2019 Poderi Sanguineto I & II Rosso di Montepulciano
Region: Rosso di Montepulciano DOCG > Tuscany > Italy
Grapes: 80% Sangiovese, 20% mix of Canaiolo + Mammolo
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming, red sandy clay soils; grapes destemmed, pressed very softly and fermented in concrete, aged in used botti; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added So2; 14% ABV
Winemaker: Dora Forsoni
Legend has it that the Romans and Etruscans fought so many battles in the vineyards owned by Dora Forsoni and her partner Patrizia Castiglioni that the ground turned red with blood, prompting the locals to refer to it, morbidly, as "Sanguineto", which loosely translates as bloody. The story, whether apocryphal or not, is fitting, since the two vineyards ('I' and 'II') that comprise their property produce some of the finest Sangiovese in the region. Called Prugnolo Gentile locally, Sangiovese forms the backbone of this wine, fleshed out, as tradition dictates, with small measures of Canaiolo and Mammolo. Dora has been walking the vineyards on her land since 1968, when she first started helping her father manage their 50 hectare farm. Only six are planted to grapes, and even those are co-planted with olive trees (for olive oil) and vegetables for eating. Here, Dora and Patrizia (both in their 70's!) do all the work themselves, farming the vineyards alone, only allowing outsiders during harvest time to pick grapes.
Wild animals also roam freely – also for eating – Dora is a skilled wild boar hunter, and butchers all her kills. She is also a chain-smoking Led Zeppelin fan and her wild, rebellious side shows up in her winemaking. Each year after their fermentation in concrete, the wine is racked to used oak botti of various sizes and it is only after this that Dora decides which will become the Rosso di Montepulciano, and which will go into the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (sometimes a Riserva is made but not every year). She then ages them for one or two years, respectively. The Rosso di Montepulciano is therefore always a declassified Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – which means the fruit is top notch but the price reflects the earlier release – usually a preference for us anyway!
While many of Tuscany's fancy wines like those from Montepulciano are oaked, tannic and big in structure, this is feels very different. Higher acid with fruit that is more tart than juicy, leaning towards sour cherry and dark plum, this is a super supple, earthy wine all built on a medium bodied, low tannin frame. And while versatile enough to match grilled meats at a foggy late summer beach barbeque, or a bowl of fresh pasta tossed with roasted vegetables, it would also pair beautifully with serious meaty dishes (perhaps wild boar even – we might need to ask Dora...) This is not your daddy's trophy Montepulciano wine, and Dora is not your average Montepulciano producer -- and we love them both for their proud differences.