Potazzine is the Italian word for very colourful and vivacious birds which inhabit the Tuscan countryside. In Montalcino, grandparents and parents alike often use potazzine as a term of enderment for children. In face, it was their maternal grandmother who affectionately gave this nickname to Viola and Sofia who are the daughters of Gigliola Gorelli, owners of the estate and genuinely authentic locals of Montalcino.
“Le Potazzine makes one of the most pedigreed Rossos readers will come across.” – Antonio Galloni
“Le Potazzine Gorelli always delivers a delicate touch with its territory-inspired wines.” – Monica Larner
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 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 it describes a highly-colored bird noted for its loveliness and happiness, after the nickname Gigliola’s mother had given her two young daughters. 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 temperature 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 5ha with an extra 1.5 ha purchased in Sant’Angelo in Colle) are classified for the production of Brunello, so the Rosso is of course declassified Brunello. Potazzine has always worked organically, but from 2019 all wines will be certified organic (even if not stated on the label).