Brunello 2011: The vintage with many friends
Sangiovese, in the right hands, can rightfully claim to be one of the world’s great varieties and many of its most brilliant expressions are to be found in the form of southern Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino. When grown thoughtfully, with commitment to quality and with the benefit of local vineyard knowledge, the wines can be memorable. The stellar 2010 vintage rightfully brought the region to many people’s attention but Montalcino is far more than a one-hit wonder. For years the likes of Soldera and Poggio di Sotto have been producing world-class bottles, but most legendary and historic of all is the new addition to our portfolio, Biondi Santi. These three estates complement our long-standing Brunello friends at Le Ragnaie and Uccelliera to make what is our most complete Brunello portfolio to date.
The new releases are the 2011s and the 2010 Riservas. The former deserve a special mention, 2011 was a vintage that turned warm very quickly and intensely in mid-August. This extreme weather has meant this is not as homogenous a vintage as its predecessor, however there are some glorious examples to be found albeit in a richer, more open and earlier drinking style. The key with 2011 was not to rush but wait until the grapes’ tannins had ripened properly, accepting that alcohols were never going to be low, thus ensuring balance in the final wines. At its best this is a far superior vintage to 2009, with more complete and complex fruit. They may not be as ethereal as the pitch-perfect, classic 2010s but they are downright enjoyable. “Everybody you meet likes them” were Riccardo Campinoti’s spot-on words. Something wonderful to enjoy while you wait for your 2010s to come round.