Wine Not? : Il Poggione

18 Mar

It all started 3 years ago. I was extremely fortunate to have been asked by my cousin Elise to spend a month of my summer working in some vineyards in Italy. My uncle is in the wine business and of the extensive list of international wine his company represents is Il Poggione, a winery in Sant’Angelo in Colle, Toscana. Although we had the luxury of our own apartment with a pool overlooking miles of rolling hills and vineyards, the work we did in the Il Poggione vineyards was brutal.. I passed out the first day on the job. After such a life changing experience I knew I needed to go back to visit. The winemaker’s family is one of the most generous and welcoming families I’ve ever met and I’ve kept in touch with the daughter, Francesca, since I left. I knew that this semester in Rome was my chance to go back and visit them, so we made it happen! Here’s a blast from the past..

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Our work crew

Our work crew

This trip back to Il Poggione was the ultimate relaxing girl’s weekend and I wish I had my cousin Elise along for the reunion! This time I went back with a somewhat intermediate knowledge of the Italian language and was so excited to use it! The weekend started off in the most American way possible : McDonald’s milkshake and cheeseburger at 6am. The trip was off to a bumpy start before we even got on the train. The departure sign said Grossetto (our stop) on Track 25, by the time we got there the train wasn’t there and we had 10 minutes to spare. We went into ultimate freak out mode and started sprinting throughout Termini Station with our backpacks, purses, and milkshakes in hand looking for anyone that could help. We finally asked a group of police who thankfully told us we were to get on the train to Genova which stopped at Grossetto.. we threw ourselves on the train with less than 1 minute to spare..

The train ride from Rome through Toscana is absolutely breathtaking. You pass through rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, covered with shepherds herding their cattle. The winemaker’s wife, Signora Bindocci, and their daughter, Francesca, generously picked us up from Grossetto and drove us back to Sant’Angelo in Colle which is a little town on top of a hill right outside Montalcino.

Sant'Angelo in Colle

Sant’Angelo in Colle

Since it’s off season, the vines are bare and the fields are empty which made for an even quieter and more relaxing getaway. The Bindocci’s were unbelievably accommodating to let us stay in the same apartment that I stayed in last time. Also due to it being too early in the year, there was only 1 other family staying in the 11 apartment farm house with us. The minute I walked through that door again I knew I was never going to want the weekend to end. And the backyard view.. to die for.

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We finally got to have the 'pillow talk' we've been waiting for!

We finally got to have the ‘pillow talk’ we’ve been waiting for!

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Halfway up the hill to Sant’Angelo is the Il Poggione winery. Francesca gave us the perfect tour with an explanation of the entire winemaking process and I’m proud to say that I understood and appreciated it so much more this time around. First we walked through winemaking room filled with huge vats where the fermentation process takes place. Next we walked downstairs to the fancy wine tasting table and then through to the cellars. One room is full of monstrous barrels that age the Brunello which takes longer than the Rosso di Montalcino which ages in much tinier barrels in the second room. The combo of the wine and wood scent is so powerful down there, but it made us really anxious for what came next!

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DSCN1037_2DSCN1042_2 DSCN1043_2The next part was hands down the best part of our Tuscan weekend. We walked across the courtyard to a big dining room on the top floor of a separate little building with ceiling to floor glass windows overlooking endless rows of vineyards. We sat at a table with my back against a crackling fireplace and began the Il Poggione wine tasting and classic Tuscan lunch. The adorable little cook named Fiorella shuffled out of the kitchen to serve us the most amazing meal I have had in Italy. I went to heaven with every bite I took and everything we ate came from the winery’s animals along with homemade pasta.

Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino

Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino

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Tagliatelle con ragu di cinghale (wild boar ragu)

Tagliatelle con ragu di cinghale (wild boar ragu)

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Steak Florentine

Steak Florentine

Cake with a sweet pink cream and crushed walnuts

Cake with a sweet pink cream and crushed walnuts

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Why did it have to end? Each of their wines were so delicious, but my favorite is the Lo Sbrancato rose because it’s so crisp and refreshing and reminds me of laying by the pool during the summer.. and who wouldn’t want to be reminded of that?! Allison and I devoured everything on our plates and even went for seconds on the steak, thinking that would be the best way to compliment the cook.. look at us fat Americans. This was adorable, while we were out exploring the rest of the day Fiorella surprised us by dropping off the rest of the cake in our apartment – which was inhaled as a late night snack and breakfast. I wish I could shrink her and carry her in my pocket so I could eat incredible 4 course meals like that all the time.

Smells like success

Smells like success

In order to digest the food baby inside us all, Francesca took us to the top of Sant’Angelo in Colle where her family and only 150 other people live. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone’s business and it’s impossible to hide anything from anyone. It’s really peaceful and exactly what you’d picture a Tuscan town to look like. She took us to her favorite lookout point and we stood in silence staring out at the land for a while.

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There is definitely a special place in my heart for Il Poggione, Sant’Angelo in Colle, and the Bindocci family. No matter what language barriers I might have with their family, they always show me an unforgettable time! Fingers crossed that this won’t be the last time I’m back to visit.

Until next time,

Ciao

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One Response to “Wine Not? : Il Poggione”

  1. Michael spidale March 19, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    That Girl, Marlo, I wish the Bindocci family could read your beautiful description of your second visit. Love you, your Nani Judy

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