Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold? Rumours from Montalcino

Rumours from the hills of Montalcino today is Colle Massari is acquiring Piero Palmucci’s Poggio di Sotto. An elderly gentleman with no offspring interested in taking over the vineyard, it could soon be in the hands of Claudio Tipa, winemakers from Maremma, part of the family who are also patrons of Alinghi team in the America’s Cup.

The tiny 8ha of vineyard (12 ha in total) produce some of the most mystical and benchmark expressions of Brunello in Montalcino. To say this a favourite wine of mine is an understatement. Not only is the flavour burned in my memory as perfect expression of Sangiovese in Montalcino, and I use it as a complete reference point, but it was also one of the wines I sold in London as a wine merchant where I developed some beyond-average customer relationships; sourcing it from Montalcino, and waiting patiently for it from the vineyard. For years, my customers would give me a bottle out of their case (at nearly £100 a bottle, and in extremely low quantities) in appreciation. This is the wine to turn even the most serious Francophilic Burgundy wine drinker into a lover of Italian wine, and Brunello, in particular.

Is the upcoming sale a good thing? I am not sure. Even though the vineyard in Castelnuovo dell’Abate in Montalcino is a very special piece of land, it is the care and artisanship of Palmucci that shines through in the glass. Without him, will Poggio di Sotto still be Poggio di Sotto?

This wine inspires poetry, and so it is little wonder I have written about it so many times. I feel extremely privileged to have tasted nearly all the vintages back to 2001 – and still have a bottle of 2001 waiting for an extra-special occasion. Here are my notes for the 2004 Poggio di Sotto, number 1 from my Top 5 Wines of 2009 (20 January, 2010):

Even when it is woven in the palest of colours, the most expensive cashmere has an unusual depth of colour to its fibre. What is amazing about the Poggio di Sotto is its exquisite pale rose colour belies a depth of knitted-together, intense flavours. Like a favourite cashmere jumper, it may appear delicate at first but it soon tells its own story over time. I don’t think this is a social wine. Not that I mean it’s anti-social and offensive. What I mean is that it is best to drink it with only one other person. Two, maximum. I’m not being ungenerous! I’m just afraid of not giving the wine a chance to let the story in the bottle unfurl. Especially if it was downed at a dinner party of 4 to 6 people – that’s only one glass per person. This is a breathy, intimate wine with a story that feels like it is being told in whispers. Previous post: Waiting for Brunello di Montalcino 2004

I recently tasted 2005 Poggio di Sotto at the Berry Bros & Rudd Press tasting and the BB&R website features an excellent video with Palmucci interviewed by David Berry Green.

Latest news (21/7/11) – It has been confirmed by agents for Poggio di Sotto, Berry Bros & Rudd, the sale will go ahead. All 12 ha will be sold by Palmucci to Colle Massari for estimated 15 million euro.

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11 Responses to Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold? Rumours from Montalcino

  1. Juel Mahoney says:

    New post. Rumours from Tuscany – Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold http://goo.gl/muw8Z @winewomansong

  2. Juel Mahoney says:

    @ilpalazzone grazie mille, big news! posted it up http://goo.gl/muw8Z @insideiwm @dobianchi @tuscanauteur

  3. Matt Paul says:

    New post. Rumours from Tuscany – Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold http://goo.gl/muw8Z @winewomansong

  4. Juel Mahoney says:

    If you do Italian En Primeur, may be interested in rumours from Montalcino http://goo.gl/muw8Z @winewomansong

  5. RT @winewomansong: If you do Italian En Primeur, may be interested in rumours from Montalcino http://goo.gl/muw8Z @winewomansong

  6. RT Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold? Rumours from Montalcino – http://goo.gl/muw8Z @winewomansong

  7. @ilpalazzone grazie mille, big news! posted it up http://goo.gl/muw8Z @insideiwm @dobianchi @tuscanauteur

  8. My favorite, Poggio Di Sotto to be sold? Say it ain't so goo.gl/muw8Z http://fb.me/wgpRiASI

  9. Juel Mahoney says:

    RT @BanditaTuscany My favorite, Poggio Di Sotto to be sold? Say it ain't so http://fb.me/wgpRiASI

  10. James Swann says:

    Juel, good reporting.

    This makes two things come to my mind, one about the market, the other about Sangiovese.

    BBR is the agent, however, wine-searcher shows that Poggio di Sotto has something of a secondary market with traders and merchants alike offering it. The implication, of course, is a certain collectability. We can see that the current range for, say, 2005 Poggio di Sotto on the London market is £76.95 – £85.13

    Needless to say, the good thing, from the public’s point of view, about money currently chasing just 5%(!) of Bordeaux wines is that so many, many other wines see downward pressure on secondary market prices, making them good value.

    As for Sangiovese, what is remarkable is, much like Spain’s Tempranillo and indeed so many noble Italian varieties, that it is not more extended in the world or has achieved the same weight as its peers in the international varieties group, remarkable but certainly must have an explanation.

    Take Tempranillo, it is perhaps now the most extensively planted variety in Spain, more so than Garnacha. Yet, much of this is in the central and southern vineyards of where it has everything against it – a climate that is too hot, soils where the grape does not take (it needs limestone-based ground) and at yields where it looses too much acidity. As such, it cannot produce sufficient quality at the kind of workhorse level in way that say, entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay can.

    The key need to building a varietal brand – Cab Sau, Merlot, Chardonnay et al – is this ability to provide comparatively decent wines at entry level, aside from a bit of New World consistency of quality. Therein lies a major reason for why Tempranillo has not found a truly comparable place among the ‘international varieties’ despite an accessible style and a public well disposed to the grape.

    I wonder, then, if similar kinds of things are at play with respect to quality Italian grapes, which are so highly regarded, in terms of their success in other regions.

    Interesting, but nonetheless, perhaps that is no bad thing, as it provides for a unique wine style yet to be imitated elsewhere.

  11. Pingback: On Vinissima: Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino to be sold? Rumours from Montalcino | Wine Woman & Song

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