great wine regions, the best advice is often to bank on the leading producers.
Poggio di Sotto is one of these. They were also one of the first to arrive in the now thriving subzone of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, planting vines here on south and south eastern exposures at perfect altitudes of between 200 and 400m to guarantee ideal ripening. Nowadays, Poggio di Sotto are happy traditionalists; proud of growing only organic Sangiovese, which is hand harvested and raised in classic Slavonion casks before bottling without fining or filtration after 24 months for the Rosso and 48 months for Brunello. The resultant wines have a wonderful balance of perfume, acidity and concentration.
Today we herald that - as is so often the case – re-tasting their Brunello 2009 after a few years in bottle was an absolute joy. It is evident that Poggio di Sotto produced a standout 2009, one that is layered and complex, silky, spicy and comforting. All the better too then, that it will offer pure drinking pleasure over the next ten years and provide a firm footing from which to explore the wines of this legendary estate.
Tasting it blind against many of its contemporaries last month in London, in a flight of mixed vintages, proved that this a wine more than capable of standing with the very best, a clear winner that prompted us to give it the focus that it deserves.