Sitting high above a hill amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany, lies the medieval town of Montepulciano. It is home to Italy’s finest red wines, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The wines are primarily Sangiovese-based and are rustic, complex, and bold. One of the most esteemed producers of the region is Poliziano.
Azienda Agricola Poliziano was first founded in 1961 by Dino Carletti with 54 acres in Montepulciano. Today under the direction of Dino’s son, Federico Carletti, the estate has grown to over 640 acres in Magliano and Cortona. Federico joined the family estate in 1980, and since then his focus has been on quality and excellence with homegrown estate fruit. Carletti has produced some incredible award-winning Super Tuscans, but today Federico is drawn to his cultural heritage with a focus on Sangiovese.
Over the years Federico has transformed the estate and has brought Poliziano to soaring heights, cultivating individual plots that have lead to Cru vineyards like Asinone. Federico is humble and considers himself a farmer with the belief that fine wine originates in the vineyard.
The cultivation of their vineyards is strictly organic. Federico aims for quality and excellence in the vineyards and the cellars. He has spent time studying Sangiovese and has mastered the expression of this grape variety, which is also known as “Prugnolo Gentile” in Montepulciano. Poliziano has ideal vineyard sites, mostly southeast facing grown on 280-450 meters above sea level where the soils are mostly clay and volcanic Tufo,
Tasting the four unique expressions of Sangiovese side by side from Polizano was an insightful exploration. The Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano 2019 is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. It is a fun easy-drinking wine for every day. This Rosso is an expressive wine on the nose with hints of fresh cherries and wildflowers. It has nice acidity and tannic structures. With a fresh and fruity profile, it makes a great pairing with Tuscan Pecorino or fresh pasta with meat sauce.
Prugnolo Gentile grapes express their full potential in Montepulciano, and that is evident in Poliziano Vino Noble di Montepulciano 2017. The wine is a blend of 85% Prugnolo Gentile, 15% Colorino, Canaiolo, and Merlot. This is the flagship wine of the winery. The wine is aged 14-16 months in wood barrels, two-thirds in barriques and tonneaux of French oak, and a third in vats. Ruby red in hue, it has a perfumed nose of cherries and violets. There is a great balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity. The perfect wine to pair with roasted lamb or a hearty beef stew.
The highest expression of Sangiovese resides in the Cru Asinone Vineyards. Poliziano’s best vineyard is Asinone, which is a fusion of tradition, territory, and innovation. The 2017 Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a Sangiovese-based red that has an elegant nose of red fruit and spice. The warm vintage results in nice fruit and softness on the palate. Behind the richness, there is great balance and elegance. This is a stunning wine that has a long life ahead of it.
The fourth wine in the lineup is the 2018 Lohsa Morellino di Scansano, made at the renovated Lohsa Estate, which sits atop a hill in Maremma. Locally Sangiovese in this region is known as Morellino. The wine comes from the very sought-after coastal region of Maremma. Federico Carletti brought his expertise to the region in 1998 with an investment in the commune of Magliano, only a few miles from the coast. Here he produces the Lohsa Morellino di Scansano. There are nice intense aromas of red fruit and spice. The palate is fresh with blackberries, spice, and earthy undertones. Its vibrancy makes it a great pairing for pappardelle with a wild boar sauce or mushroom crostinis.
**Photos Courtesy of Poliziano**