Brunello di Montalcino 2019-Great Material & Spirited Character Animate a Lustrous Vintage

vineyard under blue sky

By: Raffaele Vecchione (Founder and Editor of WinesCritic.com)

An in-depth analysis of a rich, sunny vintage with over 150 Brunello di Montalcino 2019 tasted.

  2019 is assuredly a vintage that will be remembered over the years thanks to the perfect amalgam of technological and phenolic maturity and the sheer quantity of grapes the producers took to the winery.

  This extraordinary year,  at a historically difficult time, which raised many doubts about climate change and the seasonal trends it brings, arrived like Manna from heaven for National and International producers and wine merchants.

The waiting was over, Brunello di Montalcino finally signed its name on the register and it did it in grand style.

  The 2019 followed two difficult vintages; the 2017 was decisive, vibrant and distinguished itself with a solid acidic impression and some slightly herbaceous matrices. (https://www.winescritic.com/brunello-di-montalcino-2017-la-maestria-dei-produttori-viene-fuori-nel-difficile-millesimo/)

  The rainy 2018 which was difficult to manage cultivation wise was pleasant with great harmony albeit unstable and rather fragile in some expressions.

  2019 was everything producers look for in a vintage. A sunny year, sometimes hot, dynamic and rich, solid and layered, complex and territorial. The right amount of well distributed rain contributed to the maturity of the grape without ever being cause for alarm. The harvest, which went smoothly during a window of time when the weather was mild and dry, framed an almost perfect picture for the winemakers.

  In 2019 the most memorable event was the exceptional absence of storms (hail, frosts, drought or excess rain) which we have unfortunately become more accustomed to over the last few years.

  A few rain showers, perfect for lowering the temperature and reinvigorating the grapes, arrived in the middle of July and August without doubt contributed to making this a great year.

  In the glass the vintage is distinguished by notable material in the sip, thanks to a perfectly centred grape harvest; lively tannins, rigid at times but noble and fine nonetheless thanks to the quality of the fruit and the producer’s interpretation of the right amount of refinement in barrels of different dimensions.

  The finale is always fresh, harmonic and balanced, highly appreciated from the start.

  Over the last few years we are witnessing wines being bottled earlier than the classic time during which the major part of producers usually bottle. They are trying to bottle before the classic month of September, bringing it forward to July or even March or April in order to benefit from the longer period in the bottle before the new vintage is released onto the market,at the same time this keeps the freshness and character of Sangiovese more fragrant and tasty.

  New containers are arriving in the wineries, there’s a crazy search for wooden barrels which are taller rather than wider (refinement vats), these are useful because they increase the contact surface of the wine to the most noble part of the wood.

  The production is also helped by the  great enthusiasm and willingness to work on expressions which are born from the territory, in particular from single vineyards.

  The ever more expert merchants are looking for territorial wines which are easily to recognise and trace back to the vineyard. This concept of the vineyard allows us to take some prerogatives in order to understand the evolution of a single parcel over time which is rigorously vinified whilst carefully maintaining maximum attention towards truly bringing out its unique particularities.

  The primary analysis during the tastings of 150 Brunello di Montalcino allowed us to place it alongside the great vintages of 2010, 2015 and 2016. Maybe the right mix between the different vintages would bring us something new and unexpected in the structure of the 2010, the power and astringent character of the 2015 and the class and elegance of the 2016.

  It has an agile and sinuous movement and is immediately striking to the taster by showing the right amount of material and freshness.

  About ten wines would have been on the podium to contend for the title of best wine of the vintage.

  In the end the one to win the highest recognition and take home a perfect score was Giodo, a union of balance, class, elegance and quality of material.

  Demonstrating the right concentration and the right determination in the alternation between fruit and citrus which always distinguishes the great Sangiovese. It will continue to grow over time and will give the best of itself from 2025 onwards.

  The painstaking work done by Bianca Ferrini and Riccardo Ferrari, respectively owner and agronomist/oenologist of the winery was perfectly directed by Carlo Ferrini, the World famous consultant oenologist.

  Behind him the fantastic competitive challenge between three Titans. Renieri and Fuligni are incredible wines which tell the story of the greatness of the vintage in different manners. Renieri is spicy and decisive, creating remarkable salivation which makes the expression absolutely gastronomic and pleasing with the edgy traces which distinguish a thoroughbred Sangiovese.

  Fuligni has an auster character, composed and rigid at times, a wine that we need to understand and read in an introspective manner to truly appreciate the quality which distinguishes it. There’s no need to shout and in the 2019 vintage the symphony is regal and dashing.

  Pietroso is exciting in the deep traces which alternate between the fruity character of cherries and sour cherries mixed with candid notes reminiscent of the freshness and elegance of magnolias, gardenias and hawthorn.

  In the Olympus of expressions which are more unique than rare is Madonna delle Grazie, produced by Il Marroneto it steals the scene with captivating nuances and the mastery of a select few. It’s the tannins profile which is exciting, dense and compact, absolutely integrated from the start.

  On the same footing we find Vignavecchia di San Polo, it’s the best expression ever made in the winery, the method and the Venetian rigour have born great fruit and given satisfaction with a wine which is precise and essential with character to sell.

  Still tying on points (98) are different profiles and different visions from producers who have their fingers on the pulse of great wine production.

  Piero, Vigna del Suolo, Giovanni Neri and Vecchie Vigne respectively, then Talenti, Argiano, Casanova di Neri and Siro Pacenti are all incredible wines which border on perfection of execution and underline the depth of the vintage.

  A heartfelt thanks to all the producers who participated in our tasting and who welcomed us during the harvest period.

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