Benvenuto Brunello 2022 returned to NYC presented by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino. I have attended this event for a number of years and always look forward to going. Virginia Cademartori, head of PR and Communication for Platinum Media LLC, sent me the invitation.
This was a seated tasting and waiters brought the wines five at a time. The focus was on the 2018 vintage. The bottles were numbered according to the winery and the letter that followed indicated the type of wine. We filled out cards with the number and letter because some wineries were presenting more than one wine. 68 producers submitted wines and I believe there were 116 wines in all. The event was very well coordinated and we had 3 hours to taste the wines.
The speaker was Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine.
The production area for Brunello is the commune territory of Montalcino. The wine can only be produced from 100% Sangiovese (Sangiovese Grosso). In Montalcino the grape is called Brunello.
Brunello must be aged 2 years in oak casks and 4 months in bottle, or 6 for the Riserva. Bottling must take place in the production zone. The wine is available for sale from the 1st of January of the 5th year following the harvest (6th year for the Riserva). Brunello di Montalcino can only be sold in Bordeaux-type bottles. All Brunello is DOCG.
In my experience Brunello needs to age at least 10 years before (even in a not so great a year) I would even think of drinking it. Brunello improves greatly with age. If you want to drink something “approachable” and ready to drink young, then drink a Rosso di Montalcino which is produced for this reason.
2018 was a classic vintage for Brunello. Temperatures were mild and not as hot compared to recent years. The vintage was given 4 stars.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2018 made from 100% Sangiovese.Tenuta Silvio Nardi. This Brunello is a blend of the finest grapes from the Manachiara and Castel del Bosco estates with a northwest and southeast exposure at 350 meters. The soil is a composition of jasper and shale. The grapes are hand picked and sorted and only 70% of the grapes are used to make the wine. Fermentation and maceration takes at least 24 hours, depending on the parcel, at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 12 months in new and used Allier French oak barriques and then for 18 months in large Slavonian oak barrels. Then it remains in the bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of red berries, leather, tobacco and a touch of spice.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Casanova di Nevi made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is located south of Montalcino at 275/320 meters and the soil is galestro with tufo and clay. There are 4,000 vines per hectare. The raining system is spur-pruned cordon and the winery is organic but not certified. The wine is unfiltered and it is aged in 500-liter oak tonneau for 36 months and in bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of blackberry, black cherry, plum and a touch of violets and a note of spice.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2018 Poggio Antico made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyards are at about 480 meters with a south/southwest exposure and are among the highest in the zone. The soil is rocky and calcareous with good drainage. A cold soak was done at 12°C for 2 days. The fermentation lasted 9 days with a peak temperature of 30°C, after which a long maceration was carried out. The wine is aged for 2½ years in large traditional Slavonian oak barrels. The wine was refined in bottle 1½ years prior to release. This is a complex Brunello with hints of cherries, cassis, leather, a touch of violet and a balsamic note. It is a wine that will last for another 20 years.
Brunello di Montalcino “La Mannella” 2018 Cortonesi made from 100% Sangiovese from the La Manella vineyards. The soil on the south side is sandy and rocky and the soil on the north side is clay with sand with good drainage. The training system is spurred cordon. There is a careful selection of the grapes and fermentation with maceration for 25 days in stainless steel tanks and Slavonian oak vats. The wine spends 36 months is large Slavonian oak casks. There are hints of red berries, blackberries, spice, leather and a touch of cedar.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Col D’ Orcia on the Sant’Angelo hill over looking the Orcia River facing south-south west at 300 meters. Particular clones of Sangiovese are used. Manual harvest with grape selection both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Fermentation is on the skins for about 18 to 20 days at a controlled temperature in 150 HL wide and shallow stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 3 years in 25-50 and 75 HL oak casks from Slavonia and Allier and 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of small ripe fruit, and plum jam with toasted and vanilla notes.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 La Gerla 2018 made from Sangiovese-Brunello biotype. The vines are 25 years old and the training system is spurred cordon. There is a manual sorting of the bunches and berries in the cellar. The bunches are destemmed and there is a soft pressing of the grapes. There is a prefermentative cryomaceration. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature. Maceration on the skins for about 15 days. Aging is for 24 to 36 months in oak barrels 50 to 100HL with 2 decantings per year. The wine is in bottle for at least 6 months before release. The wine has hints of red berries, tobacco, leather, and cinnamon and notes of violets and iris.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 La Fiorita location Castelnuovo dell’Abate, made from 100% Sangiovese from Poggio al Sole, south exposure with tufo, clay soil at 220 meters, Plain Bossolini southeast exposure with galestro at 360 meters and Giardinello south exposure with sandy clay soil at 250 meters. 7 hectares in all. There are 7,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. They follow organic agriculture practices. Harvest September 28th, October 6th and October 14th. Fermentation is in Slavonian oak casks with pumping over and delestage for 20 days with selected yeast. The wine ages in French oak barrels of 26 and 37 HL for 24 months, in steel for 4 months and 18 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry, leather, raspberry, with a hint of licorice and a note of tobacco.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Progetto “PRIME DONNE” Donatella Cinelli Colombini located in Casato facing Montalcino made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The 20-year-old vines are at 225 meters with a south-southeast exposure. The soil is Pliocene (sedimentary rock) and clay. Vinification is for 15 days with pumping over and delestages. Aging is in 5 to 7 Hl barrels, French oak for the first year and the remainder of the time in 15 to 40 Hl barrels. The winery is organic certified (2018). The wine has hints of red berries, cherry, herbs, cedar and a touch of violets. Only women are involved in the production of this wine. This Brunello always shows very well and is a pleasure to drink.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Fattoria dei Barbi The soil is marl, alberese limestone and the vines are 15 to 20 years old and at 300 to 500 meters. The exposure is South and the training system is Cortina semplice and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. Harvest took place from September 28 to October 7th. Before fermentation the grapes were subjected to a cold fermentation maceration which consists in cooling the grapes at a temperature of 16C in an environment protected by COC. Alcoholic fermentation lasts 16/17 days at a controlled temperature. After racking and malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged in small to medium size oak barrels 2.5 to 15HL for the first months. It then spends two years in larger oak barrels and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of plum and blueberry with a touch of rhubarb and a note of spice. I have a long history with this wine and drank it for the first time over 40 years ago. The current vintage can be drunk over the next 20 years or more.
Brunello Di Montalcino 2018 DOCG Banfi 100% Sangiovese grown on hillside vineyards at 220 meters in stony, calcareous and well structured soil. There is a meticulous grape selection (yield not exceeding 6 metric tons/ha) is followed by vinification in temperature–controlled Horizon hybrid stainless steel and wood tanks, with skin contact for 10 to 20 days. The wine ages for two years in various sizes oak barrels, 305 liter barriques, 60 and 120 hl barrels; the wine is then aged in bottle for an additional 8 to 12 months. The wine is released 5 years after the harvest. The wine has hints of cherry, plum, violets and a note of blueberry.
Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Villa Poggio Salvi the exposure is South-West, the soil is Galestro (marl) and the vines are at 350 to 500 meters. The training system is spurred cordon and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand the first week of October. There is a pre-maceration for 8 days at a controlled temperature in steel tanks with caps pushed down with automatic hydraulic system. The wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels of 30 to 100 liters for 30 months. The wine then remains in bottle for 4 months before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of red fruit, lavender and a touch of spice. This wine will age for 20 years or more.
Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2018 Pian Delle Vigne Antinori. 3.5 miles south of Montalcino. There are 65 hectares under vines, and the soil is mostly clayey and calcareous with many small stones. After a careful selection both in the vineyard and cellar, the grapes are de-stemmed and delicately pressed; the must then goes into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where it ferments and remains on its skins for a period of about 3 weeks. The wine has then completed malolactic fermentation. Aging is in 30 to 80hl oak casks for over 2 years. This is a complex wine with hints of ripe red fruit, plums, dates and a touch of violets.
Brunello di Mantalcino 2018 100% Sangiovese Grosso Corte Dei Venti. The name means Court of the Winds because the wind blows across the vineyard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The vineyards are located at 100 to 300 meters and the exposure is south east. The soil is rich in ferrous limestone clay with minerals. This is why the soil has a bright red color. The red soil is very rare and only a few producers in the southern part of the appellation have it. The are 5 hectare of vineyards of which 2.80 are Brunello. Harvest takes place by hand when the grapes are fully ripe. Vinification is in steel tanks with soft pumping over and delestage at a controlled temperature with maceration on the skins for about 25 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in steel and by the natural decanting phase during winter which precedes the transfer into oak. The wine is aged for 36 months in 25HL oak barrels and 8 months in bottle before release. This is a very traditional Brunello with hints of red berries, blackberries, hazelnuts, a note of clove and a touch of tobacco.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2018 Franco Pacenti made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The vineyards are at 300 meters and the exposure is north-east. The soil is medium clay with a low density of vines per hectare, divided into six plots with an average age of 25 years. The training system is spurred cordon. There is a strictly traditional long fermentation on the pomace with frequent pumping over the cap and the maximum temperature rises freely to 30C. The wine ages for more than 30 months medium to large Slavonian and French oak barrels. The wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. The wine has hints of cherries, mushrooms, spice, a hint of violets and a touch of herbs.
Brunello is one of the world’s greatest wines and I look forward to drinking it throughout the year. I am already looking forward to next year’s tasting!