As the most widely planted grape in Italy and with a legacy of straw-covered bottles of Chianti deep in many people’s memories, it would be easy to think of Sangiovese as a simple and one-dimensional wine. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Much like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is a late-ripening varietal that expresses itself in wildly different ways depending on growing conditions, yields and winemaking styles. Perhaps no one knows this better than Castello di Potentino winemaker Charlotte Horton, whose careful and considered experimentation with ageing Sangiovese has resulted in wonderfully diverse expressions of the grape, available in the mixed case we are offering today.

All three wines in this case share a common origin story: from very low yielding vines in the same vineyard, hand-harvested, wild yeast fermentations, no fining and only light filtering and the smallest addition of sulphites (below organic standards) for stabilization. Where the storylines diverge, however, is with the ageing process that each wine undergoes and the markedly different characteristics that each develops. By choosing to age the wines in stainless steel, French oak barrels and in bottle for varying lengths of time, Charlotte is able to reveal the many faces of Sangiovese from bright, exuberant fresh fruit and vibrant acidity to more delicate floral overtones and finally to earthy, savoury depths.

For Charlotte, who bought Castello di Potentino in 2000 and has spent the last 21 years carefully restoring the 11th century building and rejuvenating the vineyards and olive groves to create an agricultural ‘renaissance’ for the estate, defining what she sees as a disappearing sense of place is paramount, both architecturally and in the “liquid writing” she calls winemaking. Charlotte has documented her meticulous restoration of the castle and her focus on sustainability in both architecture and agriculture in her beautiful book A Tuscan Adventure: The Restoration of a Castle. The Vine is pleased to have copies of this book to add to the first 18 cases of wine sold. We hope you enjoy both works of art!

The mixed case contains 2 bottles each of:
Castello di Potentino 2019 ‘Sacromontino’ (1L btl)
Castello di Potentino 2015 ‘Sacromonte’
Castello di Potentino 2010 ‘Sacromonte Winemaker’s Reserve’

$265 per case, including HST
Order by October 18th for delivery the week of October 25th.
Only 27 cases available.

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The Wines

The vineyards at Castello di Potentino are situated on the slopes of the highest peak in Tuscany, Monte Amiata, an extinct volcano, after which their flagship wine Sacromonte (sacred mountain) is named. The valley is low and sheltered with hot days and cold nights as the air comes down from the mountain. The earth is volcanic and mineral rich, which creates notably flavourful yet fine wines with elegant structure.

Castello di Potentino 2019 ‘Sacromontino’, Seggiano (1L btl)

A play on the name of Potentino’s aged Sangiovese, this wine undergoes just six months ageing in stainless steel to produce a fresher more exuberant young wine, hence the ‘ino’ ending which is the diminutive in Italian, meaning ‘little version’. Bright crimson red with blue tinges, the wine opens fresh and vibrant with black currant leaf and blackberry flower. On the palate there are nervy and raspy tannins, dark berries and a tangy finish. Serve at cellar temperature or lightly chilled in the summer with fresh pecorino, sausages, pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpea stew).

Castello di Potentino 2015 ‘Sacromonte’, Seggiano

Fermentation takes place in 50 hl French oak barrels for approximately 14 days and then the wine is aged in French oak for at least 24 months and in bottle for at least nine months before release. Deep ruby red in the glass, the wine has a delicately floral, lightly spiced, elegant, ethereal and complex bouquet. The palate is dry, medium bodied, with well-balanced acidity, smooth, present tannins and a long finish. Best served with delicate meats (veal or pork), marinated and grilled white meats and wild fowl.

Castello di Potentino 2010 ‘Sacromonte Winemaker’s Reserve’, Seggiano
Fermented in French oak for 14 days and aged in 50 hl barrels for at least 24 months, further ageing in bottle in the Potentino cellars takes place for at least three years or until Charlotte decides it has reached the right moment of evolution. The wine is a celebration of the mysterious processes that occur during bottle ageing. Delicate, translucent ruby in the glass, the wine is intensely floral, with violet and rose notes, sage, savoury and wild penny mint. The palate is dry with complex with subtle earthy flavours, fine web-like acidity and smooth but resonant tannins. Best served with beef stews or steak, venison or wild boar.
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About Castello di Potentino

The family of author Graham Greene has owned properties in the Tuscan region of Maremma for over 50 years. In 1989 they began restoration of the magnificent Castello di Montepò near Scansano, establishing vineyards and a winery where Charlotte became winemaker. Ten years later, the estate was sold to Jacopo Biondi Santi of the illustrious Montalcino family.

In 2000, the Greenes purchased the 11th century Castello di Potentino, located at the foot of Tuscany’s highest peak, Monte Amiata, 30 km from Montalcino, where they have undertaken a remarkable restoration of the castle, planted vineyards and tend 100-year-old olive trees. In 2009, Potentino withdrew from the local Montecucco DOC, which siblings Charlotte Horton & Alexander Greene believe serves the purposes of commercial producers rather than artisans. Charlotte’s wines are intended to “stimulate the intelligence of the palate”.

Castello di Potentino has 4 hectares of low-density vineyards planted to Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Alicante (Grenache). The vineyards are tended by hand, farmed using largely organic principles — though they’re not certified (another philosophical choice) — and only native yeast is used for fermentation. Charlotte opts for 5000-litre ‘botti’ rather than barriques during fermentation and maturation to avoid overpowering the delicate fruit. Her wines are not fined or filtered prior to bottling to preserve the aromatics and complexity, and very low levels of sulphur are used. The wines reflect the delicate touch of a female winemaker – elegant, energetic, kaleidoscopic, gracious…

As Charlotte writes, “Castello di Potentino’s wines are representative of the delicate relationship between nature and the human, earth and the climate; a symbiosis based on observation and respect, sensibility and discipline. Due to our unique micro-climate and mixed volcanic soil we are able to grow 3 of the most site sensitive varieties together in one small vineyard – Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Alicante.”

These are handcrafted, elegant wines that possess a ‘sense of place’ reflecting the valley’s volcanic soils, maritime & alpine climatic influences, and the diverse agricultural heritage that defines this remarkable locale.

It is now possible to stay at Potentino, and participate in an ongoing program of events which celebrate local traditions in wine, food, art and literature.

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You can also email or call 416.693.7994. We’d love to chat about wine with you!

Castello di Potentino’s wines are represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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