Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Altero 2017
Juicy red currants, cherries, and sprigs of fresh rosemary are robed in vanilla and baking spice with just a wisp of smoke.
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The 2017 Brunello di Montalcino Altero (with 8,000 bottles made) represent a clear step up in intensity and balance compared to the thinner annata wine. It also offers a dense nucleus of dark fruit with blackcurrant and plum, along with some background spice, tar and smoke. Altero sources its fruit from I Poggi and Il Vignone at the highest elevations (at 500 meters above sea level). These cool growing spots have served the wine well in this hot vintage in terms of preserving aromas and freshness. Best after 2024.
Ripe, lush and expressive, this red features cherry, plum, earth, iron and tobacco flavors, with a solid line of tannins providing support. Long, picking up herbal accents on the finish.
Poggio Antico is one of Montalcino's most elevated estates, with vineyards averaging 1476 feet above sea level, southwest of the famed medieval citadel. Both the unique location and altitude privilege the wines of Poggio Antico, which benefit from the perfect exposure and enjoy favorable overnight drops in temperature, ideal conditions that increase finesse and intense bouquet.
Poggio Antico was founded in 1976 and consist of 50 clayey, calcareous acres of Brunello di Montalcino. The estate has seen a phenomenal growth, going from 50 to the present 80 acres under vine, developing two parallel Brunello worlds – the more traditional, larger-barrel Brunello, aged longer in Slavonian oak and the modern, finesse-driven Altero, aged in tonneaux of French oak; securing a stellar position in the global market and extending and upgrading the facility to ultrahigh-tech standards.
In 2017 Poggio Antico changed hands and was purchased by Atlas Invest, and it is now directed by the new General Manager Federico Trost. Poggio Antico recently lead a soil survey to approach the plot-by-plot management which started with the 2018 vintage by identifying, and consequently harvesting and fermenting separately, the micro terroirs inside each vineyard. All the estate is currently under organic conversion and a renovation of the cellar and of the hospitality center are part of the new plans.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.