Remembering The “Great Freeze” Of 1985 And New Olive Training System

In 1985, we had the "Great Freeze" with 50 cm of snow and for us polar temperatures, arrving at -15/-20° C. The grape vines saved themselves but the olive trees, a plant more sensitive to cold, didn't fare as well and roughly the 70% of our olive tree patrimony died. It was a great loss for the estates of Montalcino but also for the rebirth of olive cultivation. In the 1950s, olive trees had been planted with low density per hectare in the when growers used to cultivate olive trees, vines, and wheat in the same parcels. Many of these were grubbed up. The new plantings, with 350/400 olive trees per hectare, took up more space because the costs were lower. Many growers replanted using the "vaso policonico" (multibranched vase-shaped) training system, which had been created by Prof. Fontanazza of the CNR (Italian National Center for Research) in Perugia and sponsored strongly by the Province of Siena. This training system was intended to favor above all mechanical harvest and to lower one of the greatest costs in production: harvest. We do not wish to comment on or criticize that which was done then. The fact is that at least here on our estate, these olive trees still produce little. Finally this year, in agreement with the owners of the estate, we have decided to renew the training system and we have passed, with drastic pruning of the trunks, from the "monocono" (cone-shaped) to the "vaso" (vase-shaped). To arrive at the results, three years must pass, where we will have to give to the plants the shape needed through pruning... Read more >

Wines of Tuscany circa 1937: Chianti

Herewith our third post in a series of translations from a 1937 catalog of the wines of Italy. You will find the previous post here including informations on the catalog itself. We hope that these informations will be useful for those who wish to understand the history of wine in Tuscany by providing these “snapshots” of the wines in the era between the two world wars. Chianti (Tuscany) An unmistakable wine, simpatico, and exquisite. With graceful aroma, genteel soft flavor, fine, fresh and often slightly sparkling, Chianti is a beverage that has been well known in Italy for more than six centuries, as Marescalchi has shown authoritatively. For more than three centuries, it has been exported beyond the borders of the Fatherland, first to England and then to all the other countries of the world. Indeed, in 1481 Landino wrote that “the valley of Chianti produces excellent wine”. In 1542, the countess Isabella Guicciardini, writing to her husband, states that this exquisite wine gives such joy that it makes you wish to stay longer in the place where it is produced: “I like it very much and I wish not to depart”. In the seventeenth century, the poet Fulvio Testi exalted it with these words: “… I will pour you the Etruscan Chianti — a peer to the ruby — dew that offers a kiss”. And then later, Redi glorified it in his immortal dithyramb. Monelli judges it to be the most lively and genteel wine of the world. And he specifies its characteristics as a “sparkling, bubbling with life, transparent and joyous vermillion, with the flavor of fresh fruit and... Read more >

Wines of Tuscany circa 1937: Brunello di Montalcino

Herewith our second post in a series of translations from a 1937 catalog of the wines of Italy. You will find the previous post here including informations on the catalog itself. We hope that these informations will be useful for those who wish to understand the history of wine in Tuscany by providing these “snapshots” of the wines in the era between the two world wars. In our cellar, we still retain some wines from this period (see the photo below). Brunello Montalcino (Tuscany) Wine of great class, reminiscent of the best Burgundy, for its delicious aroma, for its velvety texture, for its generosity, and for the perfect harmony among its components. This nectare, which is produced in Montalcino (a historic castle that was once the last outpost of the Republic of Siena), is bright, red-garnet in color, with delicate notes of violet, delicious on the palate, with a dry, tonic taste and alcohol content from 12.5-13%. It is a wine that warms and restores you and for this reason, it is suited for those who work with their brains, the elderly, and those recovering from illness. It will give the drinker a sensation of new life. It is a wine that should be drunk after at least 3 or 4 years of aging because as a young wine, it is ungraceful, sharp, and unharmonious. It fares well in prolonged aging, which refines it and perfects its velvety character, its aroma, and its smoothness on the palate. It is greatest flavor and its exquisite properties are expressed when paired with roast game, especially spit-roasted thrush with olives. It should be... Read more >

Wines of Tuscany circa 1937: Bianco Superiore dell’Elba

Happy New Year to everyone, from the family at the Tenuta Il Poggione! Last year, we have posted an entry from a 1937 catalog of wines on Brunello di Montalcino.  This year, we have decided to translate the entries for all of the eleven Tuscan wines that appear in the catalog. We hope that these informations will be useful to persons who wish to know more and study about the history of the wines of Tuscany. We have found the entries to be very interesting and we hope that you will as well. The first entry about a wine of Tuscany in the catalog is Bianco Superiore dell’Elba, a white wine from the Island of Elba. Bianco Superiore dell’Elba This wine is generally known as Procanico Elbano. It is a wine of great finesse: soft straw yellow in color, dry in flavor, fresh, very pleasant, with an alcohol content of 12-13%. It has a very delicate but relatively intense aroma. It can be compared to the best Chablis for its distinctive character, its nobility, and its incomparable quality. It should be served rather chilled, paired with appetizers and seafood. It’s also well suited for persons with weak... Read more >

The 1933 Description Of The Tenuta Il Poggione

Herewith the translation of the voice for our estate in the Vini Tipici Senesi of 1933. The photo is of Piazza Franceschi where the old winery was and now is our storage and shipping department. Fattoria Sant'Angelo in Colle Owner: Honorable Attorney Roberto Franceschi The above-mentioned estate is situated in the midway hills that surround the hamlet of Sant'Angelo in Colle. Its moderately dense soils are and almost entirely stony are in part Eocene in origin. The farm extends over a total surface area of 500 hectares and is divided into 32 parcels. The following grape varieties are grown across the estate, listed here in their order of importance beginning with the most important: Brunello, Sangioveto, Trebbiano, and Malvasia. The vines are trained either "married" to acorn trees or along dried stakes, with or without iron wire. The estate is capable of producing an average of  500 quintals of wine annually. The types of wine exhibited are garnet in color, more or less intense with hints of orange in the older samples. Their flavor is perfectly balanced, the aroma intense and delicious. They fall in the "superior" category intended for pairing with roast meats. Typically they are sold in demijohns and in flasks and more rarely in kegs or bottles. The winery is located in the village of Sant'Angelo in Colle and lies 9 kilometers from Montalcino and 9 kilometers from the railway station in Sant'Angelo Cinigiano. Smaller amounts of white wine and vin santo are also produced.... Read more >

Brunello History: Biondi Santi & Co. Cooperative Cellars

Last week, the wine bloggers who write about the Italian wine Alfonso Cevola and Jeremy Parzen have posted about the history of the Brunello di Montalcino. In both articles, they have mentioned the historic winery Biondi Santi. Herewith a translation of the description of the Cooperative Cellars Biondi-Sant & Co. in the volume "Vini Tipici Senesi" which has been published by the chair of agronmy at the Università di Siena in 1933. Cooperative Cellars Biondi-Santi & Co. The cooperative winery Biondi Santi & Co. was established in Montalcino in 1926 thanks to the praiseworthy efforts of a group of [land] owners who were wine producers. They understood the necessity and importance of promoting two of Tuscany's classic wines: Brunello and Moscadello from Montalcino. The farming companies who lead the cooperative winery are the following: Biondi-Santi, Crocchi Brothers, Padelletti, and Tamanti. Together, these farms have 1,200 hectares [planted to vine]. Thanks to the topographic position and the geological nature of its soils, the hill of Montalcino produces grapes with exquisite flavor from which delicious wines are made — wines that have been known as such for centuries. The cooperative winery is located in Montalcino, 40 kilometers from Siena. The nearest railway station is in Torrenieri (on the Siena-Grosseto line), 9 kilometers from Siena. The cooperative winery produces more than 1,000 quintals of wine annually and it places its coveted products easily and lucratively in Italy and abroad. The winery is endowed with highly modern equipment and well suited facilities. The technical director of the winery is Dr. Tancredi Biondi-Santi.  ... Read more >