Naturally, some of my Top 100 producers of Italian wine will include a few estates in Montalcino. The first Brunello producer that I’m writing about is my favorite, Il Poggione.
The origins of Il Poggione date back to the late 1800s, but as a producer of Brunello di Montalcino, the recent history begins in the 1950s. The estate is owned by Leopoldo and Livia Franceschi and is located below the beautiful hilltop town of Sant’Angelo in Colle, one of the finest zones for Brunello di Montalcino.
What makes Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino so special can be summarized by two factors: superb vineyards and outstanding winemaking. Fabrizio Bindocci, a thoughtful, gracious man, makes Brunello today as he always has – in the traditional method. He ages his Brunello di Montalcino in grandi botti, the large casks that ensure the natural flavors of the Sangiovese grapes are preserved along with the characteristics of the Sant’Angelo terroir. A regular bottling of Brunello di Montalcino is produced each year and in the finest vintages, a Riserva bottling is also made (this wine receives at least one extra year of aging in wood).
A few years ago, Bindocci decided to use the casks of a different cooper than what he had used in the past, so today the grandi botti used at Il Poggione is French instead of Slavonian oak, but that is one of the few changes made in the cellars of Il Poggione over the past decade. The wines are as complex, elegant and as ageworthy as ever, offering beautiful red cherry and currant fruit with notes of cedar and precise acidity. I recently tasted the 1970 and 1975 bottlings, both of which were in superb condition (especially the 1975); both should be drinking well for another decade.
There has been an explosion of new producers of Brunello di Montalcino over the past several years; today there are over 140 estates in this small zone as opposed to a few dozen in the mid-1960s. Yet despite all the new vintners and new winemaking and grape growing techniques, there are few more classic examples of Brunello di Montalcino that that of Il Poggione.
The best wines of Il Poggione include:
- Brunello di Montalcino
- Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
- Rosso di Montalcino
- Mazzoni (IGT)
- Vin Santo
- Moscadello di Montalcino
This last wine is truly special, as this is a slightly sparkling, slightly sweet Moscadello made like a Moscato d’Asti. Il Poggione is the only producer to make Moscadello di Montalcino in ths manner. It’s absolutely delicious on its own or with some fresh fruit.