Monday, 28 September 2009

"Hot from Pot" Harvesting

Not a dull momento here at Pot. We have taken the grapes skins off the Pinot Noir after fermentation, the 'Piropo' 2009 vat. It is now 'dry' wine and has a deep purple red hue. You want to dive into the velvety colour and disappear into its rich oblivions if you peer into the expanse of the vat.

We have taken the 'white' off its sediment. It is becoming paler and is sweetest twilight pinkling with a twinge of amber dawn. The bouquet is a divine secret. You will have to wait until February. It is to be called "Lyncurio" as suggested by that great mandarin of gemmology and pyrotechnics - Ben Gaskell of Gaskell Quartz. This is a mysterious stone which has magical properties , related to Jacinth or perhaps an amber, and much associated with Bacchus. I quote from Ovid's Metamorphosis

Vine-wreathed Bacchus
Received from conquered India, a gift
Of lynxes, beasts whose urine, so men say,
Changes to stones, congealing in air.

We have bottled "Piropo" 2007 and harvested the Alicante and some of the Sangiovese that was about to get a bit shrivelly. Very clean and promises well. Acidity and so on is good. The weather is still hot with lovely Autumn chill at night and the chestnuts from the mountain will be ready any day now. We have started lighting the fires.

We are hoping to bottle the rest of the 2007 early this week but due to bucreaucratic bungling in the miasma of the Grosseto agricultural institutions we have to wait another week for the tasting commission to pass the wine as D.O.C . Luckily the weather is holding out so we are going to do 12 hour sessions of bottling at the last minute in order to empty the vats for the rest of the harvest. Touch and go. It is infuriating but typical - the structures that should serve the producer serve only the structure at the expense of the product.

I have included in photo fun something we ate. I will expand this into our food section called "Yumyum" and will write up the formulas. More news later.

Thought for the day

"A shut mouth catches no flies."
Marlene Dietrich in Von Sternberg's

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy by Nicolas Belfrage

Nicolas Belfrage, a loyal supporter of Potentino from the very beginning, has included us in his new book about the finest wines in Central Italy- a great compliment.

I have just ordered a copy from you can get a taste (of the book, not the wine, unfortunately) from the Look Inside function too- the bete noir for me as publisher, but great for me as customer...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

NEWS & REVIEWS-2010 edition of GUIDA Espresso Sacromonte 2006 awarded 5/5 bottles VINO D'Eccellenza

2010 edition of GUIDA Espresso
Sacromonte 2006 awarded 5/5 bottles
VINO D'Eccellenza

We have taken on a new wine distributor in the UK and Ireland -From Vineyards Direct- who has very kindly agreed to give special promotional terms to our friends.

From Vineyards Direct are offering the wines at the very reasonable prices of:
Sacromonte 2005 £9.95 a bottle/ £119.40 a case
Piropo 2005 - £12.95 a bottle/ £155.40 a case

For orders of 3 cases or more of our wines :-
Sacromonte - £9.45 a bottle/£113.40 a case
Piropo - £12.45 a bottle/£149.40 a case

Delivery is included in the above prices - if you wish to take advantage of these prices for these larger orders please let either ourselves or let FromVineyardsDirect know at - otherwise please place your orders directly with

In the 2009 Guida Espresso they said:
2005 Sacromonte 16.5/20.
'strong, robust, energetic'

2005 Piropo 17.5/20
'kaleidoscopic, fresh, aromatic"

In association with Simon Hoggart, The Spectator and From Vineyards Direct we are happy to announce that SACROMONTE 2005 is in The Wine Club Offer of The Month in this month's issue of THE SPECTATOR.


Joanna Simon writes
2005 Castello di Potentino, Sacromonte, Montecucco Rosso
This is a dark, velvety, sangiovese with succulent sweet fruit and supple oak. Very definitely sangiovese, but not the dry, astringent school of Tuscan sangiovese or the jammy new world style. It carries its 14.5% abv effortlessly and is perfect for drinking now, but has plenty of life in it. Montecucco is a relatively new DOC in the province of Grosseto in the south of Tuscany between Montalcino and Scansano. Castello di Potentino is owned by Graham C Greene and the wine is made by Charlotte Horton.
£9.95, From Vineyards Direct

Photo fun Pinot Harvest

Hot from Pot

Charlotte Horton was born in Chelsea, London, in 1963. She took her degree in Literature and then worked for Vogue magazine, Secker and Warburg, the publishing house, and then as a free lance journalist. In 1988, she became active in Italy.

Her family has owned and restored property in the Province of Grosseto for over 40 years, including two of the area's most important architectural monuments, the Castello di Montepo and currently, the Castello di Potentino. Her activities have consisted of wine, food and olive oil production, restoration, event organizing, cultural promotion and such like. She has been making wine for 18 years.

The Castello di Potentino is situated in the Grosseto area, on the slopes of the Monte Amiata near Seggiano. The foundations of the Castle date from Etruscan times and the main structure is Renaissance. The estate is made up of 4 hectares of D.O.C Montecucco vineyards and about 500 ancient olive trees, the Olivastra Seggianese variety, indigenous to the area. The estate received five out of five stars in The Guida Espresso 2007, and our out of five in Decanter 2004. Last year Potentino was awarded a star for originality and continuity of quality from the Guida Espresso (along with estates such as Biondi Santi, Col D'Orcia, Querciabella) and five out of five stars again this year for the Sacromonte Sangiovese.

"Hot from Pot"

The Pinot Noir is happily bubbling in the vats. The bunches were splendid and firm. Sugar readings confirmed an alcohol content of about 13.5-14 so we picked. I had a heroic team, too many to mention, but you were all fantastic. Thanks.

I like to put proficient people in difficult corners. They usually perform better and so one may at least begin the arduous approach towards excellence as an escape. Obviously, this principle must apply to 'moi aussi' otherwise I would be a tyrannical hypocrite (silence at the back there, please). So, the great challenge for this year was to make a 'white' wine from the Pinot Noir (red grape.).

Quite honestly, I never really believed in the value of making a white in Tuscany because the environmental conditions are generally not right. However, here at the Castello di Potentino, we have a very particular micro- climate. Low - 380m, protected basin valley, right under the highest mountain in Tuscany, touch of sea air, ex volcano etc. etc .

After observation of the happiness of the Pinot Noir I planted here, I realised that the minerality of the soil (volcanic and therefore geologically new and bursting with energy) plus the nocturnal incursions of cold air at night, were influent enough to POSSIBLY... MAKE A GOOD WHITE WINE. So... we did.

Now, this involved a great deal of squishing and bucketing and finger crossing and new refrigeration plants with instruction manuals (which I have an inbuilt aversion to reading). You can see some of this going on in the photos so I am not giving away too many secrets about what we did because I can't really remember anymore anyway. However, I am sure it will be very good or not. What I can tell you is that we dumped all the grape skins (red) from the 'whitish' wine fermentation into the pinot noir 'Piropo' mix which is a super idea as it will make it even better. It might stain your clothes more if you slop it around too much before getting it into your mouth though, so make sure it gets in.

ps The moon was full so it should all be ok

Next episode soon. Taking the grapes skins out of the barrel from the Pinot Noir. Harvesting the Sangiovese and Alicante.

Thought for the day

'Without obsession, there is no excellence.'

Pu Song Ling, China