There are wines that, right from their name, transcend what the experience in the glass will be. They are those iconic faces of oenology that in one word are capable of summarizing every aspect of their essence and identity. In this group, a special club reserved for a few, there is also a son of Valpolicella Classica signed by Allegrini which embodies the history of an entire territory, of a grape variety and of a family: La Poja. It is on the suitable hills of the municipality of Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella that a small vineyard is located, just under three hectares planted in Corvina, which represents much more than a simple Cru. It is here, at 320 meters above sea level. that the legend served as a prelude to the intuition, which later proved to be more than successful, of a man moved by a profound love for his land.
The story of Giovanni Allegrini’s intuition, spark of a revolution in Classic Valpolicella
It was 1979, when Giovanni Allegrini, a pioneer of hill viticulture and bottled quality in Valpolicella, reached the plain, at the time long uncultivated and abandoned, on the top of La Grola, planting a vineyard: a magical place, synonymous of Corvina grapes. In fact, legend has it that the symbol of the native Veronese grapes was born on these slopes. And it is still on this particular hill that its very black and sweet bunches express their potential to the maximum.
La Poja itself was the spark of a revolution, a creation that entered directly into myth as well as an element of fracture between the before and after of wine in Valpolicella.
The transition, first of all, from the traditional Pergola to the Guyot. However, the density of plants per hectare also changes, more than double: a solution identified to contain the vigor of Corvina, reducing yields in favor of a greater concentration of grapes.
Finally, the exaltation of a truly unique terrain: that of a hill, which insists on a limestone layer, ending with a perfectly flat platform called Monte Poja, which enjoys an exceptional microclimate and is favored by an ideal exposure. Of Cretaceous origin, with a limestone content of 78.5%, of which 16.78% is active, it has a perfectly white surface which, by reflecting sunlight and facilitating the photosynthesis process, guarantees the grapes to reach optimal sugar and phenolic maturation levels. The soil of the La Poja vineyard, rich in Potassium and Calcium, poor in Magnesium and Iron, is characterized by very little soil: the lack of organic substance on the surface pushes the roots of the vines into the deep layers, where they can absorb a multiplicity of trace elements that contribute to the extraordinary complexity of the wine produced here.
La Poja in the glass: the Corvina vertical on tour
La Poja is a great, refined and deep red, where fruit, spices and balsamic notes blend perfectly. A wine which, after four years of refinement, is fresh and crunchy, full of aromas of aromatic and medicinal herbs, spicy, full-bodied and long-drinking.
For one of the two Allegrini labels, together with the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva Fieramonte, to have conquered, the first ever for Valpolicella, La Place de Bordeaux, the beating heart of the international market for high quality wines. But to further broaden its horizons, La Poja was in 2024 at the center of a project that took it to the heart of London, with an extraordinary vertical that marked the debut of a tour that will bring the iconic reference to the main international stages.
Real comparisons, back and forth between Masters of Wine and industry professionals called to share thoughts and reflections in front of a glass that aims to excite sip after sip.
“For me La Poja represents the emblem of a wine strongly guided by the place of origin which expresses itself with great uniqueness: a vine, a vineyard, the representation that adheres to the vintage”, underlines Cristina Mercuri, “orchestra conductor” at the London tasting. “We are talking about the iconicity of Corvina: the stylistic signature has not changed much over time, but the amazement comes from recognising, year after year, an increasingly fine and precise hand. The fruit is increasingly defined and the body graceful despite its generosity. The natural characteristics such as the calcareous soils, the exposure and the altitude, but also the Guyot breeding system reward a dense, balanced, long palate. It is the right way to obtain wines that last for decades, such as the Corvina in La Poja”.
But which was the year that most surprised? “Definitely the 1997 for its grace, elegance and enthusiasm,” replies the expert wine educator. “Still a lot of fruit accompanied by pleasant notes of undergrowth and tobacco. The acidity is vibrant yet very integrated, the resolved tannins stretching across the mid-palate and supporting the long, powdery finish.”
La Poja conquers the tables of Michelin star restaurants
If today it is the longevity of the iconic Allegrini label placed in the spotlight, last year La Poja was at the center of another important initiative, with a promotion by the glass combined with equally unique creations on the plate which reached more than 30 restaurants, mainly starred, throughout Italy.
“Never more than today, in haute cuisine – and not only – is it essential to offer a wide choice of alternatives to the glass, ranging from ready-to-drink and high-rotation products, up to great wine monuments”, underlines Paolo Porfidio, head sommelier of Terrazza Gallia.
“La Poja, for me, represents the maximum expression of power and elegance of Valpolicella: the fruit of careful and constant work in the vineyard and in the cellar. A very versatile wine, capable of accompanying and enhancing dishes with structure and complexity.”
“In addition to the sensorial characteristics that make it an excellent accompaniment to the table, being able to give the guest the opportunity to taste even just a glass of La Poja means bringing them closer, making them discover – and possibly rediscover – not only a great red, but also a territory wonderful which, thanks to performers like the Allegrini family, manages to offer immense diversity and quality”.
And this is how exciting new chapters of a legend that has become myth in the glass are still being written today.