San Polino, Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva, DOCG, Tuscany, Italy, 2012
There is a small 'nirvana' northwest of Montalcino, where Luigi Fabbro and Katia Nuassbaum founded San Polino nearly 30 years ago.
Using Luigi's scientific experience of mapping the Amazon rainforest they decided to try their hands at "creating wines as complete reflections of the biodiversity of their terroir" Katia explains. This tiny estate of only 4 hectares now produces luscious and balanced wines farmed bio-dynamically by this energetic couple who, it is clear, pour all their heart and energies into these sublime wines. Praised by critics and peers they have been described as having "an incredible clarity and pureness of fruit that is unequalled in the region".
From the "Helichrysum" vineyards at San Polino to the south-east of Montalcino at 450m altitude, they use organic and biodynamic agriculture, and permaculture as a model for spraying microorganisms and specialised funghi onto the foliage, highly specialised pruning and foliage management, all worked by hand.
The Riserva is only produced in vintages that will make wines with a potential 20-30 year life-span. Harvest is in early October, then a 3 day cold maceration, sponteous fermentation on native yeasts in tronic Slavonian oak vats 35hl and a 45-60 day post fermentation maceration, aged in French barrique on the fine lees.
48 - 52 months
Type: French Barrique 225l and 38hl barrels
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 20
Dark lively ruby to intense deep garnet colour, with a nose of blackberry, dark plum, fig, forest-floor, sun-baked rocks, a little salinity, spice, mushroom and liquorice, this is a full, corpulent, dry, wine with smooth tannins which will soften moreas the years pass. Plenty of structure and body, a big bold wine with a long long finish.
A big wine that requires bold flavours, red meat and full-fat cheeses.
6 x 75cl
Award: James Suckling 96 Points