One warm and sunny September morning on the Tuscan hilltop of Cagnano, a table with a platter of local Tuscan cheese, a bowl of walnuts, freshly-sliced bread, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a bottle of Poggio Cagnano Altaripa Maremma Toscana DOC 2014 was waiting for us. There was a marvelous view of the Maremma countryside from where I was seated. The gentle sloping hills with olive orchards, perfectly-aligned tall cypress trees, and patches of vineyards fill up the spectacular Tuscan landscape in front of me. It was like stepping inside a glossy photo of showcasing the life in Tuscany. That morning, I couldn’t ask for anything better than being on that chair.
Alessandro Gobbetti, the young wine producer behind the newly-established label Poggio Cagnano, was acquainting us with the winery and its wines over a bottle of his pride, the Altaripa Maremma Toscana DOC 2014. Technically the second vintage but the first with impressive quality that he produced with pure Sangiovese. The wine was aged in French oak tonneaux for a little over a year then another 6 months in stainless steel before being bottled. It is ruby red in color with a persistent and complex nose, nuances of red berries, licorice, spices, herbs fill up the glass. On the palate, the freshness, smooth tannins and the fruity and mineral notes make it a very pleasant drink and as it breathes longer, the wine even opens up more showing its best characteristics.
Surrounded by olive trees and oak forests at an altitude of 300 to 450 meters in a 12-hectare land, the vineyards are cultivated on a 2-hectare piece of land with compact block of sandstone. This type of soil limits the number of grapes produced while it puts up the quality. The wines and extra virgin olive oil are produced organically. The limited production of the winery allows separate micro-vinifications to be carried out for each variety. The maturation is completed in tailor-made French oak barrels which establishes an exceptional collaboration between the grape variety and the oak.
Poggio Cagnano Boutique Winery produces three red wines, the Altaripa Maremma Toscana DOC, Arenario Maremma Toscana DOC, and Selvoso Maremma Toscana DOC. At the time of my visit, a rosè (Sangiovese, Vermentino, Ciliegiolo) are in the process of vinification as well as a Vermentino that will both be released in 2018.
The Selvoso Maremma Toscana DOC is a blend of Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo and Merlot. The Sangiovese and Merlot are aged in French oak barrique for a little over a year while the Sangiovese aged in French oak tonneaux. Poggio Cagnano best describes it as: “Brilliant on the nose with a mix of floreal, small berries and aromatic herbs, closing on a mineral note. Silky on the palate, rich and fresh with small red berries evolves into a vibrant finish.
The Arenario Marrema Toscana DOC is pure Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in French oak barrique for a little over a year. Poggio Cagnano notes it as: “Intense with great complexity on the nose; the richness of fruit nuances is enhanced by hints of minerals and dark-coloured spices, closing on a note of rhubarb and thyme. The palate is immediately exciting, with a nice tension that is vibrant and dynamic thanks to the fine layered tannic texture and an important minerality which accompanies it through the deep finish.”
One of the best things in visiting wineries is being given the possibility of trying the wines in their different phases of evolution from the grape must to wine. With Alessandro at the helm, I tried the Rosè and the Vermentino must. Still in their early stages of vinification, they were already showing off their characteristics in becoming future wines to look out for.
I also tried the Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 which are aging separately in their separate French oak barriques. They still have a long aging period to go through but the taste-olfactory characteristics are pointing towards great wines ahead.
Poggio Cagnano Boutique Winery is driven forward by Alessandro Gobbetti and partners where they strive to produce organic wines and extra virgin olive oil. Their wines represent the rich Maremma terroir in Tuscany and enhanced by their method of vinification. Their goal is to created a limited annual production of about 8,000 bottles of top quality wines.