I don’t know if it counts as a ‘hidden gem’ because it’s a winery that’s been in the same family for over 500 years, spanning countless generations, and their 2016 release has a 91, two 92-point scores and a 94 from those stingy folks at Wine Spectator. That’s as highly decorated as a wine can get. Throw in the fact that this wine was actually a previous Wine Spectator Top 100 wine, and you really can’t call it hidden at all. It’s a studly wine that we’re lucky to be seeing this late in the game.
Poggio Il Castellare has been run by the Baroncini family since the late 1400s. They have a gorgeous property, perfectly located in a lot between 450-500 meters above sea level. There, the soil was formed in several different geological eras, giving the winery the perfect mix to make both powerful and elegant wines that can be aged for decades or enjoyed early.
Just like in 2007, they sensed something special with the 2016 vintage and decided to release it late, waiting for all the wine’s components to come together. Some would call it a bold move, but those folks haven’t tasted this one. I have. It’s so good, I wouldn’t question a single thing they did.
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94 Points, Wine Spectator
This Brunello is well-marked by new oak, adding a vanilla note and wood tannins. Black cherry, blackberry, iron and menthol flavors lay underneath. Dusty tannins line the finish, which is long, finding a nice equilibrium.
92 Points, James Suckling
Lots of new wood with some berry and cherry character. Spices, too. Medium body. Fresh finish. Tannic and slightly austere.
92 Points, Vinous
A lovely mix of incense, crushed violets, dried strawberries, blueberries, allspice and candied ginger forms a sweetly seductive bouquet on the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino. It’s velvety-smooth and round in the mouth, yet it maintains balance with floral-laced red fruits and minerals, further enlivened by bright acidity. You hardly notice the slow build of youthful structure taking hold until the finale, where fine tannins clench the senses under an air of minty herbs and autumnal spice. The 2016 will require some time to soften and integrate its oak influence, yet it should emerge as a beautiful expression of the vintage and house style.
91 Points, Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Poggio il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino is aromatic of sage, dried cherry, and toasted cedar. The palate is fresh with pine, tart red plum, and sweet baking spice. It was aged for 30 months in Slavonian oak and 20 months in French oak. Its freshness makes this welcome to drinking now or over the next several years.
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