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Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997
As per the D.O.C.G. regulations, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva must be aged for a total of five years as opposed to four required for the regular Brunello.
The Brunello Riserva Poggio Antico is only produced in exceptional vintages. In those years the grapes from the oldest and lowest altitude vineyard are processed and aged separately. The Poggio Antico Riserva spends three and a half years in wood; the first year of aging takes place in 500-liter French tonneaux while the remaining aging is in new Slavonian oak barrels. The wine is then bottle aged for one and a half years before release to complete the mandatory five years of total aging. The result is a mature, round and complex wine.
The Riserva is an intense ruby red, with garnet hues. Its bouquet is usually evolved and austere, with hints of wild berries, leather, and roasted coffee. In the mouth it has a fully developed rich structure, and is very elegant and smooth thanks to its rich tannins. It is extremely well balanced and rounded, with a persistent silky finish.
Poggio Antico is 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, which benefit from the perfect exposure and enjoy favorable overnight drops in temperature, ideal conditions that increase finesse and intense bouquet.
Poggio Antico was founded in 1976 and consist of 50 clayey, calcareous acres of Brunello di Montalcino. 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.
In 2017 Poggio Antico changed hands and was purchased by Atlas Invest, and it is now directed by the new General Manager Federico Trost. Poggio Antico recently lead a soil survey to approach the plot-by-plot management which started with the 2018 vintage by identifying, and consequently harvesting and fermenting separately, the micro terroirs inside each vineyard. All the estate is currently under organic conversion and a renovation of the cellar and of the hospitality center are part of the new plans.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
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.