Established as recently as 1961 and a byword for quality in Montepulciano since the early 1980s, Poliziano’s story nonetheless taps into the history and culture of this picture-postcard corner of Tuscany – and it must be one of very few to feature both a Renaissance poet and a mule. The name Poliziano is a tribute to the 15th century Florentine scholar Angelo Ambrogini, a prolific translator of classical works and a tutor to the children of the Medici (some even believe he may have been poisoned by Piero de’ Medici). His ‘nickname,’ Poliziano, is a simple reference to his birthplace – Montepulciano was originally Mons Politianus in Latin.
The cultural significance goes beyond mere history, however, and embodies a winery combining modern techniques with a rare respect for heritage. The mid-90s saw a move from big wood to barriques and tonneaux for flagship wine Asinone, whose vineyard was the first in the region to undergo specialist replanting, foresaking the old technique of interspersing Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) vines with Trebbiano and Malvasia. The Prugnolo here is extremely distinctive, combining compact bunches with firm skins to produce a Vino Nobile of unique character and longevity.
Around 180,000 - 250,000 bottles of this, the Vino Nobile, are produced each year. The varietal mix is 85% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) + a mix of 15% Colorino, Canaiolo and Merlot. Grapes are all hand picked and table-selected. Fermentation takes place in conical stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature with pressing and pump-over. Fermentation and maceration time is 18-22 days. Ageing is 16 months in oak: two-thirds in barriques and tonneaux of new and second-use French oak and a third in traditional wood casks. New oak is thus brought to bear on around 20% of the blend.
The ageing potential of this wine is 10 years safely, 15 years at the outside.
This is a very well-structured wine with an intense perfume of juicy, ripe fruit and a rich palate, with just the right amount of tannin.