A difficult vintage in Tuscany (and tasting notes for Poggione Brunello Paganelli 04)

Above: Our friends at Il Poggione in Montalcino began picking their Merlot today. I really admire their openness and earnestness in posting about weather and harvest conditions.

The “split-screen optics” at casa Parzen tend toward the dramatic these days.

On the one hand, we’re monitoring the path of hurricane Isaac, hoping it doesn’t veer west and make landfall in Orange, Texas where our family lives. And of course, we’re keeping our Louisiana sisters and brothers in our hearts and our thoughts, as well as Gulf Coast residents to the east.

On the other hand, we’re watching the weather in Italy carefully: a challenging harvest is already in full swing and weather patterns over the next few days will greatly influence the quality of the grapes that have yet to be picked.

On their blog Montalcino Report, our friends at Il Poggione in Montalcino write that much needed rain arrived Sunday. They’ve been very open about the difficulties posed by high temperatures and prolonged drought this year. And in today’s post they concede that, although the grapes are healthy, they’re seeing elevated sugar levels in the Merlot that they started picking today.

Above: It rained across Italy on Sunday, including Friuli, bringing some relief to grape growers, but probably too little too late to compensate for the prolonged drought.

Our friend Giampaolo Venica in Collio (Friuli) also tweeted about the rainfall, posting the photo above.

He’s been very frank about the less-than-ideal ripening conditions this summer on his Twitter feed.

Emergency irrigation is not allowed in Montalcino and, as Giampaolo wrote me the other day, it’s nearly impossible in Collio.

More than once, Alessandro Bindocci, son of winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci, has written on his blog that 2012 reminds them of the tragic 2003 vintage.

In other news…

Above: We opened a bottle of 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Paganelli by Il Poggione on Friday night.

Our friend Mark Sayre let us open a bottle of 04 Brunello Paganelli from our cellar at Trio in Austin the other night.

Man, what a gorgeous bottle of wine! Still very youthful and muscular, like a young bronco, rich in its mouthfeel and judicious, if not generous, with its fruit. Its “nervy” acidity served as a trapeze for the wine’s berry and red stone fruit flavors as they danced with the wonderful savory horse-sweat notes that — in my view — define true Sangiovese as expressed by Montalcino.

There’s so much Brunello di Montalcino out there these days and a lot of it is good (some of it middle-of-the-road).

Il Poggione’s — especially a top-tier bottle like this — always stands out as a pure, superlative expression of the appellation. Truly superb wine…

I’ve got a few more tasting notes to post before Tracie P, Georgia P, and I head to Italy on Saturday… stay tuned…

4 Responses to A difficult vintage in Tuscany (and tasting notes for Poggione Brunello Paganelli 04)

  1. Just tasted the 06 Il Poggione Riserva Brunello. @DoBianchi. Really delicioso! http://yfrog.com/es9sviij

  2. Janet Paganelli says:

    I understand the Paganelli vineyard was planted in 1964, the owners are named Franceschi or Francesconi. Does anyone know why the vineyard is named Paganelli? I’m curious because that’s my family name.

    • Do Bianchi says:

      Janet, believe it or not (and it’s not so hard to believe), I will be visiting the Tenuta Il Poggione and its Paganelli vineyard later this week. I’ll ask the vineyard manager! :)

      • Janet says:

        What a coincidence! The place is beautiful – will you be staying there? I look forward to more information. Please tell me EVERYTHING about everything there and send pictures if not too much trouble. Have a great time. Thanks.

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