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Brunello di Montalcino
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Castello dei Rampolla
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Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Tignanello 2016 3L
Rich, expressive, and multi-layered, the ’16 Chianti Classico Riserva Tignanello radiates its excellent vintage in its transparency, energy and complexity. Peppery spices, melted chocolate, crushed river rocks, pressed violet petals, and a touch of espresso frame this wine’s sappy blue and snappy red fruits. On the palate, this ruby hued wine is a delectable confluence of contrasts--savory underpinnings complement sweet fruits, nervy acidity balances copious dry extracts, while fine-grained tannins cling to the cheeks and provide elegant structure. Chianti Classico doesn’t get much better than this Antinori bottling! A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes derive from Antinori’s Tenuta Tignanello estate in the Chianti Classico production zone. The grapes for this wine ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel for about ten days; the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in French oak, and it ages for 14 months in a combination of French and Hungarian oak, followed by a year in bottle.
Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2012 3L
A terrific choice for Brunello fans who love the wine’s trademark bright acidity, this ’12 bottling from Silvio Nardi layers its tart red and blue fruits on a foundation of leather, spices, crushed violet petals and cedar-strewn earth. This wine whooshes across the palate, scattering chewy tannins that stud the cheeks and building to a resonant finish. Structured and balanced, this ’12 Brunello could use a couple of years in the cellar before true enjoyment. A cuvée of grapes grown in Silvio Nardi’s vineyards, the grapes for this Bruenllo ferment in temperature-controlled tanks for about twenty days; the wine in a combination of French oak barriques, both new and used, as well as in botti, and it finishes with six months in bottle before release.
Chavy Chouet Puligny Montrachet Les Enseigneres 2017 3L
The product of a classic, sunny growing season, this ’17 Les Enseignères bursts from the glass in a shower of white stone fruits, quince, and pear that are framed with lime zest, acacia blossoms, and a touch of smoky minerals. This expressive wine relishes its tensions between its kinetic acidity and its dry extract, its sweet fruits and its savory minerality, and its nice weightiness and its inner lift. Although a village-level wine, Chavy-Chouet Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères has always been an insider’s wine because it lies directly beneath the grand cru Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and shares much of the same power, richness and style at a fraction of the price. Deriving from the estate’s 2.5-acre clay and limestone Les Enseignères plot with 65-year-old vines, this wine ferments in tank before aging in barrel, mostly new, for about a year before bottling without fining or filtration. While this wine can be enjoyed early, this Les Enseignères will only become more beautiful given some time in the cellar.
Chavy Chouet St Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chiens 2017 3L
A remarkable, complex, and seductive wine, the ’17 St Aubin Murgers Dents de Chiens frames its juicy peaches and tantalizing pears with powerful aromas of crushed stones, pressed white flowers, warm butterscotch, and a touch of fresh loam. Chavy-Chouet’s St Aubin Murgers Dents de Chiens plot was forest until 1986, and the 2017 bottling shows how much can be accomplished in just a few decades. This wine’s effortless balance between its sweet fruits and its saline minerality, its acidic elegance, and its resonant finish are riveting. While you can drink this wine upon release, it has the stuffing to age for a decade, likely longer. Deriving from a pebbly, limestone-rich scant half-acre of 30-year-old vines located near the renowned Montrachet Grand Cru appellation, this wine ferments in tank before aging in barrel, 20% new, for about a year before bottling without fining or filtration.
Chavy Chouet Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru 2017 3L
Aromatic, lush, and pure, Chavy-Chouet’s ’17 Meursault Charmes explodes with scents of succulent stone and crisp orchard fruits, baking spices, slivered ginger, pressed orange blossoms, and toasted hazelnuts. For all this wine’s sensual intensity, it feels refined and even a touch reticent, delivering its dry extract on a firm acidic spine. Cellar for a couple of years and drink for decades. Deriving from a .75-acre calcareous clay parcel of vines planted in 1943 that borders on Puligny-Montrachet, this wine ferments in tank before aging in barrel, 20% new, for about a year before bottling without fining or filtration.
Chavy Chouet Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres 2017 3L
Pressed herbs, orange rind, warm loam, crushed river rocks, rain-spattered wildflowers and a dusting of spice frame the honeyed stone fruits in this opulent yet vibrant ’17 Puligny-Montrachet Folatières. A lovely floral lift complements the wine’s steely acidity, while intense dry extract clings to the palate in this creamy yet electric wine. Beautifully structured for aging, this wine clamors for a couple of years in the cellar before true enjoyment. Deriving from the estate’s stony, steep .75-acre Folatières parcel of 50-year-old vines, this wine ferments in tank before aging in barrel, 20% new, for about a year before bottling without fining or filtration.
Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Pagliaro 2011 3L
2011 saw a torrid, hot vintage in Umbria, but Paolo Bea thrives in ripe years, and this ’11 Pagliaro is a brambly, beautiful beast. Fistfuls of blue and black fruits dance against a backdrop of new leather, tarry earth, licorice, balsamic herbs and potpourri in this intense, dense and detailed wine. The ’11 Pagliaro layers its fruits with spices and minerals as it oozes across the palate, but for all its concentration, the wine feels nimble and powerful, thanks to its mighty acidity and a serious mineral core. Bold and unabashedly sensual, this Pagliaro is enjoyable upon release, but it has the stuffing to drink for years and years. Hand crafted from organically grown Sagrantino, the grapes macerate for about 40 days and age for ten months in stainless steel, followed by about two years in used oak. Fewer than 1,500 cases produced.
Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 2015 3L
2015 saw a remarkable, ripe vintage that ended in lush, rich wines with both keen, fresh acidity and high alcohol--Canalicchio di Sopra’s ’15 Brunello embodies its banner vintage with verve, intensity, and depth. Juicy black cherries and sumptuous blackberries dance against a savory backdrop of warm earth, cedar, smoky minerals, and wild herbs, all offset by subtle wildflowers and sweet baking spices. This entrancing Brunello unspools with a creamy, rich mouthfeel as it reveals layer after layer of flavors that are supported on a framework of fine-grained tannins, vibrant acidity, and elegant minerality. The spicy finish lingers in the mouth for minutes! A blend deriving from the estate’s high altitude vineyards, grapes ferment in temperature-controlled vats, and the wine ages for 36 months in barrels, followed by a year in bottle before release. Canalicchio Brunello consistently offers a tremendous price-to-quality ratio, and the 2015 bottling is an outstanding evocation of its banner vintage!
Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2015 3L
With its cold weather followed by a hot summer and its extraordinarily long hang-time for grapes, 2015 saw a five-star Brunello vintage, and Valdicava’s superb Brunello gleams with the vintage’s beauty and thrills with its depth. Deeply perfumed, this wine leaps from the glass with a profusion of notes--super-ripe red and blue fruits, violet petals, fresh espresso, warm loam, truffles and new leather, to name a few. Wedding its luscious fruits, chewy tannins, and vivid acidity with impeccable balance, this Brunello shows tremendous finesse and aging potential. You’ll want to drink this wine right away, but a few years in the cellar will reveal the potential of this superstar bottling. Vincenzo Abbruzzese, owner and operator of Valdicava, works passionately, growing his grapes without pesticides, coaxing very high quality, very low yielding berries from his vines, which he then vinifies very traditionally with minimal use of barriques and almost entirely in large neutral oak botti.
Valdicava Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano 2013 3L
Ripe, rich red and blue fruits swirl with savory notes of fresh loam, white truffles, baking spices, cigar wrapper and touches of dried rose petals in the entrancing ’13 Brunello Riserva Madonna del Piano. This wine gracefully walks a tightrope between opulence and restraint, intensity and finesse, and New World plushness and Old World age-worthiness, balancing its copious dry extract with electric acidity and matching its chewy tannins with a sweet inner lift. One of the very first single-vineyard Brunellos, the Valdicava Madonna del Piano very much set the standard for cru Brunello. Biodynamically grown and produced, Valdicava Brunello derives from very high quality, very low yields of berries, vinified with mostly traditional protocol, minimal use of barriques and almost entirely in large neutral oak botti. You’ll want to drink Valdicava’s ’13 Brunello Riserva as soon as it hits your table, but patience will serve you better; cellar this wine for a few years and then enjoy it for decades!