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Under a Good Start

The evenings have started to become cooler and the stars are more visible in the night sky. In fact, the nights were extremely important for this harvest, because they provided freshness for the vines and for those of us who were picking the grapes. I’ve never known such intense heat. This is an unusual year: it’s hard to know how to prepare oneself for a vintage that was over two weeks early. As always, we’ll have to wait before giving our judgement on the wines. What we can say, though, is that yields are down and that the grapes were perfect and with higher than usual sugar levels. The wines have deep colours, even the Sangiovese. We picked and vinified more grapes than ever, encouraged by a market which is only too happy to accept wines that express the soul of their region of origin without having to be unduly concentrated. A wine has to be easy to drink, and we still get excited by more elegant wines like Pinot Noirs, Brunellos and Barolos.

We are taking great heart from the complementary notes of those who taste wines on a regular basis, and especially from those of Antonio Galloni. I don’t know much about him, but I can say that he knows how to really get inside a wine, prise out its secrets and reveal its true nature. This ability for men to get on the same wavelength as a wine really does exist! I’ve said it again and again: I have great admiration for such people. I am certain that Antonio Galloni doesn’t know Podere San Cristoforo; he’s never held the ochre stones of the Carandelle vineyard in his hands or felt the clayey sand of the Morello site slip through his fingers (these are alluvial soils that have come down from the metal-bearing hills). Yet he can perceive the mineral notes and the balsamic fragrance that pervades the air of the coast, strewn as it is with cluster pines, rosemary bushes and eucalyptus trees. It is impossible, during the summer nights, not to close one’s eyes – and raise one’s nose in order to sniff in the lavender mixed with brine – and then open them up to gaze at the stars, both far and near: those stars that seem to decide whether a vintage is going to be good or bad. I thank Antonio Galloni for not having any prejudices and just wanting to listen to the wine in his glass. Because love means knowing how to listen, and he does so admirably.

Antonio Galloni in The Wine Advocate (Robert Parker) #196 – August 2011- writes:

Podere San Cristoforo is one of the most exciting young properties in Maremma. Proprietor Lorenzo Zonin is just beginning to find his range with these highly promising wines.

SAN CRISTOFORO 2009 – 92 points
The 2009 Maremma Toscana Podere San Cristoforo is 100% Petit Verdot that spent 10 months in French oak. It is a racy, sleek wine that impresses for its elegant texture and richness rather than for its varietal character, of which there is relatively little. Dark red fruit, spices, minerals and cassis wrap around the super-ripe, expressive finish. Taken on its own terms, this is a very pretty wine.

CARANDELLE 2009 – 92 points
The 2009 Sangiovese Carandelle is a gorgeous, layered wine graced with sweet red cherries, minerals, flowers and spices, all of which come together beautifully in this highly attractive feminine red. The Carandelle offers exceptional balance through to the refined finish. The Carandelle spent ten months in barrel.

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