I’ve known Caroline Pobitzer and Jan Erbach since 2003 when their tiny winery was more of a Garage than anything else. I remember Jan climbing through an impossibly arranged stack of barrels in an incredibly small cellar under their house and just being stunned at how anyone could work like this and still create really good wine. Much has changed over the years and they now have an incredible winery building that Jan designed and they’ve added vineyards as well, they’re still tiny, just shy of 15 acres. Pian dell’Orino, is perched on a little plateau just above Biondi Santi just 2.5 kilometers from the town of Montalcino while the other 3 vineyards they have are another few kilometers away but still in the south-eastern corner of Montalcino near the Abbey of Sant’Antimo.
Jan would be upset if I portrayed him as a “winemaker” because the major portion of his work is in the vineyards, nature is his true passion (other than Champagne and Vinyl) he’s an ardent certified Organic (certified by ICEA) and Bio-Dynamic (certified by Demeter) farmer, if you’d like the whole story check out their website www.piandellorino.com. The wines are all 100% Sangiovese, all natural yeasts and unfiltered while the Brunello are all aged in 15-25hl barrels, the Rosso is aged in barrique (.25hl) and tonneaux (.5hl).
Mike “Guido” Parres and I tasted the 2012 Pian dell’Orino Rosso di Montalcino $39.99
in February while Guido and I were hanging in Jan’s “Man Cave” listening to his vinyl recordings of Frank Zappa, OK, that may not been what you thought our “work” was about, but one has to be flexible. We were struck by how incredibly delicious the 2012 Pian dell’Orino Rosso di Montalcino is, but it wasn’t the incredible “deliciousness” that makes this wine so special is its’ purity. Sangiovese when grown in the right soil and best methods is truly an eye into the soil, and Jan’s wines truly speak of their origins, the dirt, the yeast, the air, slope so many things that make each little vineyard site so different. The nose is full of a complex blend of earth, spice, plum, wild cherry, wild herbs, smoke, and shows a particularly savory side to it. On the palate the wine is true to its Sangiovese core with a long, central structure that stretches out the plum and wild cherry and intertwines the two with a mix of depth and tannic structure and then the spice shows up. So complex, building slowly, not jumping out, just a long, ever growing flavor…Stupendous. This wine will age easily for a decade but it is so good to drink now it’s OK to pop one tonight! I would decant the wine for 1-2 hours; Sangiovese always does better with air. This is a profound wine, and really a jewel only 441 cases were made, we’ve sewed up almost all that came to California, but don’t wait it will go in a hurry!
Ciao, Greg St.Clair K&L Italian Wine Buyer