Poggio San Polo – Brunello di Montalcino Vignavecchia 2018.
About 70 kilometres South of the Tuscan city of Siena lays the small hilltop village of Montalcino. This photogenic medieval town is known for its world-famous wine: Brunello di Montalcino. In this review we discuss a single vineyard wine of the upcoming, high-quality, producer Poggio San Polo, their Brunello di Montalcino Vignavecchia 2018.
About the Region
Although the historical roots of Brunello di Montalcino must be found in the 19th century, the star of Brunello di Montalcino really started rising since the purchase of Poggio alle Mura and rebranding of it to Castello Banfi by the American Mariani brothers in the 1980’s. The interest of the American market exponentially intensified the demand for Brunello di Montalcino. Nowadays Montalcino has about 200 producers, together cultivating about 3500 hectares of vineyards, of which about 2100 hectares are intended for Brunello di Montalcino. Given the number of producers, the variety of styles is infinite, especially taking in consideration the wide variations in soil types, microclimates and altitudes.
According to the production rules of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Sangiovese – locally named Brunello – is the only allowed grape for both Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino. Rosso di Montalcino sometimes is called the little brother of Brunello. Although that saying needs to be nuanced, the comparison is understandable. Rosso di Montalcino often is made from younger Sangiovese vines. Rosso di Montalcino requires a minimum alcohol level of 12% ABV, where as Brunello di Montalcino must be at least 12,5% ABV. Rosso may be released from the first of September of the year following the harvest. Brunello however needs a minimum of 2 years of barrel aging, followed by at least 2 months of bottle aging. In general Rosso di Montalcino often is made to be drunk in it youth with a mainly primary fruit driven profile, where as Brunello di Montalcino needs time to fully develop its full potential. Rosso di Montalcino is classified as Denominazione di Origine Controlata (DOC), were as Brunello di Montalcino was the first red wine to obtain the highest Italian quality label Denominazione di Origine Controlata et Garantita (DOCG).
About the Winery
Build completely underground and fitted in the surrounding landscape, it would be easy to overlook the eco-friendly winery of Poggio San Polo. In terms of wine however San Polo is not to be missed. In 2007 Marilisa Allegrini – daughter of Valpolicella icon Giovanni Allegrini – took a share in San Polo and since 2015 the winery is wholly owned by Marilisa, Carlotta and Caterina Mastella Allegrini. In record time these power women lifted Poggio San Polo to great hights. ‘Great hights’ can be taken literally, considering Poggio means ‘hill’ in Italian and the vineyards of Poggio San Polo are located on top of a south east facing hillside, with altitudes ranging between 420 to 450 meters a.s.l. To set the scene: the vineyards of Montalcino are ranging from 120 to 650 metres a.s.l. Higher altitudes goes along with larger differences between day and night temperatures, stimulating naturally freshness and aroma preservation. In advance of our conclusion we state that all of the wines we tasted were conspicuously feminine and elegant. San Polo owns 22 hectares of land, of which 16 hectares are planted with vines. 8 hectares are dedicated to the Brunello di Montalcino, 3 to Rosso di Montalcino and 5 to Toscana IGT. Apart from the differences in soil composition, in general the poor soils of Poggio San Polo are rich in galestro or schist with quantities of silt and clay. In 2015 – the year of the takeover – Bertani oenologist Riccardo Fratton was attracted. Since 2017 Poggio San Polo is organically certified and it carries Equalitas, BRCGS and CasaClima certifications.
About the Wine
The Brunello di Montalcino Vignavecchia 2018 is a single vineyard wine, made out of grapes coming from a 2 hectares 420 meters high west exhibited steep vineyard called Vignavecchia. The poor soils are mainly consisting of calcareous sandy limestone. Compared to the single vineyard Brunello Podernovi, the vines of the Vignavecchia are even older. The are planted between 1988 and 1990. The old vines results in a very high dry extract: 36.1 g/l. In comparison, the dry extract of the Rosso di Montalcino of Poggio San Polo (link) is 30.5 g/l, which already is quite high. The early October harvested grapes are fermented and aged for 30 months in 600 litres tonneaux. Only 3115 bottles are made; we uncorked bottle 1909.
The transparent ruby coloured wine with white rims and garnet reflections shows sumptuous perfumed fruits like concentrated black cherry, wild raspberry and fresh purple plum. Flowery aromas of black rose, violet and lavender go together with liquorice, forest floor, underwood, fern, sandal wood, fresh tobacco leaves and high-end oriental spices. The mere and civilized wine has an inky concentration with infinite subtle shades of fruit, ranging from small wild red fruit to fresh perfumed black fruits. The full bodied ripe and structured yet delicate wine shows deep earthy and umami tones of fungi, forest floor and soy. This Poggio San Polo Brunello Vignavecchia 2018 ticks all the boxes, all in such a filigree and proportionate way. The elegant long-lasting aftertaste gives impressions of sour cherry, rosemary and roasted coffee bean.
We reward this outstanding Brunello di Montalcino Vignavecchia 2018 with 96 DWA-score.
Tuscany, a Journey through Five Lenses
This review is part of our project “Tuscany, a Journey through Five Lenses”. In this project we travel through one of the most exciting parts of Italy and show its different faces interpreted through leading wineries. We do this through wine reviews, background articles and interviews.
The regions we discuss are Tuscany IGP, Chianti, Bolgheri, Montepulciano and Montalcino. Boscarelli is our guide through the Montepulciano appellation.
Other wines by Poggio San Polo in this project:
This wine is reviewed by our own Hermen Jansen.
Taste date: July 2023
Score: 96/100 DWA Score
Website: Poggio San Polo