Thank you Mister Belfrage for your good words about Il Poggione and compliments for your excellent new book "The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy". We are very proud to be part of your work and we are glad that you have understood our philosophy and history of winemaking at Il Poggione and in Sant'Angelo in Colle.
"You can buy a bottle of Il Poggione Brunello safe in the
knowledge that you are getting the real thing at a reasonable price from
genuine, modest people who know their business".
Herewith that which has been written about Il Poggione by Mister Belfrage in his excellent book:
Il Poggione is your archetypal Brunello. When others all
around seem to be overoaking or underachieving, overpricing or underproducing,
illicitly irrigating here and spraying too much there, artificially
concentrating her or adding Merlot there, you can buy a bottle of Il Poggione
Brunello safe in the knowledge that you are getting the real thing at a
reasonable price from genuine, modest people who know their business. To call
it archetypal, mind you, is not to suggest it is middle-of-the-road. Rather, it
is the sort of wine you put in a blind tasting when you really want your audience
to recognize what it is. It is the benchmark: You maybe be able to find better,
but you will not find anything more authentic.
One of the five largest estates in this boomtown wine zone,
which has grown from a handful of producers to several hundred in less than a
handful of decades, Il Poggione is one of the few that can claim a history. The
property has been in the ownership of the Franceschi family for five
generations—it used to be much larger but was split between two Franceschi
brothers in 1958, the other part no called Col d'Orcia. But 1958 was crucial
for Il Poggione for another reason, it being the year they were joined by the
late great Pierluigi Talenti, who set the high standards for which they are
renowned and ruled supreme unti his death in 1999. Seamlessly, his place was
taken by his assistant Fabrizio Bindocci, who had been responsible since 1976,
under Talenti, for the estate's extensive vineyards and who now took over as
enolgist as well, secure in his mater's teaching that the way to make great
wine was to minimize intervention in the cellar.
Obviously, therefore, fruit quality is paramount and to that
end Il Poggione adopted certain measures that others might not agree with but
that work for them One was to adopt the traditional double-arc method of
training, which they claim gives the grape greater exposure to the sun for an
enhanced maturation. And while others may push their vine density per hectare
upward toward the 10,000 mark, Il Poggione keeps it down to 5,000—the most,
they say, one can get away with in a drought-prone zone like southern
Montalcino, where not even emergency irrigation is allowed.
As for clones, while in the past they practiced massal
selection, since 1990 they have been planting the best clones to emerge from the
various experiments on Montalcino. Two of these—R5 and R6—are of in-house
origin, being clones developed by Talenti and Bindocci from their own material
and currently offered without exclusiveity by the Rauscedo (R = Rauscedo)
nursery in northern Italy.
Back in the cellar, there have been a few changes since
Talenti's day, but nothing dramatic. The Brunello is still aged for three years
in large botti, and the Brunello Riserva for four years, but the oak today is
of French origin rather than Slavonian. And from 1997 they have adopted a
method for dealing with the wine's solids in fermentation that seems more retro
than avant-garde: submerged cap. Indeed, they may be alone in Montalcino in
still using this traditional system.