All great winemakers have a few things in common. They have terrific microclimates that will grow terrific grapes. They have the skillset to coax the most out of those grapes in order to showcase their vineyards' terroir and the vintage's unique flavors. And they have a vision that guides them in their craft so that their wines are personal expressions, even when the wines conform to rules and regulations.
Montalcino's Vincenzo Abbruzzese is one of those great winemakers. His estate, Valdicava, sits in the coldest part of Toscana's Brunello zone, which lends an elegance to Valdicava's wines, and which Abbruzzese enhances with biodynamic growing--his vineyards are gorgeous meadows that teem with wildlife. Abbruzzese has earned a reputation for being a single-minded, exacting and meticulous producer of near infuriating status. "I produce wine for the place, the land," Abbruzzesse has said, and when you open a bottle of Valdacava Brunello, its aromatics show how right he is. This wine--an explosion of Sangiovese Grosso red and blue fruits, wild grasses and flowers, warm loam, hints of cedar and a kiss of the Montalcino wind--could come from nowhere else but Valdicava's vineyards.
Today, I'm proud to present a bunch of wines that come from great winemakers. First, there's a 2005 Valdicava Brunello. This Valdicava vintage isn't one of those marquee benchmark years that hits you with hype. It's a sleeper year, one that waits in the wings to show you its true beauty--and right now, Valdicava's '05 Brunello is gorgeous. Next, there's a lovely transitional white from Antinori's under-the-radar Le Mortelle estate on the Maremma coast, the vivacious and surprising 2016 Vivia Maremma Toscana. Drink it now, drink it all fall, drink it into winter! And finally, I worked with our European sources to score eleven vintages of Château d'Yquem Sauternes. These golden beauties will delight you and your guests for years and years to come.