2006 Poggio al Sole Chianti Classico

Poggio al Sole Chianti Classico It wasn't that long ago. Few remember the late 1960s and 1970s, when the wines of Tuscany were so thin and insipid that Sangiovese grapes had almost no value. Harvesters were known to toss seeds of grain while picking grapes, as the grain was worth more than the grapes!

As a result, most of the old Sangiovese clones were developed for quantity, not quality. While lots of producers have chosen to buttress their lesser old-vine fruit with Merlot (or worse), a couple of perfectly situated young estates, set on south-facing hillsides at high altitude, planted with the newest low-yielding clones, are blowing away the old torchbearers. Poggio al Sole, set in prime-time Classico real estate (Tignanello and Sassicaia to the west, Fontodi to the east) is at the head of this young pack.

The 2006 Chianti Classico from Poggio al Sole is about as good as Chianti Classico gets. Terrific bright aromas of red fruit and dried flowers with a wonderful sweet kernel of pure Sangiovese. This is all about a barbecue, a piece of meat drizzled with Tuscan olive oil, sea salt and pepper: Tuscany as it should be -- but rarely is.

When the Davaz family moved from Switzerland to Tuscany and bought this jewel of a farm in the Tuscan hillsides, they were already well-schooled in viticulture. Having tended vines and made wine in the trying soils of Svizzeria, they had learned to ask questions and experiment before jumping in. Those questions led them to the elite producers of the region, many of whom were participating in a study called Chianti 2000. The goal of the work was to determine which clones should be employed in Chianti Classico and how densely vineyards should be planted. Giovanni Davaz was taking careful notes.

Poggio al Sole
Poggio al Sole
The result of that note-taking is a magnificent jewel of an estate planted on south and southwestern hillsides set at over 1,000 feet in elevation. The Sangiovese here is so pure, so bright -- almost like Pinot Noir with backbone.

Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Beautiful deep ruby color to the edge. Wonderful, vibrant aromas of red fruits, dried flowers and underbrush with excellent persistence. Rich red fruit to the core with unusual velvet-like texture. Terrific length with the fruit core remaining fresh and sturdy throughout. Drink now-2012."