"A wine with plenty of ripe fruit, earth and tobacco character on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a raisiny, spicy aftertaste." -Wine Spectator
The 1980 Brunello di Montalcino was the first wine in Italy to obtain the D.O.C.G. appellation (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita - controlled and guaranteed from the origin). The D.O.C.G. is the most prestigious classification of wine in Italy. As a result, only specialized and authorized vineyards can produce Brunello di Montalcino and a series of rules regarding production must be observed.
Four years of total aging are required for Brunello. For more than a century Brunello was aged three of these four years in wood, but as from the 1995 vintage this requirement was reduced to two years. Nevertheless, at Poggio Antico we continue to respect the traditional method for our classic Brunello, keeping it three years in large oak barrels.
Brunello must be produced with 100% Sangiovese grapes and a minimum of 12.5% alcohol by volume is required. Total acidity cannot be lower than five parts per thousand. At Poggio Antico the alcohol content, total acidity, and dry extract always reach optimum levels, thanks to low yields and the favorable geographical position of its vineyards.
Poggio Antico's Brunello di Montalcino is typically deep and intense ruby red in color. The bouquet is well developed and persistent, and increases in intensity with further bottle aging. It has a very clean nose, with hints of blackberry and licorice. In the mouth it is rounded and concentrated, with great vitality, yet elegant and harmonious, thanks to the particularly sweet tannins. It has a very long finish and ages gracefully under proper conditions.
Poggio Antico Winery
Paola Gloder has one of Montalcino's most elevated estates, with vineyards averaging 1476 feet above sea level, southwest of the famed medieval citadel. Both the unique location and altitude privilege the wines of Poggio Antico. The lower hillside terroir south of Montalcino is conducive to powerful and opulent Brunellos. This, combined with the estate's vineyard elevations -- which enjoy favorable overnight drops in temperature -- bring increased finesse and intense bouquet.
The young and tireless owner has been firmly at the helm of Poggio Antico almost since its inception, when her father purchased 50 clayey, calcareous acres of Brunello di Montalcino vineyards, in 1984. Paola's husband, Alberto Montefiori, joined her in this task in 1998. In their forceful hands, the estate has seen a phenomenal growth, going from 50 to the present 80 acres under vine, developing two parallel Brunello worlds – the more traditional, larger-barrel Brunello, aged longer in Slavonian oak and the modern, finesse-driven Altero, aged in tonneaux of French oak; securing a stellar position in the global market and extending and upgrading the facility to ultrahigh-tech standards.
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One of the most important wine regions in Italy, Tuscany is home to the cities of Florence and Siena, the districts of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, and the wineries of Sassicaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia. Tuscany is also home to the indigenous Italian grape variety, Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
The most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the
1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.