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Poggio di Sotto’s founder, Piero Palmucci (a former shipping executive), is one of those producers who operates most often behind the label—with consultant Giulio Gambelli (the eminent name behind the most desired of Montalcino’s majestic stars—Soldera), meriting all the cover action—despite the fact that his perfectionist streak positions him at the forefront of the production process. Palmucci has always pursued an academic approach to viticulture and vinification, assiduously monitoring various manifestations in both the cellar and vineyard. While he necessarily conducted his initial vintage of 1991 without much empirical evidence, he was vigilant in monitoring the wine’s evolution, carefully assessing its maturation in large new oak barrels.

This disciplined approach was hardly confined to Palmucci’s early efforts. In 1997, he collaborated with the University of Milan in order to plant new vineyards (constituting seven hectares), instituting an intensive study regime dedicated to identifying the appropriate clones for the site in question, as well as the planting systems and vine density most conducive to the terroir. (In 1999, a three-hectare vineyard was added to the holdings, raising Poggio di Sotto’s total vineyard acreage to 12 hectares.) These assiduous efforts in the vineyard are maximized through rigorous pruning and an intense process of selection. The former is conducted when the grapes are green in color and arranged in small bunches. This is followed up by the latter effort, during which the grape quantity is reduced by 50 to 60 percent, rendering the production of the estate necessarily minute. Cellar operations are no less exacting in Poggio di Sotto’s gravity flow winery, a classic context that reflects the integration of traditional principles and modern accoutrements. This merger of philosophies, in fact, characterizes the estate’s overall operations.

Adamant about color correctness in Brunello, Palmucci believes that dark Brunellos are disingenuous—wines that cannot possibly be pure-varietal expressions. Thus, a Poggio di Sotto Brunello visually corroborates this stance, exhibiting a medium-red garnet color upon release. It also offers a formidable tannic structure and high level of acidity. While delivering a traditional character, achieved through extended maceration in wooden oak and aging in Slavonian oak barrels, several contemporary enhancements ensure the integrity of the wine’s condition.

For the 2001 vintage, Palmucci released a special bottling—Il Decennale—marking the culminating effort of his first phase as a winemaker. Il Decennale represents, in effect, a viticultural thesis, capturing and celebrating Palmucci’s profound and intimate understanding of the old vines and ancient Sangiovese clones that he utilized to constitute the foundation of vineyards he established in the late 1980s, complementing their character with careful and astute site selection in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The first and last of its kind, Il Decennale also constitutes the estate’s Riserva for 2001, as it was aged in accordance with the stipulations governing the Riserva designation.

Wines:
Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino Il Decennale
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Rosso di Montalcino
Region: Toscana

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