This Young Wino:

a new online Asia-based wine journal for young winos by young winos.

WWOOFing at Castello di Potentino

If you didn't know already from my Instagram, I spent September to December of this year gallivanting around Europe after wrapping up my au pair contract in Vienna at the end of August. The route more or less followed my idea of the Grand Tour. I started up north in Milan—skipping Venice because I was there in May with sis—then headed to Turin (BTW LOVE wines from Alba, for another post), through to Reggio Emilia where a friend lived (day trip to Bologna, natch), and ending with an epic train journey from Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence, Pisa and Grosseto (in that order) AND a final bus ride from there to the local town of Castel del Piano before being picked up for a ride to the castello.

Castello di Potentino is an estate situated near the town of Seggiano, ran by winemaker Charlotte Horton and her brother, Alexander Greene. The castello is all my Stealing Beauty (1996) dreams come true, with all the rolling hills, quaint villages and Monte Amiata. Admittedly I had started with an intensely romantic view of harvesting under the Tuscan sun. Nevertheless I carried with me an earnest attempt to learn more about viticulture and working with my hands, knowing that I will most likely spend the next stage of my life in a big city either in Asia or Canada. 

The varietals grown there were sangiovese, alicante and pinot noir. The place is a damn well oiled WWOOF machine. A team of WWOOFers, such as yours truly, harvested and processed the grapes along with Uran (Charlotte's no. 2). I knew WWOOFing would include mostly heavy manual labour but I was still surprised at the physical strenuousness of the experience: lifting crates, carrying bottles, moving stacks etc. We also spent a couple of days bottling, which included one over-enthusiastic session at the corking machine resulting a few double corked bottles (sorry!). 

In the end I parted ways with the vineyard earlier than planned (2 weeks as opposed to a month) as I felt we weren't spending as much time harvesting or learning about the wine as I'd liked. There were just way too many people WWOOFing, who I felt, weren't all that interested in winemaking particularly to begin with. Thus I decamped from the glamourous and comfy environs of the castello to another vineyard, which offered the more intimate learning experience that I was craving for. Still, I remain grateful for Charlotte for my first harvesting experience and some advice on wine books.

Last night for my mum's birthday, I bought my two WWOOF wines with me (we ate lamb if you were wondering). The birthday lady (mum) picked Potentino to start but of course didn't manage to get to the second bottle with me. Since I certainly wasn't going to drink my precious WWOOF wines by myself (!), I decide to save the other for a quiet NYE with the fam. Here is my first attempt at writing tasting notes after brief crash course courtesy of Wine Folly. I have to start somewhere somehow.

Since I probably won't manage a post before the New Year's, have a great start to 2016!

P.S. Still figuring out how to index/categorize/tag everything but I'll have a system worked out once there are a more blog posts.


Castello di Potentino, Sacromonte, 2011, I.G.T. Toscana

Region: Seggiano, Tuscany, Italy. Varietal: Sangiovese.

Berry, fruity, full bodied and not to heavy on the tannins



WWOOFing Round 2: Mulini di Segalari

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