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Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino 2011
Tenuta Il Poggione was founded at the end of 1800 when Lavinio Franceschi, land owner from Florence, decided to visit the area after hearing the stories from a shepherd, who brought his herds around Montalcino during the winter. He fell in love with the landscape and the people who lived in that area, and decided to buy land and establish a grape farm. More than a century later, Tenuta Il Poggione covers an area of 530 hectares (1300 acres), of which 140 hectares (336 acres) are planted with vines and 50 hectares (120 acres) with olive trees; the rest are dedicated to grain fields, forest and livestock.
The estate’s guiding principle is to pay great care to the vines, because the secret of producing great red wines lies in the high-quality vineyard work. The vineyards are at an altitude between 490 – 1475 feet above sea level: this large gap, together with the age of the vineyards, promotes easy harvest to obtain well-structured wines with long aging potential, regardless of the weather conditions. One of the most highly regarded wineries in all of Tuscany, Tenuta Il Poggione makes incredibly powerful wines for collectors and everyday drinkers alike.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the king of the best red wines in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino
Elsewhere throughout Italy, Sangiovese plays an important role in many easy-drinking, value-driven red blends and on the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed success growing in California and Washington.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with qualities of tart cherry, plum, sun dried tomato, fresh tobacco and herbs. High-quality, well-aged examples can take on tertiary notes of smoke, leather, game, potpourri and dried fruit. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine-grained tannins create a perfect symbiosis with tomato-based dishes, braised vegetables, roasted and cured meat, hard cheese and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may actually contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines as a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.