Le Chiuse Rosso di Montalcino 2018


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“Very pretty bright red color. Intense violet, black cherry and licorice on the nose. Then similar flavors in the mouth, with a balsamic note lingering nicely on the youthfully chewy, persistent and strongly spicy (cloves, especially) finish. Interestingly, this enters herbal and develops more and more fruit as it sits in the glass. 70% Sangiovese grown around Le Chiuse’s winery and 30% Sangiovese from the Pullera plot near the Biondi-Santi winery. Aged 14 months of used 20-30hL Slavonian oak. Drinking window: 2020-2024. 91 points

Part of Le Chiuse’s vineyards once belonged to Biondi-Santi, and were used for that estate’s world-famous Brunello Riserva. When Tancredi Biondi-Santi died, the property was divided between Franco and Fiorella Biondi-Santi. The latter was current Le Chiuse owner Simonetta Valiani’s mother. Simonetta wanted to make wine a long time ago and began doing so in 1992 aided by her husband Niccolò Magnelli. During the first years Franco Biondi-Santi graciously acted as a mentor, helping them choose massal selections from the Biondi-Santi Il Greppo estate. The estate’s first Rosso was the 1992, the first Brunello was the 1993 and the first Brunello Riserva the 1995. Simonetta Valiani’s son Lorenzo Magnelli now runs the estate. Though Magnelli studied enology for two years, he was needed back at the estate in 2006, in the meantime he managed also a stint of 3 months working at Rubicon in California. 2006 was the year the estate hired Valentino Ciarla, a well-known Italian winemaking consultant, who is still on board today. Le Chiuse is a very traditional estate, amongst the first to harvest every year (clearly, very much following Biondi-Santi’s example). Lorenzo Magnelli lives on the estate and pays extreme attention to harvesting at the optimal time; living at the winery enables him to intervene at precisely the right time. The estate owns eight hectares, of which seven hectares are situated all around the winery building, plus a small plot called Pullera across the road from the Biondi-Santi building (Tancredi used to make wine from that plot as well). The estate’s oldest vines are those of the not-so poetically named Vineyard number 2 (roughly 32 years old) from where Le Chiuse makes its Brunello Riserva today. Vineyard 1, replanted about 15 years ago, was the original one used by Tancredi Biondi-Santi to contribute to his Riserva. The Rosso di Montalcino is essentially a declassified Brunello, made from the estate’s youngest vines and biggest grape bunches. Le Chiuse practices certified organic farming.”

Ian D’Agata, Vinous (04/20)