Is there anything better than a good Italian red wine?
Of course, you already know about the classics. Chianti and Barolo are the wines upon which an entire industry was built. And you may have explored further to try the likes of Tignanello, Barbaresco, and so many others.
But have you ever tried a Brunello di Montalcino?!
We believe that this is one of the most underappreciated Italian red wines out there. And that’s why we chose to make it the focus of today’s review.
Of course, that led us to the same conundrum that we always have when we decide to review a wine.
Which producer do we focus on?
There are several that make stellar examples of this wine. However, we’ve chosen to focus on La Poderina because their 2012 vintage is absolutely stellar.
We’ll get to the review itself in just a moment. As always, we want to share a little bit about the winery before we get to the wines that it produces.
The La Poderina story starts in 1988. The winery, which is located in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, is an absolutely stunning mirror of the elegant grapes that it produces. And in La Poderina, you have a producer that is determined to reflect all of the brilliance of its vines in the wines that it creates.
But let’s get the most interesting thing about the company out of the way right now.
La Poderina isn’t a completely independent producer. Instead, it is part of what’s known as the Tenute del Cerro SpA. This is the wine company that’s owned by Gruppo Unipol.
And the really interesting thing about them is that they’re an insurance company.
Yes, an insurance company has managed to get itself involved in the world of Italian wine. With Tenute del Cerro, Gruppo Unipol intended to create an amazing wine project that focuses specifically on the agriculture that lies behind the grape.
And if the wine we’re going to look at in a moment is any indication, the company’s work has helped to craft some phenomenal wines.
La Poderina emphasises all of the qualities that Tenute del Cerro focuses on. This means the winery places a great focus on the importance of nature and the influence that the land has on the quality of the grape. And with Tenute del Cerro, they’ve been able to enhance their viticulture to the point where they produce some of the best grapes in the region.
So, where is that region exactly?
La Poderina lies just to the southeast of the gorgeous Montalcino town centre. A town that’s absolutely packed with history and architectural wonders, Montalcino is a wonderful tourist destination, as well as being home to some amazing wines.
The estate comprises of 120 acres, of which 25 are dedicated to the production of the Brunello grape. However, it’s not that grape that is the big feature of the La Poderina Brunello Montalcino Poggio Abate Ris. Instead, it is the Sangiovese grape, of which the company maintains 11 acres of prime vineyards.
The wonderful thing about this winery is how much individualism it manages to maintain, despite the fact that it is a part of a larger collective. La Poderina’s philosophy has always revolved around melding traditional winemaking with innovative techniques in an effort to create spectacular vintages.
That’s why the company produces so many wines that Montalcino is renowned for. However, it’s also why they’ve adopted the use of large bottis and French barriques, neither of which are common in this region of Italy.
It is these clever innovations that lend the company’s wines the oaky taste that has become its hallmark.
La Poderina is also of the opinion that quality will always trump quantity. And again, they haven’t had to buckle under any pressure from their parent company. The producer is free to manage its vines as it sees fit.
And it sees fit to produce vines that have a much lower yield than what would normally be considered the standard in the Italian wine industry.
The trade-off is that this focus on lower yields means that every grape offers immense quality. And of course, this is reflected in the wines that the company producers.
Each year, La Poderina produces about 78,000 bottles of wine.
Now, it’s time to look at one of the bottles that offers something amazing to the discerning Italian wine consumer.
La Poderina Brunello Montalcino Poggio Abate Ris 2012
So, what makes the La Poderina Brunello Montalcino Poggio Abate Ris 2012 special enough to command its own review?
Upon pouring the wine, you’ll see that it has a garnet colouring that’s almost completely transparent. Of course, this suggests great ageing potential, with the wine evolving and revealing new qualities for every year that it spends in storage. In fact, La Poderina suggests that you could age the wine for between 15 and 25 years if you wish to bring it to its full potential.
Assuming you decide to drink it today, the wine still offers plenty of quality.
The bouquet offers up the oaky tone that we’ve come to expect of wines from this company. This is accompanied by a number of floral tones, including roses and peonies. Notes of jam and spice await those who spend a little bit more time exploring the rich bouquet.
The first sip will unleash a power that you may not have expected from the wine. However, that power is not so overwhelming that it makes the experience displeasing. In fact, you’ll relish the opportunity to have the wine wash over your tongue.
The clean finish offers subtle mineral notes that highlight the quality of the land from which the wine came.
Our team were certainly impressed.
We gave the wine a rating of 94/100, which means it’s almost perfect. And we’re not the only ones to lavish praise on it, as the wine has received plaudits in several noted wine journals.