Poggio All’Oro. A single vineyard of pristine quality. A wine, when made, that needs no further introduction beyond the utterance of its name. That level of notoriety and quality is what consumers should seek out. Where am I going with this? Well, over the years I’ve written, and discussed with dozens of people in Montalcino, about the potential for breaking up or demarcating Brunello into sub-zones. As one might expect, there are divergent views about whether this would be a good thing or not. The topic recently came up again during my dinner with Castello Banfi’s General Manager; but perhaps here today, the debate should be settled?
The intent here is not to form a complete list, but simply to illustrate the inherent, special quality of these names. I’m sure there are more. But perhaps it’s not zoning that matters, but vineyard pedigree regardless of where that vineyard lies? Isn’t it easy to remember a single name rather than attempt to find a zone whose wines you prefer and then find producers in that zone? Enrico and I were speaking of this exact idea in his interview when he suggested more vineyard designated wines might be in Castello Banfi’s future. In visualizing it this way, I think that decision makes sense for the producers and the consumers. At any rate, I didn’t intend for this to become a sub-zoning tangent, but simply a review of an amazing wine!
The 1999 Castello Banfi Brunello Riserva Poggio All’Oro needs no introduction. Hailing from a single vineyard which translates as the “Golden Slope”, this tiny speck of land in Montalcino has produced meditation worthy wines since 1985. And only ten times since as a matter of fact; though that will be increasing soon with the cluster of great vintages Montalcino has seen.
After standing the wine up for a day, a very careful decanting proved beneficial and necessary. Chunky, mud like sediment was removed from the wine as it was left to breathe in the decanter. Despite its 17 years of age, the wine is dark garnet red in the decanter and the glass and looks as though it could be 1/3 of its seniority.
Wonderfully aromatic, with bottle sweet deep black cherry, roasted chestnut, fennel, dried cake spices and worn leather aromas. On the palate? Liquid velvet. The tannins are noticeably resolved here and what’s left is silky, ripe, concentrated elegant red fruits enrobed in coffee, cigar tobacco, cured meat and piney earth notes. It is spectacular. The acidity keeps everything fresh through the finish which is warming and lengthy. It’s hard to ask for more here. 98 points. About $80 upon release. Current vintages approach $125.
|~ This is one of Montalcino’s greatest wines. It’s a must for Brunello lovers ~|
November 28, 2016