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Allegrini and U.S. Importer Buy Tuscany's Poggio San Polo

Partnership's second major investment--of about $13.5 million--nets them 52 acres of vines and a newly built winery

Jo Cooke
Posted: June 5, 2007

Marilisa Allegrini, family owner of the Allegrini estate in Veneto, and Leonardo Lo Cascio, head of U.S. wine importer and distributor Winebow, have jointly purchased and amalgamated two Montalcino estates: Poggio San Polo and Montluc. The purchase price for the Montalcino estates has not been officially disclosed by either party, but local reports have estimated a price of up to $13.5 million. The currently quoted price for 1 acre planted to Sangiovese and specified for the production of Brunello di Montalcino is $191,000 to $218,000.

This is the second joint investment by Allegrini and Lo Cascio in the Tuscan region. In 2001, they acquired Poggio al Tesoro, 110 acres of prime vineyards in the equally prestigious coastal area of Bolgheri. There they produce two Toscana IGT wines, the Cabernet-Merlot blend Sondraia and the pure Cabernet Franc called Dedicato a Walter, named after Walter Allegrini, Marilisa's late brother.

"We are very enthusiastic about our new adventure," said Allegrini. "We now have projects in two of Tuscany's most important areas. We like to think of Bolgheri as 'innovative' and Montalcino as 'historic.'"

The two newly acquired estates, both formerly belonging to the Fertonani family, together comprise 52 acres, located in the area south of the town of Montalcino. The largest portion, 39.5 acres of south-southeast facing vines, includes nearly 20 acres designated for the production of Brunello di Montalcino.

The newly formed estate, which will take the name of Poggio San Polo, is equipped with a modern, state-of-the-art underground winery built by the previous owners and finished in time for the 2006 vintage. It features a natural ventilation system and cement fermenting vats.

Allegrini and Lo Cascio have hired top Tuscan consulting enologist Carlo Ferrini to supervise production in both the vineyards and the winery. Ferrini already consults for a number of Brunello wineries, including Casanova di Neri, which produced last year's Wine Spectator Wine of the Year, the 2001 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino.

According to Allegrini, there are no immediate plans to change the current lineup of the estate's wines, amounting to about 5,800 cases of red wine, of which 2,500 are Brunello and the rest divided between Rosso di Montalcino and two super Tuscans, Mezzopane (a blend of Merlot and Sangiovese) and Rubio (100 percent Sangiovese).

Poggio San Polo's Brunello di Montalcino has consistently achieved outstanding ratings since the 1997 vintage, the turning point for the estate. That year its Brunello scored 95 points in Wine Spectator's regular blind tastings.

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