Few estates in Montalcino can count an in-house enologist as an owner, but Giuseppe Gorelli of Le Potazzine is just that. Before founding his own estate, he worked as an enologist at the Consorzio del Brunello for 15 years with the great Giulio Gambelli, the man behind Le Pergole Torte and the 100% Sangiovese movement in Tuscany.
In the late 1980s, Giuseppe came home to roost at his father’s tiny estate near Castiglione del Bosco, known as Due Portine, and started making traditionally-crafted, artisan Brunello, which he produced from vintages 1987 to 1998.
In 1993, while running Due Portine, Giuseppe and his wife Gigliola purchased a 3.5 hectare farm at 500 meters above sea level right next door. They named it ‘Le Potazzine,’ which in the dialect of Montalcino describes a colorful bird noted for its loveliness and happiness, after the nickname Gigliola’s mother had given her two young daughters, Viola and Sofia.
In 1998, Giuseppe’s father sold Due Portine, and the couple concentrated their efforts at Le Potazzine. The results thrilled clients and critics alike, and though it was the “moment of the barrique,” Giuseppe and Gigliola never felt the need to experiment or change. The wines were always laser pure expressions of Montalcino terroir with an appealing elegance, and they remain so today.
Fermentations at the cantina are traditional: done at ambient temperatures with natural yeasts; and long: up to 30 days for both Brunello and Rosso. Both wines age in Slavonian oak casks of 30-50 hectoliters; Brunello for 42 months, and Rosso up to 12 months. All of Le Potazzine’s vineyards (now measuring 5 hectares with an extra 1.5 hectares purchased in Sant’Angelo in Colle) are classified for the production of Brunello, so their Rosso is of course declassified Brunello. Giuseppe has always worked organically, but from 2019 all wines will be certified organic (even if not stated on the label).
“Le Potazzine is one of the rising stars in Montalcino. Giuseppe and Gigliola Gorelli excel with classically built wines that capture the essence of this high altitude site just a few kilometers outside the city center.”
– Antonio Galloni
100% Sangiovese from the La Prata and La Torre crus. Fermentation and maceration occurs over 25 days. The wine matures in large oak casks for three months before bottling.
Le Potazzine Rosso di Montalcino
100% Sangiovese from two vineyards in Montalcino: ‘Le Prata’ with SE exposure at 500m above sea level; and ‘La Torre’ with SW exposure at 320m above seal level. Fermentation and maceration lasts 30 days. The wine then matures for 10 months in large oak cask before finishing in the bottle for 6 months before release.
100% Sangiovese from two vineyards in Montalcino: ‘Le Prata’ with SE exposure at 500m above sea level; and ‘La Torre’ with SW exposure at 320m above seal level. Fermentation and maceration lasts 30 days. The wine then matures for 40 months in large oak cask before finishing in the bottle for 12 months before release.