- Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
Poderi Sanguineto I & II is Dora Forsoni’s 50-hectare family estate in Montepulciano in southern Tuscany. The “I & II” is a reference to the property’s origin as a feudal farm divided into 8 sharecropping parcels: Sanguineto lies on parcels 1 & 2. Just 6 of those 50 hectares are planted to vines. Dora started working in the vineyard alongside her father back in 1968. He taught her how to tend their old vines of Prugnolo Gentile (the Montepulciano variant of Sangiovese), Mammolo, Canaiolo and Nero Toscano—organically farmed always—and how to make very traditional wines. But he sold off most of the fruit in bulk; Dora scrapped that practice in 1997 and began bottling Sanguineto wines for the first time.
Dora walks and works in the vines all day every day and has a very keen eye and confident touch. There are zero chemicals used here and the soils are worked up to 3 times per year. Treatments are entirely organic and relatively few in application compared to those of her neighbors. Dora even revitalizes very old vines by cutting them off at their base and allowing a new vine to grow from the old trunk, a very old-fashioned and rare local practice; any brand-new plantings are selection massale. Organic olive trees (harvested for the pressing of oil) and wildlife (harvested for the dinner table) abound in the vineyard.
Harvest is by hand. The fruit is fully destemmed, gently enough that many berries remain whole. The pressing is long and slow in order to get carefully to the meat of the grape nearest the seeds; Dora feels that it is from here that the sweetest, more complex flavors can be elicited. The must is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats; aging takes place in variously sized oak botti. Interestingly, only one red wine is vinified—it is always declared at harvest as a future Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
But as the different vessels of the wine evolve, Dora decides what will be bottled as Rosso di Montepulciano,“regular” Vino Nobile and sometimes Vino Nobile Riserva and then ages them for a total one, two and three years respectively. She is adamant about her philosophy and practice of un’annata, uno vino, tre espressioni (“one year, one wine, three expressions”) and considers any pre-determining or selecting in the vineyard to be anathema to transparency of terroir and vintage. Dora’s wines, like their maker, are not shy. They are earthy, robust and expressive, with a striking purity that is so rare in Montepulciano wines today. Sanguineto is truly singular.