Il Poggione

~ The cellar at Il Poggione includes many different sized barrels ~

Tenuta Il Poggione is an iconic Brunello estate.   Situated approximately 8 miles south of Montalcino, near the tiny hamlet of Sant’Angelo in Colle, the estate has been under the watchful direction of the Franceschi family since 1964.

The original winemaker for Il Poggione was none other than Piero Talenti.  Upon his leaving to create his own estate, Fabrizio Bindocci became winemaker. Fabrizio’s tutelage continues to this day. However,  since 2005, the winemaking duties have been assumed by  his son, Alessandro Bindocci.

The property covers a total of 530 hectares of which 140 are planted with vineyards. It is one of the largest estates in Montalcino.  Il Poggione’s vineyards benefit from a wide range of elevations. The lowest lying vineyards are 500 feet above sea level while the highest apex is close to 1,500 feet. As a result, winemaker Alessandro Bindocci enjoys great flexibility in both ripening times and harvesting windows that few producers possess.  In this era of warmer and warmer Summers, this ability to blend from across the zone is critical to maintain freshness in the wines.

Il Poggione

~ Sant’Angelo in Colle has a grand population of about 40. Yet this quiet hilltop hamlet is home to two amazing restaurants and the Il Poggione Offices ~

I last wrote about Il Poggione when reviewing their amazing 2019 Rosso di Montalcino and their 2012 Brunello Riserva.  Today, I’m updating my tastings on the estate’s new releases. But there is also a special bonus!

Joining me today is Alessandro Bindocci, the long time winemaker for Il Poggione.  I’ve done many Winemaker Interviews over the years.  But when I conceived of this feature article, I wanted to put the interview in the hands of my readers.  With that in mind, I solicited questions via my Social Media channels and as a result of that casting,  this interview is yours.  You created the questions.

Il Poggione

~ Trattoria il Pozzo, Sant’Angelo in Colle ~

Tastings of New Releases

So, let’s get on to the tastings.   We’re starting with the most recent Rosso di Montalcino to be released.

2021 Rosso di Montalcino: This is a shimmering ruby with bright, vivid violet highlights. Fresh floral nose with crushed cherry in the forefront is amazing. There’s a whiff of dusty minerality too. Medium bodied with steely minerality and iron rising above the fruit. It’s definitely better with the guanciale risotto but it’s not for a stand-alone sip. Very nice, but for me, a tick down from the 2019.   88 points. Find this wine and Support Tuscan Vines.

Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino

~ Another charming Rosso – it will be interesting to see which vintage emerges as the best from the 20-22 string ~

I have to admit, other than ideal settings….and by that I mean, on a patio overlooking a vineyard in Tuscany,  I don’t drink a lot of Rose.  This wine could change that.

2022 Brancato Rosato: 100% Sangiovese. Bright salmon in color. Flinty mineral notes mark the strawberry, watermelon and melon aromas that are persistent. Flavors echo the nose with a slight hint of bitterness that adds intrigue and does not detract. With aged pecorino & basil dipping oil, this is gorgeous. Just gorgeous.  90 points.  (This vintage not yet releasedFind this wine.

~ One of the best Rosato that I have ever had ~

Everyone loves a value right? Let’s face it, it’s a weeknight, suddenly you feel like having wine, but there’s no time to decant a Brunello or maybe the fare doesn’t warrant it.  What to do?  This is the answer.

2021 Toscana Rosso: This is a medium to dark ruby color with bright violet highlights. Freshness is the key here. Bright berries and flowers on the nose continue on the palate with hints of black fruit and soft toasted spices. Persistent throughout.  Juicy and lively with a hint of fennel and plum on the finish.  What more can you want or expect for $13?  87 points and really a wonderful value.  The 2021 is 50%  Sangiovese, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet.   Find this wine & Support Tuscan Vines

Il Poggione

~ This little gem is fresh and lively and really surprised me with its personality and intensity of flavors ~

You may be thinking, what about the 2018 Brunello?  I’ve pulled that from this article to include it with my Annual Coverage on the vintage. Speaking of which, you can see the 2017 Il Poggione Brunello here.  But, we will not leave without a mention of Brunello.

2015 Brunello Riserva Vigna Paganelli : Not decanted. Deep ruby with that classic copper rim at the edge of the bowl.  Exotic baking spices add to the cherry and leather aromas on the nose. Smooth on the palate with loads of ripe cherry, crunchy acidity, savory herbs and fennel. Mouthwatering. Persistent. Very well balanced.  Not nearly as tannic as one might think. Dusty tannins arrive on the back end and accent a long, fruit driven finish. Classic Riserva.  Single vineyard and generally one of the best Riserva made.  95 points.  Find this wine.

~ Paganelli is an excellent vineyard and when this Riserva is produced, it warrants attention and consideration ~

Knowing Alessandro as I do, it’s amazing I’ve never sat down with him for an extended interview.  We’ve talked in Montalcino before and chatted the many times we’ve seen each other at Benvenuto Brunello, but until now, never done a deep dive.

Intervista with Alessandro Bindocci

Ciao Alessandro, it’s great to be with and thank you in advance for fielding these questions.  Before we dive into the questions, allow me to give my readers a bit of background on you.

Alessandro is the second generation of the Bindocci family to follow in the footsteps of legendary winemaker Piero Talenti, mentor to Alessandro’s father Fabrizio and one of the founding fathers of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation.  Alessandro completed his advanced degree in enology at the University of Pisa in 2005 and then returned to Montalcino to work side-by-side with his father, bringing with him twenty-first century technology and style to Il Poggione.  He continues to reside in the quiet hamlet of Sant’Angelo in Colle.   Welcome Alessandro!

AB – Grazie Giovanni, it’s a pleasure to be here with you and your readers.

TV – As you know, I fielded these questions from readers of mine and followers on Twitter.  Some are more basic, some come from people in the industry.  They appear below in no particular order.  OK, andiamo!

1) I am interested to know to what extent you are implementing organic and biodynamic cultivation at Il Poggione?  Do you think the winery is doing more or less compared to others in the Brunello region?

AB – Il Poggione has started its path towards certified organic farming in 2022; the vintage 2025 will be the first organic certified vintage. We have been working for many years using products in the vineyards that were suitable for organic farming, even if we were not certified; at the same time, in recent years, we have started to use by-products of the wine-making and olive oil making as natural fertilizers. All of this, together with the diversified farming, use of alternative energy sources (solar panels) and the luck of being in a suitable location – protected from the elements by the Monte Amiata and relatively not too far from the sea – allow us to be extremely sustainable. As far as other producers, more and more are working sustainably or organically; everyone with their choices and peculiarities that come from the climate, soil types, age of the vines, etc.

2) Which is more difficult, making wine or selling wine?

AB – Both jobs have their challenges and their beautiful aspects, and in both jobs I have the support of the experience and the history of Il Poggione and its team. I was officially hired by the winery in 2006 after finishing my degree in Viticulture and Enology; for the wine-making aspect a degree helps, but at the same time it is vital to benefit from the experience and the expertise of those who have been working here way before me (my father to start with, but also many of our workers, who perfectly know the vineyards and their peculiarities). At the same time new techniques, technologies, studies etc. come up all the time, so it is very important to study and be up-to-date.

Regarding selling the wine, I have known most of our clients from before I started working at Il Poggione, so the relationship with them was already in place; sometimes we have to look for new opportunities in different countries, so also here it is very important to study a lot and be updated on the laws and regulations of the countries and markets where we sell our wines. 

3)  What is the contact time you strive for at fermentation—short or long?   What time in the morning do you stop picking grapes in order to get cooler temperature grapes?

AB – We look for at least 20-25 days of skin contact, and it lasts for the whole length of the fermentation, as we use the “submerged-cap” technique for all the red wines that we produce. At the harvest time, we typically work 8:00-13:00 / 14:00 – 17:00. We have 75 workers for our manual harvest, and the vineyards are all relatively close to the winery (maximum 10 minutes away); so, since we harvest all the grapes in crates, it is impossible for the grapes to crush en-route, and start the fermentation. Also, there is no need to do night harvest or early morning after, as currently the temperatures are milder than, for instance, southern Italy in mid-late September. If the weather conditions will get warmer and drier, we might consider starting earlier in the morning.

4)  Do you go by the feeling, the weather, or taste/brix measurement to decide on harvesting time? (Or a combination of that and some other measure like..the birds flying south/north)?

AB – To decide harvesting time we taste the grapes, assess the skins and taste look at the seeds, and of course we check the sugar and acidity level, vineyard by vineyard.  We use special tools to accomplish this.

5) How are you addressing climate change?  What specific methods are you using in the vineyards that maybe would not have been thought about even 10 years ago?

AB – For years we have been working the soil a lot, so its structure would retain the water. Furthermore in the last thirty years we have planted a number of vineyards at higher elevation. Also, we plant crops in between vine rows; this is useful not only for the machinery to access the vineyards and for those plants’ nitrogen-fixation properties, but also to provide moisture to the soil.

In recent times, more and more studies have been made regarding canopy-management and of course in this case our 100+ year-long experience and the location of each vineyards help us to decide how much coverage to leave for the grape bunches.  Finally, since 2016, emergency irrigation is allowed in Montalcino; therefore we have been investing in a drip-irrigation system for a large portion of our vineyards.

Il Poggione

~ The vinification area at Il Poggione ~

6) What do you think about the debate regarding sub-zones within the DOCG? I’m increasingly looking for fresher Brunello or Rosso from higher altitude sites.  Could sub-zoning help with fresher Brunello/Rosso wines in this sense, or is blending between sites throughout the zone preferable?

AB – I believe that sub-zoning would bring confusion to the Brunello consumers. 

TV – (You and me both Alessandro, along with many other winemakers I’ve discussed this with…. )

AB – Wine appellations are already quite confusing to many, and adding even more information on the label would not make our wines friendly to the Brunello lovers. Furthermore, Montalcino is a fairly small appellation, with many different soils even within the same winery or vineyards. At the moment some producers prefer to have “single vineyards” indications, where they prefer to highlight the vineyard.

7) Do you see local politics interfering with any plan to sub-zone further? 

 AB – I do not.

8) Are your wines available to order direct to consumer?  I would love to find your Rosato! 

AB – Il Poggione wines can be found on, where you can also use a retail finder if the wines can’t be shipped directly to your state.

9)  The wine business should have been at the front of the climate change train for decades now.  It is way, way behind & climate change is very clearly going to upend grape growing & wine making across the globe on an unprecedented scale. Is this being discussed in Montalcino?  Is the Consorzio considering actions for the entire DOCG to undertake?

AB – As mentioned above, the Brunello consortium has authorized emergency irrigation since 2016.

10)  There is a new Brunello property with the name La Cassacia Franceschi that appears to be the same owner as Il Poggione.  Can you elaborate how the two properties are related if at all?

AB – La Casaccia di Franceschi is a new winery owned by the children of Leopoldo Franceschi (owner of Il Poggione), Flavia and Federico.  So the family is the only link between Il Poggione and La Casaccia di Franceschi

Il Poggione

~ There is a long history at Il Poggione ~

Finally, I contributed the last question….

11) As the 2018 vintage prepares to release in full, can you tell us what you think of the vintage on the whole – in terms of where it stands with recent vintages – and how you think the vintage was for Il Poggione in particular?  Also, of the 2020 and 2021 vintages, which is shaping up to be better?  (I’ve had some very nice 2021 Rosso di Montalcino).

AB –  With regards to the 2018 vintage, I think it is one of the classic vintages of Brunello. After a few relatively warmer vintages in the last decade, 2018 is finally a vintage that shows freshness and finesse, high acidity and elegance. I believe that, even though it is very good now, it has many years ahead, thanks to the very good total acidity.

Regarding 2020 and 2021, it is hard to say which one will be better, because what is “better”?  They both have their peculiarities; 2020 is already shaping up to be a great Brunello vintage. The same with 2021, for which as you mentioned there are many Rosso di Montalcino that are really nice; however it is still too early to say as the wine has been aging for just one and a half year.

TV – Alessandro, thank you again for this interesting and insightful interview.  As we’ve discussed, I hope that our schedules align in 2024 because I look forward to bringing a group to visit you during the Rustic Tuscany Tour 2024.

AB – Grazie a te Giovanni – if it works, I’ll be waiting for you!


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