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Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino 2014
Set in the gorgeous Val d’Orcia hills, this stunning Montalcino estate has been in the hands of the same family for over two centuries and still upholds many of the old traditions of the region. The 30-acre estate is divided between vineyards, olive trees and cereal production, with just 3 acres dedicated to the production of their exceptional Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines.
Their Brunello in particular consistently receives outstanding scores in the mid to high 90s from international wine critics like James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast. The complex nose opens with layers of rich dark berries, mushroom, leather and hints of forest floor which develop and intensify on the palate into cassis, smoky tobacco, cured meat, and bitter licorice and chocolate.
Structurally the full body and smooth tannins are carefully balanced by a bright acidity and impressively long finish which will respond well to further ageing over the next decade or so. An excellent addition to any collector’s cellar, this powerful red is also a great wine to enjoy now alongside hearty red meat dishes such as a prime steak, rich beef stews or seasonal game served with roasted vegetables.
Madonna Nera Brunello di Montalcino 2014
Madonna Nera is named after the ancient name for the land where the estate’s prime vineyard plots lie close to the classic Tuscan hilltop town of Montalcino. The grapes for this stunning Brunello are sourced from 2 hectares of vines near the evocative 12th century Abbey of Sant'Antimo where the region’s tradition of winemaking thrived under the Benedictine monks.
Today the land is under the watchful eye of enologist Carlo Ferrini who is one of Italy’s best known winemakers. His Madonna Nera Brunello is produced in very limited quantities each year from carefully selected Sangiovese grapes which are typically harvested in mid-October when they reach optimum maturity. Once in the winery the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and the young wine is then transferred to large oak casks for 30 months followed by another 10 months of ageing in the bottle.
The result is a powerful yet well-balanced red with rich dark fruit flavours matched by a bright freshness. On the nose there are intense plum, red cherry, leather and dried herb notes which deepen on the palate into crushed wild berries, cigar box spice and heady tobacco. The firm structure makes this a great addition to any cellar or it can be enjoyed now alongside hearty tomato-based pasta dishes, red meat or game.
San Filippo Le Lucere Brunello di Montalcino 2013
This masterful Brunello frequently receives scores in the high 90s from top wine critics like James Suckling. The wine begins life in a stunning 2 hectare single vineyard named Le Lucere which is farmed organically and sits at 200 metres above sea level. This spot has a reputation for producing well-structured, powerful Brunellos which will age and develop beautifully in the cellar.
The grapes are typically harvested in October and are crushed right away when they reach the winery. Following fermentation the young wine is transferred to barriques for 24-28 months and the wine is then aged in the bottle for 10 months before it is deemed ready for release. The result is a rich and very complex wine with firm tannins, a generous full body and luscious dark fruit seasoned with hints of leather, spice and bitter herbs.
The San Filippo winery is located to the south of the stunning hilltop town of Montalcino, an area which is known for producing many of the most ageworthy and elegant Brunellos and is home to legendary wineries like Biondi Santi. Founded in 1972, the estate was later purchased by Roberto Giannelli who has worked tirelessly to make San Filippo one of Brunello’s top producers. Today the estate is 22 hectares in size of which 11 hectares are currently under vine with Sangiovese planted as well as international varieties like Merlot and Syrah.
Casanova Di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2015
Founded by Giovanni Neri in 1971, Casanova Di Neri has quickly become known as one of Tuscany’s most talented producers. In recent years the running of the estate has passed to Giovanni’s son, Giacomo, and has been the recipient of a wealth of accolades from top wine critics. Casanova Di Neri uses the latest winemaking technology to create the highest quality wines possible from their exceptional vineyards.
Their Brunello di Montalcino is crafted with great care from hand-selected grapes which are fermented using wild yeasts in open temperature-controlled vats. The young wine is then aged for an extended period as is traditional for Brunello, in this case 43 months in oak barrels.
This is a classic style Brunello with ample elegance and finesse. On the nose there are bold red cherry, plum and dried herbs while the first sip reveals a muscular structure, medium body and streak of acidity which provides tension and balance. The long and persistent finish is lightly spiced from the lengthy oak ageing. The power and intense fruit flavours of this wine make it a great contender for several more years in the cellar, although it can also be enjoyed now along with hearty red meat dishes.
Castello Tricerchi Brunello di Montalcino 2015
Completed in 1441 by the Tricerchi family, the magnificent Castello Tricerchi sits on the northern slopes of Montalcino on the old Via Francigena which was used by pilgrims from France travelling to the Vatican. Remarkably, the property is still in the hands of the same family and today it is run by the seventeenth generation, represented by Tommaso and Emanuele Squarci.
Up until 2012 the family used to sell their grapes directly to the local Geografico cooperative, but they recently started working with renowned winemaker Maurizio Castelli to bottle their own wines. Although the family are still relatively new as winemakers, their wines have proved a hit locally and offer tremendous value as one of Montalcino’s rising stars.
Their charming Brunello is made in a classic style using wild yeasts and long, slow fermentations followed by extended ageing in large Slavonian oak casks. On the nose there are enticing hints of red cherries, tart berries and dried herbs while the palate offers a bright streak of acidity balanced by ripe red fruit, smooth tannins and a well-rounded texture. A great wine to lock away in the cellar for another decade or to enjoy now with game and rich tomato-based pasta dishes.
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2015
The deep ruby colour promises a classic wine of superb quality. The nose backs up that promise with intense aromas of cherry, ripe black fruits, herbs and a slight earthiness. The palate provides intense flavours of black and red fruits, spices, herbs and wildflowers. The wine is well structured, has great acidity which marries perfectly with the ripe tannins. The lingering finish provides a closing offer of rich chocolate at the end.
Match this with rich beef dishes, venison, game, roasted meats and strong cheese.
The winery’s attention to detail when making its wines are what makes this wine so good. The hand harvested grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats for four weeks. It is then aged in new and old oak barriques for 12 months followed by a further 12 months in bottle prior to release.
The Gaja family acquired the Pieve Santa Restituta estate in 1994. It is situated in the south west of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation, and comprises of 40 acres of vineyards. The name comes from the church of Santa Restituta which is located on the estate. It has been beautifully restored by the family and it now forms the subject of the wine labels.
The family has now also obtained a further 25 acres in the north east of the appellation and has developed a state of the art winemaking facility and below ground cellar which reduces the impact on the environment – a subject very close to the family’s heart.