Brunello di Montalcino, Italy: cellar secrets from our wine experts
With its golden afternoon sunshine, cypress-lined hills and postcard perfect panoramas, Tuscany is a land of dreams. It is also the region that makes some of Italy’s most important fine wines cherished by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Brunello di Montalcino, a wine appellation located in southern Tuscany, is flanked by Mount Amiata to the south and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. It enjoys a special microclimate with warm daytime temperatures and cool evenings that make it an ideal location for the native Sangiovese grape. Brunello is a pure expression of Sangiovese that is released five years after the harvest. The wine’s natural freshness makes it a fitting partner to local foods such as Tuscany’s encyclopedia-sized T-bone steak, bistecca alla fiorentina.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate Italian reviewer Monica Larner recently reviewed nearly 400 wines from the Brunello di Montalcino appellation including mostly new releases from the 2017 vintage. Here are some of her favorite bottles. These wines won’t break your budget (they range between $50-$100 which is moderate considering average prices for the region) and they promise to become even more elegant with age.
Photo : Monica Larner
Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto 2017 Brunello di Montalcino
The 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is beautifully bright and stitched up with extreme focus and sharpness. Sangiovese has this gorgeous ability to show linearity and lift, but it remains elegant and tight at the same time. This wine accomplishes all of this, and that's saying a lot given the heat and drought of this vintage. The acidity is bright and the finish is long and smooth with citrusy end notes of blood orange followed by wild rose and lilac. Proprietor Maria Laura Vacca Brunelli and her team harvested about one week early in 2017 to capture that varietal freshness, making this an ideal choice next to a steaming bowl of pappardelle with a slowly simmered ragù made with wild boar.
The Fuligni 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is a beautiful wine, and it shines a much-deserved spotlight on one of the most consistent estates in Montalcino. It is bright and luminous with a dark ruby shine. The bouquet reveals deeply layered tones of red cherry, wild berry, rose, earth and candied violets. Give the wine an extra twirl or two, and you get some rosemary and lavender. Soft dusty mineral and limestone also appear. I'd definitely put this bottle on a short list of the most recommended bottles from the 2017 vintage. This wine has the latitude to pair with a simple platter of Pecorino cheese wedges and Tuscan cold cuts.
A certified organic wine, the La Torre 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is silky, smooth and very expressive. The whole theme of the 2017 vintage sees a tug-of-war between power and elegance. In many cases, power wins in 2017 and elegance is sidelined. Not here. A perfect partner to breaded veal cutlets alla milanese, this is a delicate and graceful expression of Sangiovese with bright red fruit, cassis, lilac, earth and lavender essence. With fruit from a cool 420 meters in elevation, this is one of the standout bottles of the vintage.
The ladies of Le Potazzine make a terrific bottle of Brunello, and their high-elevation vineyards are especially important in maintaining freshness in a scorching-hot vintage such as this. The 2017 Brunello di Montalcino offers a pretty succession of wild berry, cherry and plum aromas, along with light spice, crushed flowers and perfumed potting soil. This wine is also distinguished by a touch of bay leaf and maybe a warmer note of cured tobacco as well. This is an impressive effort (with 16,000 bottles released) that would marry the gamey flavors of rabbit or guinea fowl cooked with fresh sage, vegetable stock and juniper berries.
The Uccelliera 2017 Brunello di Montalcino does a great job showcasing that extra power and brawn of the vintage and the richer textural structure of the southern side of the appellation. The bouquet is up front and beautifully measured with lots of red and purple fruit definition followed by spice, tar and earthiness. What sets this wine apart in this hot and dry vintage is the mouthfeel. It delivers fiber, flesh and soft tannins. The alcohol is high at 15% in this production, but a hearty plate of peposo, or Tuscan braised beef served in a terracotta bowl will hold up nicely with this bottle.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate reviewer Monica Larner goes a truffle hunt on a foggy autumn afternoon. And she recommends a few good places to eat and excellent wines to drink (including Barolo and Barbaresco) from this beautiful corner in northern Italy.
Hot weather and outdoor cooking go together like salads and rosé, hamburgers and rosé, grilled chicken and rosé. Or maybe even shrimp on the barbie – if you’ve adopted Australian habits – and rosé. Summer is a time for uncomplicated meals and refreshing wines, for dining al fresco while the humidity beads up on the outside of a chilled glass of the pink stuff.
Are you a wine lover? Don't miss out on Matter of Taste Zürich - Europe's ultimate fine wine experience featuring over 600 wines from 200 best winemakers in the world. Tickets and full information below...
What would gastronomy be without a good wine to accompany it? That's why we decided to ask the experts at Robert Parker Wine Advocate, the world's leading independent consumer guide to fine wine, for their top recommendations. Today, we've come up with a few suggestions for Burgundy wines, by William Kelley, that are less well known than the illustrious emblems of the various appellations, but which have nothing to envy them.
Malta is certainly one of the smallest wine-producing countries in the world. With 800 hectares of vineyards at the very most and wines rarely exported outside the archipelago, its production is a source of intrigue. A trip to these islands is an opportunity to discover a dynamic wine industry, which is growing while reconnecting with its long history.
Be the first to get news and update about the MICHELIN Guide
Michelin will process your personal data to manage your subscription and measure the performance of our campaigns and analyze your interactions with our communications. Your data can be shared with others Michelin affiliate (TabletHotels and Robert Parker) in order to know you better and with your consent sending you marketing offers. You can manage your communication preferences at any time or unsubscribe using the link included into all our emails. To exercise your Privacy rights: Contact us. Learn more about how Michelin manage your data here.