Vineyard: Poggio Antico
Paola Gloder’s are Montalcino’s highest-rising vineyards: 80 acres (out of a total 500) at 380 to 430 meters (1,250 to 1,400 feet) above sea level, southwest of the famed medieval citadel. Their unique location and altitude make for doubly privileged wines: where the hillside terroir south of Montalcino is conducive to powerful and opulent Brunellos, the vines’ elevation signifies cool nighttime temperatures – hence, superb bouquet and mellow harmony such as is generally found only north of Montalcino! Paola’s wines, in other words, are both potently structured for eons of cellar life, and elegantly charming even in youth.
The young and tireless owner (flanked, from 1998, by her husband, Alberto Montefiori) has been firmly at the helm of Poggio Antico almost since its inception, when her father purchased 50 clayey, calcareous acres of galestro vineyards, in 1984… As firmly, of course, as a living dynamo of her caliber can be still and firm – for when you think of Paola, you think of her juggling tasks as diverse as driving a tractor at harvest time, hammering nails and ripping up cartons at wine fairs, giving the best 5-minute lectures on Brunello you could ever get in your lifetime, styling her wines with oenologist Paolo Vagaggini, and introducing her three little handfuls, Arianna, Alessandro and Andrea (‘vintages’ 2000, 2003 and 2005 respectively) to the duties and joys of winemaking.
The 1995 vintage was a major turning point in Brunello regulations. As of that year, the minimum requirement for élevage in wood was reduced to 2 years (total aging remains 4 years). That was also the year Paola decided to develop two parallel Brunello worlds: the more traditional, larger-barrel, longer-aging Brunello (this continues to follow the traditional method of 3 years in oak) and the modern, tonneaux-aged, finesse-driven Altero Brunello.
Recent years have also seen her extend and upgrade the cantina. The new winery allows even lengthier élevage on the premises before wines are released. Moreover, the present vinification equipment is conducive to the gentlest possible extraction. The 2000 vintage was the first to see vinification in the winery’s new wing, in state-of-the-art tanks that allow extraction to take place without the use of pumps, making for much better color concentration and sweeter, softer, less aggressive tannins.
Yearly production: 90-95,000 bottles.
Tuscany continues to charm and enchant the world over while books and films are forever trying to capture the beauty and mystic of the region. With its rich history, art, music, food and wine, there is very little to disappoint. Chianti is easily the most well known of Italian wines while Brunello is considered one of the most prestigious. Yet, the wines of Tuscany have not always been recognized for quality and have just recently experienced a renaissance,