2016 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino
Yep, I got Brunello on the brain – spring is here and along with it comes the joyous return of so many green vegetables – ramps, fiddlehead ferns, fava beans, asparagus, artichokes – you name a green veggie and spring’s got it. And then there’s the protein side of the plate – suckling lamb roasted with sage and rosemary, olive oil-poached halibut, lightly broiled orange and fennel-cured salmon.
And what to pair with all this bounty? Brunello, of course.
Brunello’s dark cherry fruit intermixed with the perfect dryness of long aging in oak barrels gives it a hint of bergamot, roses and chocolate. Its integrated, muscular tannins let you know you’re drinking something serious and elegant, yet gutsy and powerful. And don’t get me started on the finish: long and lingering, cleansing the palate and making you want to take another bite (and sip). Yes, for spring’s gorgeous bounty, Brunello is just perfect.
But lo! When I went down into my cellar I there was no Brunello to be found. Some clever Mazzamuriello must have snuck in and appropriated all the Brunello. What was I to do? – Reach instead for Rosso di Montalcino, but only the finest – Il Poggione.
Rosso di Montalcino means a red from the town of Montalcinoand its environs. Brunello is the main wine of the area, the big brother to Rosso. Is Rosso a downgrade to my Italian spring feast? Not with Il Poggione.
In fact, Il Poggione was one of the first wineries in Montalcino to t produce Brunello. The entire estate is entirely within the Montalcino region, and both their Rosso and Brunello wines are 100% Sangiovese Grosso, the grape of Brunello. Their Rosso could actually be labeled Brunello but for two tiny reasons. First, the Italian government won’t allow it. Second, Il Poggione wants something for us to drink now – a wine that doesn’t need five years of age before even beginning to show forth. Hence, this pitch-perfect Rosso:
The nose opens with an alluring aroma of kirsch, dried flowers, hints of orange zest and a wiff of Granddad’s wood shop. It is equal parts fruit and savory, and 100% engaging. The palate follows suit: The tannins are present yet integrated, giving focus to a delivery of berries, tobacco and spice, all with velvety smoothness. It’s perfect to drink now, but no rush – this Rosso will last for at least seven more years in your cellar. This wine is a brilliant way to take advantage of spring’s delights and share them with the people you love.
Yes, I’ve got Brunello on the brain, but far better to have Rosso on the palate. Saulti!
#46 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2017
“Bright, delicate and vibrant, with berry and floral flavors. Accents of earth, tobacco and spice add interest as they linger on the finish. Well-rounded and long. Drink now through 2023.” – Wine Spectator
“A go-to Rosso di Montalcino with dried cherry and orange peel character. Medium body, light tannins and a tangy finish. Shows focus and precision. Drink now and enjoy.” – James Suckling
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