“Dark and animal in nature, the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino comes to life like a savage beast waking from a deep sleep, sleek yet still shaking off its slumber. Purple-tinged florals and herbal tones meet depths of dark mineral-tinged fruits and hints of animal musk. This is silky-smoofh upon entry, yet it quickly gains in tension and poise, as grippy tannins come to the fore, slowly drying fhe tart wild berry fruits, while becoming spicy and more grippy with every sip. The cheeks pucker with residual tannic tension as this finishes painfully young yet long, with hints of licorice. The extra time in bottle has only propelled the 2016 even further than expected. Drinking window: 2026-2038. 96 points
You don’t feel like you’re pulling up to a Brunello producer’s “estate” as you approach the Baricci homestead. Instead, what you see is a small house surrounded by a thick foliage, with large garage doors that open up into their cramped yet cozy and wholly traditional winery. On the other side of this home is the famed Montosoli hill, which lifts up like an island amongst a sea that is the northern hillside of Montalcino. When looking at Montosoli from the town, it appears almost as a mirage in the midst of a thick forest. What is also apparent is the mark of terroir, as you imagine the sea that once engulfed this region, and how the contours of Montosoli would morph into its unique soils of rock, mineral-rich marls, loam, quartz, shale and limestone with marine fossil strewn throughout. The family’s fifteen hectares are considered the choice parcel of the hill, ranging up to 280 meters in elevation and enjoying a south-to-southeast exposure. This location doesn’t share the deteriorating rock components from the hill of Montalcino as much of the surrounding territory does; it is uniquely its own individual terroir, and a true cru of the region.
Long before the concept of a cru or the fame of Montosoli was confirmed, Nello Baricci realized that this was a very special location, and when the time came that this son of sharecroppers could afford his own land, it was this location that he chose. Today, it is the third generation, Federico Buffi, who cares for the vines and raises these wines using the teachings of his grandfather; and I can assure you that Nello Baricci, who passed away in 2017, would be very proud. The Baricci wines speak of the soul of Montalcino, as well as the terroir of Montosoli. When I taste them, it’s the classicism, purity, regal tannins, depth of fruit and harmony that invokes thoughts of not just Montalcino, but the world’s greatest wines. In a truly romantic way, this family of farmers, who also happen to be winemakers, are producing some of Italy’s hidden gems. I only hope that they never change.”
Eric Guido, Vinous (12/21)