Since the arrival of Georgia P three weeks ago today, we’ve been cooking at home every night (no takeout a casa Parzen except for Christmas day, when we just had to have Chinese and Woody Allen) and drinking “everyday” wines that we love — entry-tier Santorini by Sigalas, Verdicchio by Bucci, Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo, all ideal because they’ll last for a few days once opened).
Meals have been simple and wine hasn’t been a focus at our house lately but I did open a special bottle of wine for Alfonso when he and his SO Kim came to meet their putative granddaughter for the first time.
Together with Brunelli, Poggio di Sotto is one of the “younger” estates that has really carved out a name for itself as an indisputable icon of the appellation. And the bottle that we shared that night — from a good to great vintage, depending on the producer — was a true benchmark for Sangiovese: brilliant nervy acidity, technicolor fruit balanced by layered minerality, and a focus and precision that is uncommon among the sea of Brunello bottlers who came late to the game.
The wine isn’t cheap but it’s one of those wines that I wish every young wine professional in our country could taste: it is the apotheosis of what Sangiovese can and should be (as Alfonso pointed out in his excellent post yesterday). And perhaps more significantly, it’s an expression of what the variety can attain when it’s grown in the best sites and with the proper care.
The Poggio di Sotto farm lies in the southern subzone of the appellation, in the village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. In the photo above, I’m looking south-southeast toward Mt. Amiata from the village. The Poggio di Sotto farm is about a three-minute drive east, with some of the highest south-and southeast-facing vineyards in the appellation (I’ve actually never visited the farm but I’ve driven by it a thousand times).
Poggio di Sotto was recently sold to pharmaceutical giant, northerner Claudio Tipa, whose Tuscan empire continues to grow. But from what I’ve seen with his other acquisitions of legacy wineries (like Grattamacco), Tipa seems to be committed to maintaining continuity. Let’s hope it’s the case: to lose these wines would be to lose an icon, a benchmark, and a piece of that “cultural patrimony” that some of us continue to hold dear…