~ Inside the Poliziano Cantina ~

“Poliziano is about experiencing life and appreciating its quality.” 

We arrived in San Gimignano in good shape after an easy, uneventful drive from Rome.  The air was packed with the smell of roses, lavender and cypress trees and the Vernaccia vines near the driveway of our villa were struggling to rebound from the damage suffered from the dreadful April frosts.   After we settled in and unpacked some necessities, it was off to meet winemaker Daniele Rosti and share a welcome taste of his Vernaccia in his giardino.  More on that later……

Daniele unfortunately had plans for dinner that evening and so we were left to our own devices.  Wanting to start the trip off in fine form, we headed to one of the best restaurants in San Gimignano, Da Pode.

~ The casual, comfortable interior of Ristorante da Pode ~

We were greeted warmly and escorted to a cozy table against the stone walls of the restaurant.  Farm implements and historical old wine bottles adorned the natural crevices of the walls.  A casual glance at the wine list was all I needed to start the trip well;  a bottle of 2011 Poliziano Asinone substantially less than US retail.   The waitress returned seconds later with wonderful glasses and a serving table, upon which rested the wine and its decanter.  After ordering our meal, there was a deep sigh and feeling of relaxation. We were home.

~ There are many reasons to go to Da Pode, but this may be the best. Pappardelle sul Cinghiale ~

It’s fairly simple really.  Cinghiale ruin vineyards and so, I’ve taken the noble cause upon myself to reduce their numbers as much as possible.  It’s difficult at times.  My vegetarian friend (Sara) sometimes chides me about “friends not food” but she never judges.  I prefer to live like a Tuscan.   Besides, it is great with Sangiovese.

~ The Poliziano winery was founded in 1961 and is run by the Carletti family. The name Asinone derives from the shape of the vineyard; which looks like a mule’s back. First produced in 1982, since then it has been a single vineyard Vino Nobile Riserva. Asinone sits at 400 meters above sea level and is approximately 14 hectares large ~

The 2011 Poliziano Asinone is spectacular.  At first, I was a bit concerned about the ripeness level of the vintage, but the wine displayed none of those characteristics.  It was decanted tableside and evolved nicely over the course of our 2 hour dinner.

In the glass the wine is a deep garnet red and in the decanter, even darker.   Aromatically, the wine is very much exuberant.  Ripe cherries, menthol, dried tobacco, fresh flowers, cured meat and fennel are all present.  I just smiled when my wife said “this smells amazing”.   On the palate the wine is powerful, aristocratic and singular.  There are few Vino Nobile that are this good.  Broad, arching flavors of crushed cherry, sweet fennel, cocoa, espresso and Tuscan earth are full bodied and long.  I’m sure it was the company. I’m sure it was the anticipation of the trip. I’m sure it was the satisfaction of relaxing.  But this wine was out of this world.   Aged 16-18 months in French barrique and then 6 months in bottle prior to release, this 100% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) will age gracefully for 10 years and is a perennial Tre Bicchieri recipient.  Do seek it out.    96 points.    Retails for about $60.

~ A benchmark in Vino Nobile ~

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