Debut of the wine that embodies the visionary spirit of tradition: San Polo has become a laboratory of ideas by rediscovering and innovating winemaking in amphorae to best express the most authentic varietal characteristics of Sangiovese
With the pioneering, courageous, creative and eclectic vision that is so typical of San Polo, vintage 2020 has given rise to Amphora Vignamasso. Produced from a meticulous selection of Sangiovese grapes, this wine stems from the rich resources that led the company to work each vineyard separately, rediscovering their individual peculiarities. This philosophy has yielding Vignamasso, produced from a selection of grapes from Vigna del Masso, a vineyard facing west at 450 meters a.s.l that owes its name to the huge boulder of volcanic origin located at the entrance to the estate.
This new wine attests to an approach that enhances the main variety of the winegrowing district, Sangiovese, with a technique and experimentation in the cellar in which fermentation takes place in amphora, using whole bunches.
“Terracotta amphorae were used in ancient times as the earliest containers for wine. The wines fermented, aged and were transported in these amphorae on ships from one coast to another”, comments Marilisa Allegrini, owner of San Polo, an estate of 22 hectares in total, 16 of which are vineyards, immersed in the heart of Montalcino. “To readopt a technique employed in the past using the knowledge of the present, means to innovate in a perspective that has always been very dear to me: Understand the past, anticipate the future. Thanks to their organoleptic characteristics, nowadays amphora wines can be counted, stylistically, among the most modern. Terracotta makes it possible to express the identifying profile of the grape variety that yields the wine, guaranteeing natural micro-oxygenation and preserving the primary aromas”.
This is the inspiration that led to the creation of Amphora Vignamasso, which debuts on the market in 2022, in a limited edition of 5,000 bottles.
Vigna del Masso is a land parcel that is intriguing in its richness and diversity. “In its initial section, this captivating vineyard has a very clayey soil capable of retaining water. Climbing to the top of the estate, the slope increases and the ground becomes stonier and poorer. The vigor of the vines is reduced and the content within the berries is concentrated. The grapes from the vine rows present us with terrific surprises every year. The manual harvest, in condition of perfect ripeness, requires the most suitable grapes to be selected for winemaking in amphorae and terracotta jars. The winery therefore becomes a laboratory of ideas: we opt spontaneous fermentations and long natural macerations, based on the size and characteristics of the wine vessels, which are chosen after careful study and preparation. The first fermentation in wine jars takes place by introducing whole, not destemmed, grapes. Fermentation begins spontaneously, thanks to indigenous yeasts. The skin contact lasts for four months. Once the racking has been conducted, the wine is aged for eight additional months in amphorae, whose neutral properties confer no scent, thereby preserving the most authentic varietal characteristics. In the winery cellar, we allow the wine to express itself according to its own natural style, says Riccardo Fratton, winemaker, San Polo.
Bright ruby red in color, Amphora Vignamasso opens with fresh floral notes, jasmine, violet and rose, continuing with hints of small fruits and following with echoes of lavender, licorice and undergrowth. The finish exhibits interesting mineral aromas that make the olfactory profile multifaceted and complex.
The palate plays on a pleasant balance between the taut and the soft: the entry is complex and balanced, revealing a vertical vein, an indication of good structure. On the finish there are savory nuances that make it graceful and persistent.
The balance and the harmonious body of the wine allow natural pairings with traditional Tuscan dishes with an authentic and bold flavor such as first courses with mushroom or truffle sauce, red meat and game-based second courses, mixed grills and cheeses.
The offspring of an excellent vintage, 2020, Amphora Vignamasso is a welcome addition to the San Polo range and holds great promise to surprise even more in the coming years, thanks to its potential to evolve.
With this wine, San Polo confirms its status as one of the most innovative and experimental companies in Montalcino, entirely inspired by the principles of sustainability and social responsibility: the same sensitivity that informs every phase of the production process, which aims not only at quality but also at minimizing environmental impact from vineyards to winemaking, and from bottling to packaging. Everything is oriented towards respect for nature and people.