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
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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