Friday, June 6, 2014

Favorite Wineries: San Polino in Montalcino

A frequently asked question in my daily correspondence on arranging wine tours for future guests has to do with what wineries we’ll end up selecting for their tour. Some people could maybe worry that the wineries they’ll visit are touristy or not the most famous or the most glamorous…

On the contrary! After years of travelling around our area we’ve got our favourites of high quality wine producers that we’ve established excellent relationships with. We are wine lovers ourselves, and hence the winery we choose is of fundamental importance.

For us the best wineries to visit are usually the smaller, family owned and run ones. Nothing gets better than feeling the passion that drives an art and a product. We love wines that represent their area and the personality of who has created them. Having said this, we enjoy wineries of other dimensions also - wineries that have some sort of uniqueness to them - and above all wineries that are not crowded and pleasant to visit.

I want to share the story of Katia and Gigi, owners of one of our favorite wineries. The fact that these 2 individuals are of different origin (British and Italian) and that they have had all sorts of life experiences prior to entering agriculture in Montalcino gives them a unique and balanced view on vine growing. 

In 1997 the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino decided to give out a few new quotas of Brunello acreage to any farmer in Montalcino who wanted to farm for the geographical DOCG wine of the area. Katia and Gigi were at that moment just farming a few olives and a bit of wine for home use - but decided to jump at the opportunity. From the very beginning they decided as some of the first in the area to farm organically and to understand their land and plants in detail.

Their first harvest was in 2001 from very young vines and the first vintage counted something like 1000 bottles, so less than a hundred cases! So I met Katia and Gigi in 2006 when the 2001 Brunello was released - and immediately I fell in love with their story and their wine. Oh my, I wish I had kept some - it was so good that it's gone! Since then their knowledge and experience have increased year by year in tact with the greatness of the wines.

I've followed this farm develop over the years (sometimes with weekly visits), always thinking it would do great things. I feel pride in seeing these people being successful in producing what I consider one of the best wines of the region.

Here are some pictures from my most recent visit on a wine tour:

Katia and Gigi are really fantastic people, humble as can be - a visit to their winery will stay imprinted in your memory for years!

Gigi at San Polino from Rebecca Wine in Tuscany on Vimeo.

These are some of the other creatures you'll meet at San Polino!