Brunello di Montalcino, made from Sangiovese Grosso, combines power, concentration, complexity, and personality; however, it's not the clone itself that is responsible for this. Soil composition, climatic conditions, altitudes, and aging protocol all work together to make Brunello special. Montalcino's soils generally hold more sand and limestone than soils farther north in the region of Chianti. Montalcino is drier than Chianti, but its Mediterranean heat is cooled by air currents formed by the Montalcino hills and Tuscany's highest peak, Mount Amiata. These influences make the Sangiovese grape build muscle, in turn making a more rich, dark, concentrated, and delicious red.
The tongue-curling tannins and firm acidity allow Brunellos to age and these wines have captured the attention of wine collectors worldwide, creating excitement with every new release--sometimes too much excitement. Today, I'm very pleased to bring back a Brunello from an estate we've loved for a long time, Il Poggione. In the southern part of the Montalcino zone, Il Poggione has a microclimate that makes for muscular, brooding beauties, and today's 2009 Brunello punches far above its weight class. Not all of us have the patience--or the cellar space--to wait for our Brunellos to age, and you can drink this '09 Il Poggione right now.
I'm also very happy to present fourteen vintages of Angelo Gaja's game-changing Piemonte whites, both his approachable Rossj-Bass and his age-worthy Gaia & Rey. Angelo would pour the latter to industry skeptics in the 1980s, smoothing their palates for his Barbarescos. It was a wise move. It made converts out of the skeptics, and Gaja is now world-famous. Finally, I'm very pleased to present three bottles of hard-to-find Pernot-Bélicard's Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet wines. These 2014 new releases will make fans of white Burgundy very happy.