"You may be lucky and find some of the remaining bottles on your travels. I hope you do and I hope you will try them"by Barry Smith / March 26, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
From time to time, there are wines you fall in love with: unexpected, prized bottles that usually come with a story. The recent release of the 2010 Brunellos reminded me of one of mine. It was Poggio di Sotto, a spectacular Brunello di Montalcino, which has a Rosso di Montalcino as its younger sibling. I first came across these wines in the unlikely setting of a pizza restaurant—but this was no ordinary pizza restaurant. Otto’s, on Eighth Street in New York, is the casual dining venue of Mario Batali, whose many restaurants serve New York’s endless appetite for Italian food. It has an all-Italian list of more than 300 exceptional wines.
My introduction to Poggio di Sotto—the Rosso—came through a recommendation of the sommelier following a prolonged discussion. I had my doubts at first—for a Rosso, it came at an eye-watering price—but when poured my friends and I marvelled at the wine, a deep but not quite black cherry red with intoxicating aromas, ripe fruit and forest. On the palate, lush, dense and complex; one of those wines we like to call complete, with everything you are looking for and all the parts in the right place. It had a long satisfying finish, an assurance of something very finely made. This was the 1996.
A year later I made the acquaintance of the 1997. Happening to have some time in Manhattan before an afternoon flight, I decided on Otto’s once again for an early lunch. The sommelier remembered me and I asked about the Poggio di Sotto. Very difficult to source, I was told. But he had one bottle left of that year’s allocation: why didn’t I have some over lunc…
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