Welcome to Boggi Milano’s monthly appointment with sommelier and journalist Alessio Turazza, who will provide a expert viewpoint on the finest labels from Italy and the world. In his first article, he has chosen Brunello di Montalcino, and in particular the 2013 vintage that was presented this year. He describes the character of that year’s wine, as always a unique expression of terroir and the weather conditions that accompanied the grapes as they ripened on the vine.
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the finest expressions of Italian winemaking, a true ambassador of the country worldwide. It is made from Sangiovese grapes grown on a hilly area in the heart of Tuscany, around the town Montalcino, about 40 kilometres south of Siena. In this wonderful rural landscape, vineyards are interspersed with olive groves and areas of woodland. The climate is dry and windy, with marked temperature excursions mitigated by sea breezes arriving inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The soils in the area derive from different geological epochs, and they vary greatly according to altitude and slopes, including alluvial, limestone clay and schist terrains, as well as a crumbly marl known as ‘galestro.’ Brunello di Montalcino reached widespread success only relatively recently. Up until the late 1940s, Brunello was familiar only to a limited circle of connoisseurs. It was granted DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status in 1966, and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Contollata e Garantita) in 1980, helping it reach its global reputation. By that stage, the total area of the vineyards was just one-third of today’s 2,100 hectares, and there were only half the producers with respect to those currently operating. From the historical point of view, the origins of Brunello can be traced back to the mid-19th century, in part due to the work of grower Clemente Biondi Santi, who selected the finest clones of Sangiovese plants. Grape quality was successively improved by the introduction of high-density, low-yield vines. The result is a wine that now represents the perfect expression of the terroir and encapsulates a vast heritage of winemaking tradition.
In February 2018, the new 2013 vintage was presented to the press at the event titled “Benvenuto Brunello” (Welcome Brunello). The wines reflect a year of complicated climatic conditions, with a cool and stormy spring, and a summer that was very hot from mid-July on. The weather was rather changeable in the harvest period, and the growers who achieved best results were those who had the patience to wait for perfect conditions, without running the risk of delaying too long and running the risk of the first autumn showers. The 2013 Brunello is fresh and elegant, multi-faceted and vibrant. It is a wine with a fragrant bouquet, rich in floral and balsamic notes.
A few recommendations? Try these labels and enjoy the unique sensations offered by these liquid works of art, whether as an accompaniment to a fine dinner, or for lingering moments of sensorial meditation.
Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Madonna delle Grazie, Il Marroneto
The estate is on north-facing slopes at a height of 400 metres. Old vines, for a Brunello that combines an appropriate acidity with rich fruit, complexity and depth.
Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Vigna Fornace, Le Ragnaie
The vines are on south-western slopes, towards the sea, between 500 and 600 metres altitude. An intense, fragrant Brunello with dense, refined tannins, offering prospects of superb ageing.
Brunello di Montalcino 2013, San Polo
The San Polo vines are on the chalky soils of the breezy south-eastern slopes, that produce wines of remarkable elegance, acidity and expressive refinement.
Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Vigna Loreto, Mastrojanni
A complex Brunello, with delicate fruit and notes of spice, made from grapes grown in the southern part of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, on lean soil with low yields.
Brunello di Montalcino 2013, Poggio di Sotto
Made using grapes grown in several vineyards at the location Castelnuovo dell’Abate, this Brunello features a remarkable complexity and intensity, and an incredibly prolonged finish.
In Franciacorta with Alessio Turazza