Il Poggione 2011 Brunello di Montalcino (95WA 94AG)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 086891076676
- Vintage: 2011
“Il Poggione has done a terrific job with its 2011 Brunello di Montalcino. The wine is soft, yielding and charged with a velvety and smooth texture. It is deeply redolent of dark berry, black cherry, spice, leather and tobacco. The wine’s sunny personality never feels flat or too dense. In fact, the wine offers a very tight and steely backbone that gives the wine stature and strength. This is one of my favorite Brunellos from the 2011 vintage.” (WA)
“A dark, powerful wine, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino offers notable depth and intensity. Il Poggione’s 2011 is one of the richest, most powerful wines of the year. Black cherry, plum, lavender, cloves and new leather are some of the first nuances that open up. With time in the glass, the 2011 becomes more lifted, as brighter red cherry and raspberry-infused flavors gradually release. This is a rare 2011 that demands at least a good few years in the cellar. In 2011, Il Poggione did not bottle a Riserva. All the juice went into the straight Brunello” (AG)
Tuscany is one of the first wine regions in Europe. It is also one of Italy’s top wine producing regions (after Piedmont). Despite producing many wine varieties, Tuscany is best known for: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, and Carmignano.
Chianti Classico is also the region where most Super Tuscans are produced. SuperTuscans are the untraditional Italian wines that use Cabernet Sauvignon as a blend. The IGT classification was created to recognize their quality.
Italy is the home to many grape varietals including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Corvina, Garganega, and Trebbiano. Italian wines are distinctive in that their reds carry a salivating sweet-sour or even bitter taste. Their whites are bone-dry and neutral.
Being the most diverse wine producing country, Italy has thousands of wine varieties and over 300 DOGs. We will focus on the three key regions: Piedmont in the northwest, Veneto in the northeast, and central Tuscany. We will also take a quick look at Southern Italy. Just like Southern France, it is a region with potential.
Italian Wine Regions:
- Piedmont – Nebbiolo
- Tre Venezie (Veneto) – Many including Garganega, Trebbiano & Corvina
- Tuscany – Sangiovese
- Southern – Many regional grapes
Italy’s quality designation system is similar to France’s. It classifies wine into 4 levels of quality:
- Vino da Tavola: Literally means “table wine”. This is the lowest quality category. Minimal (or no) regulation is imposed on this category. For example, vintage date is not required. Also, there can be no association to region.
- Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT): Like the French’s Vin de Pays — takes the characters of a specific region. This category was created to include quality wine produced in a DOC region but does not comply with its criteria. For example, SuperTuscans (Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon) would fall under this category.
- Denominazione D’Origine Controllata (DOC): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, aging requirement, and vinification methods.
- Denominazione D’Origine Controllata E Garantita (DOCG): A category for the most prestigious subregions in the DOC. Distinctive style, appellation reputation, and commercial success are the additional criteria.
Italian classification system has gone through rounds of improvement. Compared to France where one-third of the wine produced falls into the AOC category, only 14% of Italian wine is qualified DOC/DOCG. There are 300 DOCs and ~32 DOCGs. The majority (over 75%) of Italian wine falls in the vino da tavola category.
Useful Wine Label Knowledge
There are different ways to name an Italian bottle. Good to know when reading Italian wine labels:
- DOC and DOCG wines can be named in two ways:
- By appellation; for example Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino.
- By varietal (or color for blends) plus the region of origin. For example, “Nebbiolo d’Alba” is the label name for a wine made from the Nebbiolo grape in the Alba region. Likewise “Rossi di Montalcino” is a red wine made from blended grapes in Montalcino.
- A wine label with minimal information (just a brand name and color) hints that it is a basic table wine.
- Classico indicates a more prestigious region for the grape. Valpolicella Classico, for instance, is the region known for superior Valpolicella.
- Riserva and Superiore do not assure quality. Riserva implies additional aging and superiore means higher alcohol level. Given that Italy has 300 DOCs, these words are informative but definitely not indicative on the quality of wine.
This ancient native Tuscan vine was probably first cultivated very early from the wild “vitis silvestris” by the Etruscans, and is one of Italy’s oldest red varieties. The name, from Latin “sanguis Jovis,” means “blood of Jupiter.”
Now widely disseminated throughout the country, it is Italy’s most prevalent red vine, and beyond its primary concentration in Tuscany is also extensively planted in Emilia-Romanga and Umbria. Genetically highly unstable, it is thought to have split in the early 1800s into two subvarieties, the superior Sangiovese Grosso and the Sangiovese Piccolo, and then into many clonal variations, some of which append a place name to Sangiovese.
Sangiovese is a moderatly warm-climate vine which is neither highly vigorous nor very productive. It ripens late and requires abundant sunlight, ideally planted on well-drained, south and southwest facing slopes. While fairly resistant, Sangiovese fares best in a dry climate and is especially vulnerable to harvest rain. Clay soil can yield good examples, but the finest come from vines planted in a crumbly shale called “galestro” and in a limestone clay called “alberese.” The fruit is low in color and extract, high in acid and tannin, only moderate in sugar and alcohol, and earthy rather than fruity.
Chianti and Chianti Classico absorb the lion’s share of Sangiovese, dominating a blend which may include a little Caniolo, Trebbiano and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an important component in other D.O.C.G. and D.O.C. wines such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano, Torgiano, Montefalco Rosso, Pomino and Rosso Piceno, as well as in numerous I.G.T. super Tuscan wines, sometimes with Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Only in the D.O.C.G. of Brunello di Montalcino is Sangiovese unblended as the specific clone of the variety called Brunello.
The wine’s character varies widely depending on zone of production, but classic Sangiovese offers bone-dry, earthy, tannic wines of medium body, high acidity and bitter cherry fruit offset by notes of herbs, mushrooms and barnyard which evolve to a velvety leatheriness. It takes well to oak contact, which adds notes of vanilla and tobacco. Also grown in Argentina, Romania, Corsica, California, Australia and Chile.