Wine Advocate 89 points - From the famed partnership of two of Tuscany’s landmark wineries that was initiated in 1988, the 2008 50&50 is a bold, oak-driven wine that is loaded tight with sweet spice, tobacco, prune and various layers of unidentified black fruit. The blend is equal parts Sangiovese (from Gaiole in Chianti) and Merlot (from Montepulciano), aged in French barrique for 24 months. Ultimately, the wine is more expressive of oak, than it is of fruit and this remains the case today, despite the considerable bottle aging. It shows deep concentration and sweet spice flavors followed by medium length that is indicative of the uneven vintage. The blueprint of the wine may need to be revisited, stylistically speaking. Drink: 2014-2022. (Oct 2014)
Wine Spectator 91 points - Concentrated black currant and cherry flavors add accents of chocolate, earth and sweet spices to this version, buoyed by dense tannins. Remains bright and fresh on the long, spice-tinged finish. Drink now through 2024. 200 cases imported. –BS
(Oct 31 2013)
Avignonesi is one of the oldest wineries in Italy. Like many historic estates, the origins of this emblematic winery parallel the movements of the Catholic Church. In 1377, when Pope Gregory XI moved the papal residence from Avignon back to Rome, one of the noble families who followed him to Italy eventually settled in Montepulciano, Tuscany and founded Avignonesi. Although it’s not quite clear when the family built the cellars, they are the foundation for Palazzo Avignonesi which was built in the mid-16th century. The recent renaissance of Avignonesi coincides with two particular milestones. When the Falvo brothers bought the property in 1974, they not only invested in much-needed repairs, but also redirected monies to improving viticulture and promoting indigenous varieties. More recently, in 2009 when Belgian businesswoman and minority stakeholder Virginie Saverys gained full control of the property, she immediately instigated a detailed geographical study of the property to discover the potential of this terroir. The results revealed previously unknown and important facts regarding soil diversity. Armed with this knowledge, Virginie and her team evaluate the unique characteristics of each parcel to determine the most suitable farming, vinification, pruning and planting methods. Under the watchful stewardship of the winemaking team, all 345 acres are farmed organically and the estate has applied for official certification. Today Avignonesi owns seven different properties, all of which sit at nearly 1,000 feet above sea level. The largest holding, Le Capezzine is comprised of a traditional vinsantaia and four different plots, (I Poggetti, Le Badelle, El Grasso and Banditella vineyards) which provide the grapes for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The La Selva and La Lombarda parcels are located in Cortona and planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The impact of origin in the creation of flavor is a fundamental premise to the minimalist winemaking philosophy at Avignonesi. Just as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vin Santo are considered benchmarks for its category so are the efforts of Virginie and her team as they strive to produce wines that offer authentic and inimitable expressions of terroir, vintage and varietal.