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About Brunello di Montalcino


With its growth, Brunello became recognized as the ultimate expression of the Sangiovese grape in that it combines power, concentration, complexity, and personality that few Chiantis or Vino Nobile di Montepulcianos can match. However, it is not the clone itself that is responsible for this. Among the contributing factors are soil composition, climatic conditions, altitudes, and ageing requirements set by the DOCG. In the Montalcino zone the soil will generally contain more sand and limestone than soils farther north in the region of Chianti. The climate is another decisive factor, as there is a significant shift from the damper, cooler, continental climate of Chianti Classico to a more dry, heat-infused Mediterranean environment that is cooled by air currents formed by the Montalcino hills and shelter provided by Tuscany’s highest peak, Mount Amiata. It is these influences that enhance the muscularity of the Sangiovese grape, in turn making a more rich, dark, concentrated, and delicious red (heavier and more tannic than Chianti). The tongue-curling tannins and firm acidity allow these wines to age and have captured the attention of wine collectors worldwide. The longevity of wines from this area was tested by Clemente’s grandson Ferruccio Biondi-Santi when he laid down significant quantities of the 1888 and 1891 vintages. These have proven their endurance through countless tastings, even one hundred years after their bottling. While the Santi family had this early vision, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that Brunello began to show its grandeur thanks to the early efforts of the Costanti estate and Giovanni Colombini of Fattoria dei Barbi, among others.
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Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino 2011 375ml
Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino 2011 375ml
Price: $49.99

Opulent, energetic, and finessed, this concentrated wine from Collemattoni might be the standout Brunello of the 2011 vintage. Reflecting its warm growing year, this is a brooding Brunello that bursts from the glass with a delicious perfume: sweet red and black fruits, toasted cigar wrapper, sun-warmed earth, licorice, potpourri and baking spices mingle seductively. Vibrant acidity keeps this rich wine nimble as it wraps the palate with a textured mouth-feel full of chewy tannins and builds to a very satisfying finish. Collemattoni handpicks its grapes and they undergo fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks for 30 days; the wine then ages in Slovenian oak casks for at least thirty months and in bottle for four months before release. A wine for enthusiasts who appreciate ripe, juicy Brunello, this ’11 Collemattoni bottling can be approachable now with decanting, but it’ll be even better a few years down the road. more info
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Price: $64.99

Freshly crushed herbs, pressed wildflower petals, smoky minerals and kisses of baking spices and melted chocolate frame the explosive red berries of this beautifully delineated ’13 Brunello from Fuligni; silky yet precise, this wine is the best of both worlds, offering early accessibility to its outstanding vintage. Fine-grained tannins, vivacious acidity, and copious dry extract mingle in this exquisitely balanced wine, and a lingering, intense finish seals the deal on Fuligni’s tremendous 2013 Brunello release. Employing very low yields, hand-picking their grapes, and using casks as well as barriques in vinification, this estate makes outstanding wines in amazing years and phenomenal wines in astounding years. Fuligni made about 2,000 cases of this approachable, elegant and lush Brunello in 2013. more info
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 2012 750ml
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 2012 750ml
Price: $69.99

In 2012, Fulgini made the most of its high altitude vineyards; terroir sits from and center in this pure, perfumed and balanced Brunello. Black cherries and juicy cassis mingle with crushed violet petals, underbrush, cedar, fresh-cut herbs and new leather in this transparent, sophisticated ’12 Brunello. Deceptively delicate, this wine has a dancer’s lines, gracefully crossing the palate with an ethereal feel as it builds to a powerful finish. Fuligni gives traditional Brunello an international twist, and the estate has earned a reputation for crafting Brunelli that aficionados and newbies both enjoy. Employing very low yields, hand-picking their grapes, and using casks as well as barriques in vinification, this estate makes outstanding wines in amazing years and phenomenal wines in astounding years. Fuligni made just over 2,000 cases of this classic, structured Brunello in 2012. more info
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Price: $89.00

Savory herbs, forest floor, peppery spices, and licorice frame the sweet, brambly red and blue fruits in the 2013 bottling of Gaja’s entry-level Brunello. Sappy yet energetic, this wine embraces its tensions, and sweet fruits find their complements in savory herbs, bright acidity its match in silky tannins, and a floral inner perfume is complemented by a sturdy mineral core. This wine packs a punch for its price point! Originally, Gaja’s Pieve Santa Restituta, part of which abuts the historic vineyards of Gianfranco Soldera, had two major holdings, Rennina’s grouping of vineyards and Sugarille, but the estate added 25 very breezy acres in Brunello’s northeast subzone in 2005. Deriving from sites in Sugarille, Santo Pietro, Castagno, and Pian dei Cerri, the grapes for this wine ferment for a month in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages for a year each in barriques and in botti. more info
Valdicava Brunello Di Montalcino Madonna del Piano 2003 750ml
Valdicava Brunello Di Montalcino Madonna del Piano 2003 750ml
Price: $149.00

Upon release, this ’03 Brunello Riserva belied its challenging vintage with its seductive ripeness, juicy red and blue fruits, caressing texture and open-knit profile. With about 15 years on it, this wine is simply stunning, showing 2003 to be a sleeper year for Valdicava. Saddle leather, warm loam, pressed flowers, umami and underbrush frame the luscious fruits in this powerful, seductive Brunello Riserva. This wine glides across the palate with a polished, suave mouth-feel, scattering fine-grained tannins, and builds to superlative finish. 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. more info
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 750ml
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 750ml
Price: $149.99

Fistfuls of lush red and blue fruits dance against a brooding backdrop of iris and violet petals, licorice, smoky minerals, grilled herbs, warm earth, and crushed river rocks in this stylish, powerfully elegant ’12 Brunello Riserva. Intense yet focused, this wine unspools with a silky, electric feel, seamlessly balancing its copious dry extract and polished tannins with a nicely acidic core. You’ll want to enjoy this dense but strikingly ethereal wine right away, but if you wait a couple of years, it’ll be even better. Fuligni makes its Brunello di Montalcino Riserva only in the very best years, and always from grapes grown on its oldest vines. Fuligni prizes intensely low yields and manual labor in the vineyards, and they redouble these efforts with their prized Riserva bottlings, which age in wood for five years before release. Fuligni crafted fewer than 1,000 cases of its Brunello Riserva in the ripe 2012 vintage. more info
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Sugarille 2007 750ml
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Sugarille 2007 750ml
Price: $159.00

A powerful, brooding embodiment of its benchmark vintage, this ’07 Brunello Sugarille bursts with succulent red and black fruits, smoky earth, licorice, exotic spices, and warm saddle leather. This wine balances its sheer power with its purity, rolling across the palate to a lingering, textured finish that’s studded with chewy tannins and redolent of smoky minerals. Enjoyable now with more than a decade of perfect maturity, this ripe vintage Brunello is drinking wonderfully, but its underlying structure and fine balance means it’ll drink for years, even decades, to come! This cru Brunello comes from the historic 12-acre Sugarille vineyard site that dates back to 1541 and the hands of Italy's most recognized and controversial winemaker, Angelo Gaja. Deriving from the southwestern-facing Sugarille site rich in white clay, the grapes for this cru wine ferment for a month in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages for a year each in barriques and in botti. more info
Salvioni Cerbaiola Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Salvioni Cerbaiola Brunello di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Price: $159.00

At once graceful and deceptively muscular, Cerbaiola’s ’13 Brunello dances out of the glass in a profusion of red and blue fruits, pressed violet petals, crushed river rocks, underbrush, orange zest, and spicy, peppery herbs. This wine embraces its contrasts, managing to be intense and precise, delicate and tannic, tightly wound and enveloping. Building to a lingering finish accented by savory minerality, this wine is intensely satisfying. Relying on traditional viniculture, Cerbaiola gives its grapes an extended maceration of 28 to 30 days in stainless steel, which is also used for fermentation (although usually without temperature control), and then the wine ages in large Slovenian oak barrels for three years and in bottles for at least six months. While approachable now with some decanting, this wine is ideal for Brunello fans with cellar space. more info
Biondi-Santi Il Greppo Brunello di Montalcino 2010 750ml
Biondi-Santi Il Greppo Brunello di Montalcino 2010 750ml
Price: $199.00

A benchmark vintage from a landmark estate: you can’t go wrong with Brunello from Biondi-Santi, and in 2010, this wine is breathtaking. Pure, precise red fruit wafts with crushed rose and violet petals, fresh-cut herbs, river rocks, warm cigar wrapper, licorice and baking spices in this austere, aristocratic Brunello from Biondi-Santi. Taut and linear, this 2010 is textbook Biondi-Santi Brunello, rolling across the palate to release a captivating, a complex inner perfume, chewy fine-grained tannins, and a soaring structure. Make no mistake: this vintage needs some time in the cellar, but in a few years, the components of this ’10 Brunello will mellow to become a stunning, graceful whole. Biondi-Santi crafts its "Annata," or normale bottlings, from fruit grown on vines between 10-25 years old in marl soil. Vinified in temperature-controlled cement tanks and aged in Slovenian oak casks, Biondi-Santi Brunello is extraordinarily age-worthy, balanced and beautiful, akin to Brunello's answer to Burgundy. more info
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Rennina 2013 750ml
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Rennina 2013 750ml
Price: $199.00

Brambly blue and tart red fruits dance against a backdrop of truffles, pressed herbs, violet petals, warm spices and crushed river rocks in the seductive, sinuous ’13 Brunello Rennina. Lush and evocative, this wine unfurls on the palate to reveal a range of textures and an array of notes, underpinned by flinty minerality and touched with a kiss of orange zest. Lingering and almost fleshy, this wine has the structure to age. The Brunello Rennina, sourced from three discrete vineyard sites that date back to the 1500s, has the happy coincidence of having rich lime soils, making for grapes that tame the tannins, acidity and fierceness of the Sangiovese Grosso. Deriving from vineyards in Santo Pietro, Castagno, and Pian dei Cerri, the grapes for this wine ferment for a month in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages for a year each in barriques and in botti. more info