Piombaia of Tuscany

PiombaiaPiombaia was a new name to me when introduced by Native Wines, their Edinburgh-based importer. Piombaia is an estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, making both Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino from the Sangiovese grape, as well as brandies, grappas and vinegars all from a Sangiovese base. It is also a substantial agritourismo business with letting rooms and cereal crops and olives also being farmed.

Around 12 hectares of vineyard lie within the 210 hectare estate, sited at 400 to 600 metres altitude and farmed organically and using biodynamic techniques. I tasted the Rosso 2014, as well as the 2012 and 2008 vintages of the Brunello, the wines honest and ‘natural’ (with a small ‘n’) in feel. All wines are available retail from Bacco Wines in Edinburgh, other independent merchants and they have good distribution in restaurants.

The Wines

(2018) Piombaia's Rosso is 100% Sangiovese Grosso, and like all Rosso di Montalcino's thought of as the 'baby brother' of the Brunello, intended for earlier drinking. The ruby coloured wine offers aromas of strawberry, cherry and red plum, very much in that red fruit spectrum, a nice tobacco spice in the background, a touch of pencil-shaving cedar too. In the mouth this is fresh and very appealing: a brisk, alert character with that bitter twist of cherry pits and skins against the savoury fruit, and very delicious too.
(2018) Looking and tasting more youthful than the 2008, this nevertheless shows development with game, blood and even some subtle floral nuances sitting alongside the cherry and red plum and, again, that sweet tobacco spice. In the mouth the concentration is greater than in the 2014 Rosso, with an intense fruit core, but fruit is not the only driver here as a phalanx of ripe, chewy tannin and acidity power through. It has plenty of serious, savoury structure, but the balance is good and the fruit still powerful.
(2018) With 10 years of ageing under its belt, this has gained a lovely tertiary maturity. The colour is still deep, just softening with a hint of tawny on the rim, and with plenty of game and truffle character coming through against the ripe fruit that has elements of both plush blackcurrant and more lifted cherry and raspberry, as well as a sheen of oak. In the mouth that chewiness of tannin and texture gives plenty of full-bodied richness, the fruit is sweet, perhaps even a touch overripe, but the spice and tobacco, the dark and liquoricy combination of fruit and acidity, gives it plenty of character. For drinking now or over the next few years.

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