2020 Il Sasso, Carmignano from Piaggia : 'A thrill ride on the palate' and 'a total knock-out' from Tuscany

2020 Il Sasso, Carmignano from Piaggia : 'A thrill ride on the palate' and 'a total knock-out' from Tuscany

2020 Il Sasso, Carmignano from Piaggia
'A thrill ride on the palate' - Eric Guido

£165 per 6 bottle case in bond


One of our most successful offers this year focused on the wines of Piaggia, a Tuscan estate based in the commune of Poggio a Caiano within the Carmignano DOCG, about 14 kilometres west of Florence. That offer focused on their outstanding Cabernet Franc as well as the Carmignano Riserva; the latter sold out in a matter of hours, and well it should, as these are truly breathtaking wines.
I am pleased to offer their entry level Carmignano today, which left everyone impressed when we tasted it as a team a few weeks back. All the Piaggia wines are a joy to taste even at a young stage, and reveal an easily won ripeness allied to a terrific freshness, clarity, and purity. Such a sense of poise is not easily achieved; it is down to a combination of factors, such as the vineyard site itself, the viticultural practices employed, and the winemaking decisions taken. Above all, it is down to a fanatical focus on quality.

It is not often that you can find this quality for £165 per 6 bottle case in bond. I could share my note, but frankly my view overlaps with Eric Guido’s glowing endorsement on Vinous; please see his note below, which says it all:


Piaggia_Il Sasso Carmignano DOCG 2019

2020 Il Sasso, Carmignano, Piaggia  
£165 per 6 bottle case in bond

94 points, Eric Guido, Vinous
An intense mix of black raspberry, wild herbs, air-dried meats and smoke form an incredibly deep and characterful bouquet as the darkly alluring 2020 Carmignano Il Sasso opens in the glass. For all of its animalistic nature on the nose, this is remarkably finessed and vivid on the palate. Saline-infused acids energize tart berry fruits. This finishes only lightly structured, marrying a bitter cherry pit twang with hints of blood orange that keep me looking back to the glass for more. The 2020 may be a thrill ride on the palate today, but with a short stay in the cellar, I expect it to explode aromatically. A total knock-out. 2024-2032.

Some background on the estate:
The estate was established in the 1970s by Mauro Vannucci, who was drawn to this location as he was convinced that he could produce a great Carmignano from this site, given its excellent exposure. The first vintage of Piaggia Carmignano Riserva that he produced was the 1991, and it was around this time that he supplemented the estate’s vineyard holding with an additional 15 hectares in a prime area near the centre of the Carmignano district. It is Mauro’s daughter, Silvia, who is the current owner of this 25-hectare estate, which comprises five different vineyard parcels.

Carmignano, despite being historically recognised for the quality of its wines, is a very small DOCG, or appellation, covering around 110 hectares today. To place that into context, the entire DOCG is about the size of the vineyard mass of Château Lafite-Rothschild, with the crucial difference being that it is shared between some 20 or so producers. The Apennines exert a significant influence here; there is a wide range in daily temperatures that assist in retaining freshness and aromatics, and the soils consist of limestone and are well-drained. Along with the indigenous Sangiovese, the Cabernets, Franc and Sauvignon, play a role in many of the wines in Carmignano, but these are no recent additions to the rollcall of varieties grown here – Catherine de’ Medici is said to have brought the varieties to the hills of Carmignano in the 16th century when she became queen of France.
In Eric Guido’s review on vinous.com, I read with interest that the Vannuccis have their eyes set on expansion as they believe there are many undiscovered terroirs in Carmignano that are yet to be cultivated. Eric comments that ‘Some locations, just a stone's throw away from each other, would reveal drastically different soil types, from sandy clay to Galestro or layers of primary rock mixed with quartz.’  He goes on to add, ‘At this time, the vineyard totals stand at 22 hectares; yet, even as they grow, the quality here remains amazingly high. In fact, while many other wineries in Carmignano are starting to shine internationally, Piaggia remains its benchmark producer. With a focus on fruit and terroir, Silvia Vannucci continues to dial back on the use of new oak, and the wines really light up the palate as a result. However, oak is used throughout the portfolio as an accent more than an ingredient.’
And if you missed the previous offer, we have a handful of cases of the Cabernet Franc remaining:

2020 Cabernet Franc, Poggio de’ Colli, Piaggia
£348 per 6 bottle case including duty and VAT.

A pure Cabernet Franc produced from old French clones on the Poggio de’ Colli vineyard. Only fruit from the best plots is selected.
My note:
The Poggio de' Colli is breath-taking – I scribbled in my note that it is the kind of wine that the team at Pomerol’s Château Lafleur would appreciate, the quality of the Cabernet Franc is stunning. This shows deep in the glass, ripe berry fruits, red and dark, with a certain savoury note and subtle background toastiness on the nose. So pure and focused, with beautifully detailed tannins, ripe and fine. This is an incredibly refined Cabernet Franc – nothing forced, no heavy overlay of oak, just super subtle framing. There is a note of sweet spice and a mineral note that punctuates the finish. So easy to appreciate now, but this gets better and better in the glass. So impressive – that freshness and purity is utterly mesmerising. An exercise in refinement with a deep core of fruit and no lack of richness. This is special. Drink 2025 to 2035 (SL)
97 points, Eric Guido, vinous.com
The darkly alluring 2020 Cabernet Franc Poggio de' Colli takes its time in the glass, slowly awakening with a dusty mix of red currants, pepper-tinged rose, exotic curries and the slightest touch of animal musk that adds gravitas. This is velvety smooth yet finessed. It's cool-toned in feel with a potent wave of tart raspberry fruits that saturates the palate with savory spice and mineral tones. It leaves a coating of fine tannins and a staining of berry concentration through the finale, tapering off sapid and long, yet perfectly balanced. What a radiant vintage for the Poggio de' Colli, Piaggia's varietal Cabernet Franc. Revisit it in five years to see some real sparks fly. Drink 2026-2034.
Please let us know of your interest at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment as stocks are unsurprisingly limited.
All the best,
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