Notes from the 2003 vintage in Montalcino

I have been pouring our 2003 Vigna Paganelli single-vineyard Riserva Brunello at the Benvenuto Brunello events in San Francisco. As everyone knows, 2003 was a remarkably warm vintage and it was difficult to make good wine that year. At Il Poggione we are fortunate because our vineyards lie in the highest part of the appellation, at 400+ meters a.s.l. We are also lucky because our top vineyard, Paganelli, was planted in 1964. The roots of the “old vines” are deep enough that they reach the water table even when water is scarce. This is very important because irrigation is not allowed in the Brunello di Montalcino appellation.

Here are my tasting notes for the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2003 Vigna Paganelli. The wine is already drinking very well and it has been great to see its reception at the Brunello events in San Francisco and here in New York (where I am staying right now).

Our Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is made only in the best
vintages with 100% Sangiovese harvested from our oldest vineyard, Paganelli,
planted in 1964. This particular vineyard produces only a small quantity of
very high quality Sangiovese. The Riserva is aged for 48 months in large oak
barrels. 2003 was a very hot year but, thanks to the heavy green harvest, and
two actual harvests (the first one to get rid of the over-ripened grapes and
the second one to get the good ones), we were able to achieve a great balance
between alcohol and acidity in this wine. Intense ruby red in color, the
riserva shows fantastic flavors of red fruits, leather, tobacco and spices. In
the mouth, the acidity is surprisingly balanced considering the year and the
pleasant tannins caress the taster’s mouth. The extremely long persistence is a
joy on the palate. Only 35,000 bottles of the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Vigna Paganelli were made and will be released in April.

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