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Poggio Antico unveils designs for new winery by Marco Casamonti

The day after its new releases launched La Place’s hors Bordeaux spring campaign, Brunello wine estate Poggio Antico has revealed plans to construct a new winery from acclaimed Italian architect Marco Casamonti

The artists impression of the new winery at Poggio Antico

The new winery, which has been designed by Marco Casamonti from Casamonti & Partners, was unveiled last week (1 March) at the offices of the Regione Toscana, in the heart of Florence.

It will be Casamonti’s second venture in Italy. A professor of architectural and urban design at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Genoa, Casamonti was the creative force behind the acclaimed Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico, selected the World’s Best Vineyard in 2022 but his portfolio extends to numerous projects worldwide, notably in Asia, including the Changri-La Winery in Penglai, China, and the Ba Na Hills Winery in Vietnam.

Poggio Antico, a boutique vineyard of 37 hectares planted mainly with Sangiovese, lies on the highest hills of Brunello, with an average altitude of approximately 500 meters. It was founded in 1976 with the union of three properties on the ridges (I Poggi, Madre and Le Martine), but has seen substantial investment since 2017, when it was acquired by Belgian entrepreneur Marcel Van Poecke and his company Atlas Invest. It is currently undergoing a “significant transition”, and this spring’s release of its first single-vineyard expression under a new label, Vigna i Poggi 2019, serves as a “clear indication” of the direction of travel.

Similarly, the decision to commission Casamonti underscores the company’s “dedication to continuous improvement, striving to achieve the highest standards in both production and customer experience”, it said.

As Pier Giuseppe D’Alessandro, general manager of Poggio Antico, explained, the idea to construct a new cellar stemmed from two main needs.

“Firstly, a more ‘technical’ aspect is tied to the refined strategy adopted in managing our operations, a more ‘precise’ method that requires vinifying smaller batches to better match each of Poggio Antico’s units of soil with its own wine. Secondly, there’s a need to streamline the process from grape to bottle by implementing a gravity-flow system in the production process,” he said.

“The collaboration with architect Casamonti was a perfect match because he understood our needs and crafted a project that is simple yet distinctive, remarkable, and mindful of the environment. This is a project that will both astonish while enhancing the splendid territory we call home.”

The presentation was attended by Eugenio Giani, president of the Tuscany Region and senator Silvio Franceschelli, the mayor of Montalcino.

The Vigna i Poggi was released on La Place this March (image credit: Colin Hay)

Tasting notes

Poggio Antico Rosso di Montalcino 2022 (Rosso di Montalcino; 100% Sangiovese; 14.5% alcohol). A change in register after the Piedmont wines. Bright, herbal, fresh and pure. Earthy – a baked clay path. Quite dense in a way, but sinuous and lithe too. Very oak-free wine-making – or that’s the feel here. Sage. Plump berries. Very impressive at the price point. So fresh and crunchy. A touch of dried herbs, some fresh, so wild spring flowers. Lots of energy. Delightful. Easy to appreciate but not easy to make. Unpretentiously excellent. 92+.

Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino 2019 (Brunello di Montalcino; 100% Sangiovese; 15% alcohol). One of the coolest vineyards in the appellation and it gives so much to work with here. Earthy. Spicy. Fresh herbal elements and that brilliantly crystalline mid-palate – like a dark lake at night, or the very early morning as the mist clears. Quietly shimmering. Dynamic, though with upwelling under-currents. Lavender. Violet. Wild roses. Wild thyme and rosemary. Brilliant. A wine of considerable purity. So juicy. A star of the appellation. Taut and tense and supremely vivid. You want to drink this now. 95.

Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2018 (Brunello di Montalcino; 100% Sangiovese; 15% alcohol). More intense, more powerful, with a slightly tighter frame and marginally less fruit clarity perhaps on the nose. But wait until you get to the palate! More sour cherries alongside the fresh berry fruits. A little balsamic note. Tapenade. Lavender. Wild rosemary. Marjoram. This is quite saline in its minerality with a hint of iodine too. Again, so mouth-energizingly juicy. Lots of vivid and vibrant splashes of fruit – indeed, it’s a fire-hydrant of freshness. Brilliant. Zingy. Sapid and grippy with great intensity. 97.

Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Vigna I Poggi 2019 (Brunello di Montalcino; 2.5 hectares; 100% Sangiovese; 15% alcohol). A first time on la place and a first vintage of this single-vineyard wine. One of the freshest, highest and coolest sites in the appellation. So much freshness is to be found here in this wondrous vintage and it’s been beautifully captured and channelled into the bottle. We ratchet up here the terroir herbal notes. There’s a note of heather and assorted freshly harvested wild pasture herbs. Baked clay path. Violets. Peony. Lavender. Black tea leaf. Crushed rose petals. Loganberries, perfectly ripe and hanging on the plant begging to be cleanly removed from their husks. Incredibly intense and both vertical and horizontal aromatically. Dense and compact yet plunge-pool clear and limpid – like a deep dark lake that you can see all the way to the bottom of. Wonderful tannins achieve a magical degree of pixilation. Such finesse and precision. Spectacular wine-making and a singular terroir in a truly great vintage. I’m in raptures. I’ve tasted this three times now since the project was launched and I love this wine. It has great ageing potential but you just want to dive right in (the plunge-pool thing once again). 99.


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