Thursday, November 17, 2022

Brunello 2018 and Riserva 2017 "en primeur" in London

Exceptional tasting today of Brunello di Montalcino en primeur: 2018 vintage and 2017 "riserva" (aged one extra year). Kudos to the organizers Hunt and Speller, a sure bet when talking Italian wine in London. Unusually, instead of the traditional walkaround, we were assigned individual tables and a team of helpful waiters and waitresses poured the wines we requested in batches of six. A much more pleasant and efficient organization. Presumably the first event of such kind in the UK!

A few facts from the useful catalogue provided: Montalcino only sports 2000 ha of production for Brunello and 500 ha for its little brother Rosso di Montalcino and this total surface area has not increased for some time. What has increased is the world's knowledge and appreciation for Brunello's 10 million bottles or so that hit the market every year! These are lovingly cultivated by some 260 producers.

Some dates to remember: DOC received in 1966, Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino created in 1967, DOCG received in 1980.

Not that anyone needs reminding, but Brunello can only be made with 100% sangiovese, the iconic Tuscan variety. Maximum yield is 52 hl/ha. Minimum 24 months aging in oak casks, minimum 4 months aging in bottle (6 for riserva) and release not earlier than 1st january of the 5th year after harvest (6th for riserva).

One reason Brunello is so popular, despite rising prices, is probably that it is a versatile wine: its velvety elegance can be paired with a wide range of food: obviously red meat but also many pasta sauces and lots of roasted or baked dishes, including fish.

Below a few tasting notes for the best of the best today. It was a hard choice as all Brunellos are good wines, most are excellent and quite a few are exceptional. But here is my list of stars which I scored 90 and above, best on top.

Let's get started!

Pian delle Querci, 2017 riserva, 97

Tenuta Conte Pavoni - Loacker Wine Estates, 2017 riserva Molino al Vento, 40yo vines,biodynamic, 97

Fattoria dei Barbi, 2017 riserva, some vines 45+yo, 96

Casa Raia, 2018, 47-year-old vines, organic, 96

Patrizia Cencioni, 2018, 96

Fattoria dei Barbi, 2018 Vigna del Fiore, 96

Pian delle Querci, 2018, 96

Casisano, 2017 riserva, 95

Ruffino, 2018 Greppone Mazzi, organic, 95

Ruffino, 2017 Greppone Mazzi riserva, organic, 95

Castello Banfi, 2017 riserva, needs time, 94

Salicutti, 2017 Teatro, 94

Fattoi, 2017 riserva, 94

Capanna, 2017 riserva, 40+yo vines, 94 

Col d'Orcia, 2015 riserva, 45yo vines, 93

Tenute Silvio Nardi, 2018 vigneto Manachiara, 93

Mocali, 2017 riserva, 93

Paradiso di Cacuci, 2017 riserva, organic, 92

Altesino, 2018 Vigna Montosoli, organic, 92

Le Gode, 2018 Vigna Montosoli, organic, 92

See you next time

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