From 21 to 24 February the village of Montalcino was at the center of attention of the entire wine world. In the cloister of Sant’Agostino in the medieval village, in fact, one of the most anticipated previews of Italian wines of the year took place, that of Brunello di Montalcino . In addition to the presentation of the long-awaited 2015 vintage of Brunello released on the market after five years of aging, it was possible to taste over 500 labels from 140 wineries, from Brunello 2015 in debut to the Riserva 2014 version, from Rosso di Montalcino 2018 to Moscadello, up to Sant’Antimo. However, with the fame that the “king” of Sangiovese in purity has conquered all over the world, the protagonist of the event was naturally Brunello.
Brunello di Montalcino is now a symbol of Italian excellence, one of the most loved wines by wine lovers around the world. And in particular, the 2015 vintage was long awaited, having agreed with the most important critics in the world who gave extraordinary scores. Among them also the famous critic James Suckling , who defined 2015 as a historic year for Brunello di Montalcino. In fact, from the 187 Brunello di Montalcino, tasted by the famous preview critic, about half scored more than 95 points, and 11 were deemed perfect, with the extraordinary score of 100/100, an unprecedented fact.
2015 was a very rich and complex vintage and, in general, managed to maintain good freshness, despite the maturity and concentration of the fruit. In fact, it is a hot and dry vintage, but the water accumulation of the previous seasons has allowed the vineyards to cope well with the strong heat wave that occurred in July, resulting in a still balanced year. However, even if the overall quality is very high, some wines with a high level of alcohol and notes of cooked fruit have shown that Sangiovese is not favored by hot and dry vintages.
The expectations were therefore very high because the first criticisms were exceptionally enthusiastic. The Brunello di Montalcino Consortium, in fact, confirmed the optimism for the 2015 vintage which was awarded five stars, the highest score.
Among the tastings that excited me most during the 2020 preview , I remember:
1. Brunello di Montalcino Poggio di Sotto 2015 – Collemassari
This famous Brunello certainly needs no introduction. It is large but does not flaunt it, austere but very refined. The nose offers a charming bouquet with notes of ripe red fruits on a floral background and an elegant spiciness. Great persistence and aging potential.
2. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Stony
Produced with grapes from three distinct areas of Montalcino, allowing you to have a balanced wine even in difficult years. Although the style of this small producer is based more on finesse than on strength, Brunello 2015 is intense, with hints of red fruits and a sweet spiciness. With great structure and good tannins, powerful and muscular.
3. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Le Potazzine
Le Potazzine is now a confirmation every year. 5 hectares of vineyards at 507 meters above sea level, one of the highest areas of Montalcino. This Brunello is produced by a family business run entirely by women, and this is precisely the style of this Brunello, which shows a very elegant character. The nose expresses red fruits accompanied by balsamic and floral notes. Harmonious and persistent.
4. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Terre Nere
This young family-run company is a hidden gem on the southeast side of Montalcino. The company takes its name from the dark soil composed of galestro, which gives their wines its characteristic freshness, structure and longevity. Expresses hints of ripe fruit, leather and balsamic notes. In the mouth it is fresh, silky and enveloping tannins, persistent finish.
5. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – The Locks
The 8-hectare vineyard is run by Simonetta Valiani, nephew of the legendary Tancredi Biondi Santi. In fact, Biondi Santi gave birth to Brunello Riserva from these vineyards. Austerity, typicality and tradition but also longevity are the words that best define the style that distinguishes Brunello Le Chiuse.
6. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Salvioni La Cerbaiola
Their galestro soils, facing south-east, 420 meters above sea level, and the experience of the oenologist who has been with them for 30 years, are the ideal ingredients to give life to a great Brunello. The wine gives an intense and complex aroma reminiscent of ripe cherry, undergrowth and tobacco. The tannins and its remarkable flavor give it a vibrant character that accompanies the very long finish.
7. Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso 2015 – Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona
The origins of this historic Montalcino company. date back to the 17th century. Brunello 2015 strikes at first with a seductive and intense floral bouquet and red fruits, licorice and sweet spiciness. Intense and juicy in the mouth, well-present but perfectly integrated tannins, great aromatic persistence.
8. Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2015 – Casanova di Neri
Modern and classy interpretation of Brunello di Montalcino. In fact, since Giovanni Neri founded the company in 1971, the goal has always been to produce a great Brunello. Imposing, rich and of great aromatic complexity reminiscent of morello cherry and violet with spicy and smoked notes. Soft, elegant tannins and intense finish.
9. Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne 2015 – Le Ragnaie
The estate is located at 600 meters above sea level, in one of the highest points of Montalcino and favored by the 2015 vintage. For some years now, this producer has been one of the most exciting realities in the area, a true Montalcinese rising star. Intense, tasty, enveloping and perfectly balanced .. love at first sip!
10. Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Lisini
The Lisini family has always produced a Brunello with an austere, traditional style and little inclined to passing fashions, and 2015 is no exception. Fruity and fragrant nose reminiscent of cherry and bitter orange, completing the aromatic profile with spicy and undergrowth nuances. Fresh and elegant finish.
11. Brunello di Montalcino Madonna delle Grazie 2015 – The Marroneto
This huge Brunello is the product of a selection of grapes harvested at 400 meters above sea level in the historic vineyard of Marroneto, near the medieval church of the Madonna delle Grazie, from which it takes its name. It is a wine of great thickness and complexity, a masterpiece that expresses all the greatness of Sangiovese. Of great finesse and elegance and an extraordinary aging potential.
12. Brunello di Montalcino Podernovi 2015 – Poggio San Polo
The estate located on a splendid hill in the southern slope of Montalcino at 450 meters. asl has been purchased relatively recently by the Allegrini family but has already given great satisfaction. While the iconic Brunello Vecchie Vigne represents strength and power, Podernovi is represents the most elegant side of the homonymous vineyard. Floral bouquet reminiscent of violet and jasmine, red fruits and delicate spacing. In the mouth it is balanced and persistent.