Rustic Tuscany

~ Rustic Tuscany preparations:  Paccheri with baby clams, zucchini and saffron cream; from da Giorgio in Fiumicino ~

Rustic Tuscany 2022 is in the books!

With the scenic, seaside town of Fiumicino shrinking in our rear view mirror, our intrepid cast of Rustic Tuscany travelers made our way to Toscana.  Over the next several months, I will be chronicling our adventures day by day, exactly as the Tour progressed.  It was an epic adventure with amazing food, wine and winery visits encompassing the best that Tuscany has to offer.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The red wines of Poggio Stenti were delicious and are great values. Here they are set against the backdrop for our lunch ~

Our home base for the first half of the tour was a tiny Agriturismo just south of Sant’Angelo Scalo which we happily commandeered in its entirety.  This owl’s perch in northern Maremma made for an excellent jumping off point to visit sites in Montalcino, Maremma and Montecucco.  The latter, was home to our first winery stop.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The entrance to the family home and reception area ~

Poggio Stenti is owned by the Pieri family.  Originally a farm to raise cattle, Poggio Stenti now encompasses 30 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and arable land to raise crops like their famous saffron.

Located in Montenero d’Orcia, within the DOCG of Montecucco, Poggio Stenti is a stone’s throw from the southern Brunello production zone. Carlo Pieri runs a tiny bottega in Sant’Angelo Scalo where he sells his wine, cheeses and local products in addition to the various cuts of meat he sources from the animals he’s lovingly raised. His philosophy is simple: kilometer zero.  That extends to everything sold at Poggio Stenti.  As a result, our lunch was a wonder of truly local gastronomy.

Rustic Tuscany

~ Eleonora, Carlo’s daughter, provided a wonderful winery tour for the group ~

We began with a tour of Poggio Stenti’s new fermentation area which was recently completed in time for the 2022 vintage and which was open to the outside air. Since our visit, the area has been enclosed with large sliding glass doors.  As a result, this allows them better control of temperature, but also ease of receiving fruit during vendemmia.

~ The new fermentation area is impressive; stone and travertine throughout keep it cool year long ~

After seeing the barricaia, we sat down to lunch.  As this was the first day of the tour and several of the participants were still warding off jet lag, we kept the itinerary light.  As a result, we did not do a sit down tasting at Poggio Stenti.  However, we enjoyed most of their wines with lunch.

The first course was a simple mix of typical antipasto; various cured meats from Carlo’s shop, a warm onion tart and assorted Tuscan crostini.  With this we enjoyed the 2021 Poggio Stenti Vermentino. Completely vinified in stainless steel, this Vermentino was the equal of any of my favorites.  Flinty, minerals, with citrus flavors and aromas, it was refreshing and highly enjoyable. 88 points and $13 Euro. Available direct from the winery.

Rustic Tuscany lunch

~ It doesn’t get much better than this. We were hungry for lunch and it was very warm. The Vermentino, crisp and refreshing was delightful ~

Next up was a classic favorite; pappardelle al sugo Toscano.  Like the many faces of Tuscan ragu, the actual recipe can be argued and debated. Every Nonna teaches it differently. But the consensus is that beef, pork products and a tiny amount of sausage are slow simmered with tomato paste and and ev3n less passata.  The result is extraordinary. The finished sugo is a brownish red but never tomato-ey.  It starts with a soffrito and ends with unctuous flavor.  With this we enjoyed the 2020 Montecucco Rosso.  Poggio Stenti includes a tiny dollop of Cabernet in their Rosso but the wine is predominantly Sangiovese and presents itself as such.  At the perfect cellar temperature, this was fresh and lively with wild berry and herb aromas and flavors.  It was the perfect foil to the ragu. 87 points and also $13 Euro. Available direct from the winery.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The group ready to enjoy some lunch under the Tuscan sun ~

Finally, we had beef braised in, what else, Sangiovese!  The final two reds we enjoyed were the stars of the show.  Both were 100% Sangiovese and both were head turners for both value and complexity.

The 2017 Poggio Stenti Tribulo is a deep ruby red in color.  The aromas are bright and fresh as are the flavors. It’s a testament to the winemaking and rather simply stated,  it was one of the freshest 2017s we had on the trip. Bright berry, fresh herb, soft vanilla and fresh flowers on the nose and palate make for a pleasing array of complexity. This is a better than every day wine at an every day price.  90 points. Available direct from the producer.   Additionally, Tribulo is imported in NY State by Romano Brands only and can be found on premise or special ordered by retailers.  $18 Euro

Rustic Tuscany

~ Tribulo is named after the hard work it takes to keep a vineyard healthy and grow amazing grapes. Loosely translated it means “Troubled” ~

The next wine was the flag ship Sangiovese of the property.  The 2016 Poggio Stenti Pian di Staffa is named after the family’s oldest vineyard.  Consequently, and not surprisingly, the vineyard is creating some amazing fruit.

Deep ruby in the glass, the aromas and flavors are fresh, powerful and elegant.  This 100% Sangiovese has dark cherry, tobacco, baking spices and floral overtones to it’s aroma and flavor profile. Fresh, persistent and delicious, this paired perfectly with the brasato and cheeses.  Pian di Staffa spends 30 months in large French barrels and then an additional year in bottle before release.  An amazing effort and value.  The equal of many Brunello.  95 points.  Available directly from the winery.  Additionally, Pian di Staffa is imported in NY State by Romano Brands only and can be found on premise or special ordered by retailers.  $28 Euro.

Rustic Tuscany

~ The Pian di Staffa is a worthy Riserva and an exceptional value from the great 2016 vintage ~

While the wines and food were the stars of the lunch; we were also treated to a custard like dessert and cookies infused with the family’s saffron.  They were both a hit and I think almost everyone purchased saffron in addition to wine.

Perhaps the mood was captured best when one of the guests simply said:  “John and Lars, you guys have set the expectations bar really high for the rest of the trip!”

Would we clear it?  Come on….this is Tuscan Vines and Vino Viaggio! Stay tuned….

Rustic Tuscany

~ The view from the edge of Poggio Stenti’s patio and pool area which leads out into the vineyards ~

If you’d like a price list for the wines or contact information for the winery, you can email the winery directly with the Subject Line: “Attn Eleonora: Tuscan Vines Wine Offer”


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