Poggio di Sotto & Badia a Passignano visit

I finished a vacation with my dad to Italy last week and we stopped at Badia a Passignano and then Poggio di Sotto on the drive down from Florence to Rome.

I visited Badia a Passignano 5 years prior and the tasting has changed slightly as they no longer pour Solaia on the same tour. However they did treat us with some additional wines that were not part of the “flight”.

We toured the property, a very old (several hundred years) monastery with monks who made wine and is now an Antinori property.

The grounds are immaculate with gardens, flowers, the vineyards and surrounding forests and hills.

Inside they keep the barrels but no wine is made on site. They make the wine over at the larger Antinori property 10 minutes up road.

Back inside the tasting room, right next to the Michelin star restaurant at the property; we had 4 pours. 2020 Badia a Passignano Gran Selezion Chianti Classico, 2021 50th anniversary Tignanello, 2021 Guado al Tasso and 2019 Pian delle Vigne Brunello.

The Badia a Passignano is a very high quality weekly wine IMO. The wine can age 10 years per our host Gabriel, but doesn’t need to. The 2020 was very open and I drank this down fairly quickly.

I left the 21’ Tig alone to give it more time and finished this last. 21’ Guado al Tasso, a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc; this wine to me is a tannic beast and should not be drunk young. I don’t find pleasure in this wine young and I would question how long it needs to open fully, 15 years?

The last pour of the regular tasting the Pian delle Vigne 19’ BdM was very nice. 19 BdM is a killer vintage and this wine is firing.

Gabriel was kind enough to open two additional bottles without asking, 2020 Cigliano and coravin’d two glasses of the Pian delle Vigne 18’ BdM Riserva. On my previous visit to Italy, no one poured a glass of Riserva even on request. The 18 Riserva is beautiful. I did not catch the price, but will likely buy a few bottles when I place an order.

The 2020 Cigliano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, also very very nice wine.

Antinori is their own importer and since they own Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, think Cask 23; they can ship direct to us in the states. Tig is €135 a bottle direct. I had an email the day prior for $189.99 for Tig and another this week for $190. To me there’s no reason to buy this wine stateside with €10 per bottle shipping. The 21’ Tig is a winner.

Poggio di Sotto - after lunch in Montalcino, we drove down to the winery and were buzzed into the gate. What a view from the top!

The parking lot is grass with olive trees separating cars.

They have a gorgeous view of the river and of Ciacci Piccolomini; which of course was the original owner of the vineyards Poggio di Sotto started with.

The winery was sold to Colle Massari around 2011. The new owners received not a single bottle of the old wine. So they had to go out and buy bottles in town to create a library. They were left just with the wines in barrel.

We toured the tank room and then downstairs in the barrel room where the soon to be Brunello is sleeping.

Back upstairs in the tasting room and our host Valentina has two Rosso’s 20 & 21, 1 BdM 2019 and shockingly 1 Riserva 18’ open for us.

The 20’ Rosso is immediately open for business, tremendous fruit and just really lovely wine. This is a wine I would like a half case or more of.

The 21’ Rosso has the bones, but is still too young. The wine did open some in the glass but I’d give this another year before enjoying.

19 BdM, the nose is fantastic. This wine is very highly rated in the vintage with a top 5 ranking? I slow drunk this and really gave it time to build in the glass. The wine started off light. Valentina says this is the house style. She’s telling me the history of the winery and how the son of the founder really didn’t want to be in the wine business and Colle Massari tried to buy them out for several years before he agreed.

As I slow sipped this, it grew and told me this is a wine we can lay sideways and expect to age gracefully.

They’ve got 27 vineyards (hope my memory is good as I took no notes), scattered from their hillside estate down to the river with a piano shaped vineyard downhill from the estate.

18 Riserva. This bottle was opened earlier in the day for a tasting and we were graciously offered without asking. It was ready to drink and easily enjoyable now. I thoroughly enjoyed the nose of this wine and it was even better to drink.

Without seeing pricing, I’m guessing it’s €500 per bottle. I have no clue what the wine costs. I ask Valentina for a price list, the wine isn’t cheap but is cheaper than buying in the US. Surprise, surprise; they also ship direct to the USA. I deferred buying since we’re in transit to Rome and pass through London on the way home. I’ll place an order after summer and stash away the BdM and Riserva and drink some Rosso for now.

Rosso’s on the left, BdM and Riserva on the right.

60% of their wines are imported to the USA. They had a group of around 6 coming in as we were leaving, also from the US.

I had to try the Grappa before leaving, don’t drink this before fishing your other wines. It will nuke your taste buds for a while

The countryside is gorgeous in and around Montalcino. They’re hoping that the appellations are optimized to help grow the area. I’m sure this will be confusing when and if it first happens but will be interesting to learn the different regions within BdM when they adopt this.


Great notes and pictures. I am a fan of Poggio di Sotto. The rosso drinks very well young and the BdM is great but IMHO needs time to mature

I concur with your assessment of the 2020 Poggio di Sotto Rosso. I tasted it at Enoteca di Piazza in May and picked some up in a mixed case.

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Sounds like great visits, nice notes!

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That’s Amazing, it is a great trip!

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@Jeff_M1 Fantastic report, thank you for all these details. Other than singles, the only PdS I’ve picked up recently is the 2019 Rosso. Looking forward to it!

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Did you speak Italian, English or some combo during the tours?

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Thanks for the report. We’re considering Tuscany for next summer. I’m really surprised that wines that are so heavily exported to the US would offer cellar door purchase and shipping that would undercut their MSRP. Poggio di Sotto wine in particular are very expensive in the US.

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English, they obviously have Italian available if you are fluent.

3 tier system markup + import always makes foreign wine more expensive here.

Looks like some of these are less expensive buying in bond in the UK, but then you still need to ship them over.

Yes, I’m well aware of the system (I own a restaurant and in my youth worked in all phases of the business at one point or another). What I find really surprising is that such a huge brand, like Antinori (12 million+ bottles per year), would do that and undercut their US MSRP. Also, I find it surprising that an expensive brand that exports 60% of its wines to the US, like Poggio di Sotto, would do something similar.

But do we know that they are undercutting MSRP? Do they get to set final MSRP? Or do they simply sell to an importer at their price and then each tier adds their cut? I’m actually curious, but can see how there may be no such thing as true MSRP for a foreign producer as it relates to actual US retail, or, to the extent that there is, these producers may be selling at prices which are at or above their expected MSRP, but the reality in the US is still higher after everyone steps on the wine en route.

Beautiful notes and pictures - thank you!

I’m going this fall, too. Did you make a reservation for poggio di sotto winery?

Yes with Colle Massari. They had different options for tastings, experiences. Ours was $175 EUR per person, so not cheap.

I was very surprised by the relative low cost to buy and ship wine. When I was there in May, I bought a mixed case at Le Chiuse. The BdM was €65 and the Rosso €25. It was €110 to ship the case, so just under €10 per bottle. The US prices go about $100 and $45 respectively, without shipping and tax.

I also bought a mixed case at Enoteca di Piazza in Montalcino. The prices there were really good on some things and on others, maybe comparable to US pricing, but it only cost me €57 to ship the case, plus I got a huge pour of 2020 Sassicaia on the house. :+1:t2: