Vintage Report: Tuscany Collection 2022

Vintage Report: Tuscany Collection 2022

Friday 11th November 2022
by Mark Dearing

The hills are alive


We are delighted to introduce the Justerini & Brooks Tuscany Collection 2022

Our Tuscan portfolio is small in scale but high in quality. It is concise. From the Radda hills of Chianti Classico we are exclusive importers for the sanguine, vivid, stony wines of Monteraponi. In Montalcino, we have represented Riccardo Campinoti’s Le Ragnaie estate for almost fifteen years. What was once a (very well-situated) project of relative obscurity, is now one of the most exciting in the whole Brunello zone. In Castelnuovo dell’ Abate, our relationship with the historic Brunello estate Poggio di Sotto continues to strengthen, as the wines are endowed the same limpidity, radiance and glow that long defined them under Piero Palmucci’s watch. On the Tuscan Coast, Grattamacco stands almost alone in its pursuit of fine, crackling Cabernet and Merlot, allied to Sangiovese brilliance and perfume. This hillside vineyard, with its windswept feel, is one of the few in Bolgheri able to ripen Sangiovese healthily. All four of these estates are worked fully organically, by hand. 

To download the offer as a PDF please click here



As each estate in our offer represents a single, entirely different terroir, it is hard to generalise about vintages. Spanning 2020 to 2016, our 2022 collection houses a wealth of fantastic, transparent wines, some of which were plain sailing, some born out of adversity. In Chianti Classico, Michele Braganti explained that 2020 began with a mild winter and variable spring with on-off showers. Though good for the water-table, it necessitated attentive work in the vineyards to stave off mildew pressure. Summer brought with it the long, gloriously warm days that typify these gorgeous, rugged Tuscan hamlets. Physiological ripeness was moving at a steady pace, but in high subzones like Radda, the nights remained cool, keeping acidity in place. Cellars were enveloped in the most luxurious perfumes come harvest-time. 2019 was a contrasting year, being altogether less indulgent. Instead, it is a vintage of rigour. This is not to be read as “tough”, for though the cooler, later harvest produced wines with a certain chisel and exactness, in a warm climate context, Luca Marrone at Poggio di Sotto made it clear that quality was so uniformly high that it was impossible to distinguish Rosso from Brunello quality, even after a full two years in barrel. At Monteraponi, 2019 sits in their holy trinity of finest vintages ever, along with 2006 and 2016. 
 


Moving to 2018, this is a broadly successful vintage, albeit lighter in style than 2020 and 2019 owing to higher rainfall and overall cooler conditions, which compelled producers to make strict selections across Tuscany. The wines are framed by jostling acidities and a clarity of measured, graceful fruit. They are a delight to drink. In the case of Grattamacco, 2018 is by far the most elegant and thirst-quenching incarnation to date.

This year it is the turn of the 2017 Brunello di Montalcino. There is no getting around the fact that 2017 was a hard, dry vintage up and down the Italian peninsula. Hot weather prevailed throughout the growing season, reducing berry size and putting the vines in to stress. As is often the case though, September maketh the harvest, and a week of rain at the beginning of the month, in Luca Marrone’s words, “saved the Brunello.” At Le Ragnaie, Riccardo Campinoti pivoted to focus on the cool, high vineyards around Le Ragnaie, Petroso and Montosoli, at the expense of his warmer Fornace site. At Poggio di Sotto, it was all about canopy management, using the leaves to shade the grapes as much as possible and taking only 50% of the crop: exclusively grapes with healthy skins and the right amount of juice. For all the challenges of 2017, our two Brunello estates have proven themselves highly adaptable, and the wines need to be tasted to be believed. Whilst they have the thrum of a warm year, there is nothing excessive. Instead, the fruit is toned, sculpted and every bit as aromatic as one wants in great Brunello di Montalcino. We are with Luca when he says that it is rarely a case of good or bad these days, just a question of “the right interpretation of the vintage.” Tuscan wine lovers will not be disappointed when they pull the cork on these bottles.



Finally, we come to 2016. Across Italy, this vintage needs little introduction. Simply, one of the best vintages ever – it has all the hallmarks of greatness. The lone 2016 Riserva in our offer today is every inch a 100-point wine and those lucky enough to secure a case can thank themselves over many decades to come.

We adore the sensorial wines of Tuscany. And in case it were ever in doubt, hopefully this offer will remind you that the hills are still very much alive.

Mark Dearing
Buyer, Justerini & Brooks