Bricks Wine Advent Calendar 2019: Day 21

21 12 2019

By Tyler Derksen

Although this is my first year joining the Advent Calendar blogging team, I read the blog faithfully during its coverage of the inaugural Bricks Wine Advent Calendar in 2017 and then followed along with my own calendar last year.  Almost 70 Advent Calendar bottles have been unwrapped in that time and even though we’ve seen some truly standout bottles, I still find myself caught by surprise today when I pull back the wrapping and see…Brunello di Montalcino, and a critically acclaimed one at that!  A Brunello di Montalcino hasn’t been seen in the Advent Wine Calendar since Day 2 of the first year!  [Editor’s note: let’s not talk about how that one ended up.  Fingers crossed that we avoid a TCA repeat.]


Brunello is undisputed Sangiovese royalty, exemplifying the very best that the varietal has to offer.  The Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C. (Brunello from Montalcino) was established in 1966 and was given D.O.C.G. status in 1980 when this elevated designation was first created.  With this status comes strict rules governing production.  For example, there are limits to grape yields in the vineyard and the wine produced must be aged for a minimum of two years in wood barrel and four months in bottle and cannot be sold until five years after harvest. It is thanks to this time-intensive aging method that we get to enjoy a wine that has already seen some aging (and avoids, at least somewhat, the eternal struggle of keeping a bottle in the cellar to age when all I really want to do is try it).

Tenuta Il Poggione, the producer of today’s bottle, has a very long history (spanning five generations) producing Brunello di Montalcino.  Il Poggione was founded in the late 19th century and was one of the first three wineries to produce and market Brunello di Montalcino in the early 1900s; later they were one of the founding members of the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium, which was founded in 1967, and it remains a member to this day.


The vineyards from which Il Poggione sources its grapes are located in Sant’Angelo in Colle, approximately 10 km south of the town of Montalcino.  I am always thankful to wineries that make available details of their winemaking process.  The grapes for the 2012 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino were harvested, by hand, from vines that are more than 20 years old and then vinified over 15 to 20 days in stainless steel tanks using the “submerged cap” method.  Red wines acquire much of their colour and complexity from contact with the grape skins and stems.  During the fermentation process, a cap of these skins forms and naturally rises to the surface of the fermenting liquid.  By using a process that keeps this cap submerged during the fermentation process, the resulting wine is able to keep in better contact with the skins and benefit more fully from the characteristics that they impart.  After fermentation, the wine was then aged in large French oak casks stored five meters underground followed by bottle aging (unfortunately, the winery does not specify these periods on its website for the 2012 vintage, though I have seen other sources state that the barrel aging was three years).  


The age on the bottle is already apparent, as the edges show pronounced brick colouring.  As I put the glass to my nose and lips, I lament the fact that I’m not sitting in front of a plate of Italian food.  The nose is beautiful: cherry, red currant, pepper, tobacco, grilled steak, dried flower petals, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce and wet dirt coming together in what may be one of my top 3 favourite noses of the calendar.  The palate is highly structured, perhaps a bit too structured on first opening, with flavours of sour cherry, raspberry, cedar, fresh leather, blood, black olive and balsamic vinegar.  The acidity is what one would expect from Brunello di Montalcino, but the flavours seem tightly wound.  I suspect that this will change over time and that the wine will improve with a few more years of age.


Cork Rating: 7.5 out of 10.  Great use of space with the logo and borders.  Very short though (yes, I know this was a half-bottle).

This is my final post for this year’s calendar and I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts on each bottle and look forward to Peter’s and Ray’s writing on the final bottles to come.  Wine is always better when shared, and it has been a pleasure sharing with you.  Whatever your plans over the next days and weeks, I hope they are filled with happiness, family, friends and, of course, good wine!

89- points

WSET Completion Celebratory Wine Review: 2003 Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino

16 11 2011

(Wine) school's out for summer! W00t!

With the WSET Advanced course finally in my rear view mirror, it was time to celebrate:  whether I actually passed or not, I figured I’d earned a bottle from my “good fridge”, the one that houses my pricier, more ageworthy wines.  This one definitely qualifies.  I’ve been loving Brunello more and more lately, to the point where I think it’s become my favourite kind of Italian wine; it strikes that ideal balance between being approachable and enjoyable in youth while still reaping the benefits of aging.  It also deftly marries complexity with drinkability, something a surprising number of expensive wines can fail to do…bringing a wide spectrum of flavours to the table doesn’t mean much when you don’t want to have the resulting glass with dinner.  I don’t own that many bottles of Brunello currently, but that’s something I’ll be looking to fix in the near future (or once my salary doubles, anyway).

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Roving Wine Review: 1998 Pieve Santa Restituta “Rennina” Brunello di Montalcino @ Centini

4 10 2011

Centini: great restaurant, absolutely horrible lighting for iPhone pictures. Note the difference between the old PSR label shown here and the way cooler one they use now...

I have awesome friends.  Shortly after I posted my poll-winning wine review of the 2006 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello a few weeks back in celebration of Pop & Pour’s 100th post, I got a message from Brian at The Ferocious Grape telling me that he had a great idea for another PnP article.  He had in his massive collection of wine another Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello that was both older and higher-end than the one I had tried:  the 1998 Rennina Brunello from PSR (“Rennina” is PSR’s proprietary name for the wine, which comes from three top vineyard sites on the estate), the current vintage of which is more than 3 times as expensive as the base PSR Brunello ($200ish as compared to $60).  Did I have any interest in opening the ’98 Rennina with Brian, seeing how it fared against the ’06 basic Brunello and writing a post about it?  Um, yes?

If you’ll recall, my main excitement about Pieve Santa Restituta was that it’s owned by Angelo Gaja, the Barbaresco wine icon from Piedmont in northwest Italy whose Tuscan venture into Brunellos is worth some attention (for much more about Gaja and PSR and Brunello, see my last post about the 2006).  The 1998 vintage from PSR was of particular interest because Gaja only took full control over the winery in 1995, so Brian’s bottle was one of this landmark winemaker’s first efforts at making high-end Brunello.  A bottle this special required some proper special-occasion ambience, and I owed Brian some payback for a gesture this generous, so we booked a dinner reservation at Centini on 1st Street and 8th Avenue SE in downtown Calgary to toast one of Tuscany’s finest Italian-style. Read the rest of this entry »

100th Post Special Wine Review: 2006 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino

14 09 2011

The name at the bottom of the label says it all: Gaja.


After a stellar trip to British Columbia that included visits to some excellent Okanagan wineries whose wares will be featured here soon, I am again at my computer in Calgary ready to bring PnP out of its brief hiatus.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who made sure this site didn’t lose any of its momentum while I was away — much to my surprise (and sincere gratitude), Pop & Pour actually set a record for daily views a few days after I left town!  Obviously I need to go on vacation more often.

The blog gets rebooted with a bang tonight, since my return post doubles as the 100th post I’ve written for PnP over the last six months.  The fact that I’ve found 100 occasions since the start of March where the baby was sleeping and the house was quiet and I was able to be at the computer for a consecutive hour is clearly cause for celebration, and your poll voting determined that PnP’s centennial would be feted by way of the 2006 Gaja Brunello, more formally known as the Brunello di Montalcino from Pieve Santa Restituta.  Even though I only got this wine three months ago, I’m very happy that it won the poll and that I get to open it, because it was my first ever Father’s Day present from my now-8-month-old son Felix (likely assisted in some substantial capacity by my lovely wife Heather).  Nothing like a proud milestone gift to celebrate a joyous event. Read the rest of this entry »

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