Showing 1–12 of 26 results

  • Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montesoli 2012

    £74.99

    “Always a crowd pleaser, the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli is a beautifully crafted wine. It shows depth, intensity and loads of authenticity both in terms of grape variety and territory. Dark cherry and blackberry rise from the bouquet with spice, pipe tobacco and moist earth in tow. The wine is layered and nuanced. That Sangiovese authenticity comes through loud and clear on the palate. This is a mid-weight wine with polished but firm tannins and evident acidity. It shows a burst of freshness on the finish. Montosoli ages in large Slavonian oak casks for 36 months. It is fully equipped for a long aging future ahead. Drink: 2018-2030. 95 points

    Owner Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini purchased two additional hectares of Brunello vineyard in 2016. They are located in an excellent position right under the Montosoli cru. Generally speaking, the Montosoli hill sees slightly cooler temperatures on average. In fact, Altesino’s 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli has resisted the heat of the vintage. This wine stands out thank to its profound elegance and grace.”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (229)

    In Stock

  • Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2015

    £47.99

    “The nose shows an alluring display of hauntingly dark florals giving way to crushed black cherry, plums, and tobacco, with hints of spiced citrus and undergrowth adding further depths. On the palate, silky textures flood the senses with ripe red and black fruits, carried by vibrant acids, as sweet spices and minerals slowly saturate, and fine tannin begins to mount toward the finale. The finish is long and structured, resonating on zesty wild berry fruits, spice, and minerals; yet its tannic heft keeps it all in check. The 2015 Pian delle Vigne is one of the few wines of the vintage that requires some time in the cellar, and with this balance of primary fruits, acids, and structure, it should emerge as something to behold. Drinking window: 2024-2034. 94 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (04/20)

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  • Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vignaferrovia 2013

    £94.95

    “This wine reaches into the deep end of the Brunello intensity spectrum. The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Pian delle Vigne Vignaferrovia is a compact and robust expression of Sangiovese that presents a thick core of dark fruit followed by savory tones of tobacco, spice and cured leather. You might mistakenly conclude that this vintage offers a more international interpretation of Montalcino (with 30 months of oak aging), but I don’t necessarily believe this to be the case. The wine is instead accurately reflective of Sangiovese with more textural richness, sunshine and structure locked within. This Riserva embodies a sense of place more than it does winemaking style. Drink: 2020-2035. 94 points”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (01/19)

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  • Baricci Brunello di Montalcino 2015

    £54.99

    “Good full ruby-red. Captivating nose combines, ripe red cherry, black plum, minerals, herbs, mocha and sexy brown spices. Juicy and sweet, with refined, suave blackberry, raspberry, minerals and tobacco flavors dominating. Finishes extremely long, with a steely quality, fine-grained tannins and a multifaceted personality. Another great Brunello from Baricci. Drinking window: 2024-2035. 96 points”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (04/20)

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  • Baricci Rosso di Montalcino 2018

    £33.95

    “The 2018 Rosso di Montalcino lifts up with a dark and layered bouquet of dusty roses and smoky minerals, giving way to blackberry, plum and exotic spice. It’s silky and pliant in feel, with depths of ripe red and black fruits offset by cooling mineral tones, while turning more savory and floral toward the close. Round tannins coat the senses under a display of violet florals and lavender. This is a Rosso that dreams of being a Brunello; cellar it for another year or two, and reap the rewards. Drinking window: 2022-2026. 93 points

    The Baricci Rosso di Montalcino is unique in that it’s sourced through a selection of fruit made during the harvest from within the Montosoli cru. Francesco Buffi of Baricci describes this as a vine-by-vine approach, and not a focus on younger vines, simply those that lend earlier drinking qualities to their Rosso. It’s worth mentioning that even their most recently replanted vines are no younger than twenty years of age. From there, the Rosso fruit undergoes a maceration that lasts just as long as the Brunello (fifteen to eighteen days), and it is then matured for twelve months in twenty-hectoliter Slavonian oak. Basically, it’s a single-vineyard Montosoli Rosso di Montalcino in all but name, and it’s seriously worth seeking out.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (01/21)

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  • Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino 2015

    £143.75

    The Biondi-Santi 2015 Brunello di Montalcino exudes dark, velvety fruit and concentration while maintaining the signature elegance, suppleness and lithe personalty that distinguishes the iconic Il Greppo estate. I found this new release to be quite distinctive and exquisitely beautiful, setting it apart from many of the past vintages we are most familiar with. This 2015 edition is dark, exuberant and bold, but precise, focused and sharp as well. It will live for years in your cellar, but tasted now in its infancy, the wine shows blackberry, dried cherry, plum and dark cassis. Those dark fruit tones segue to a rich presentation of tar, spice, earth, tobacco and sweet balsam herb. The bouquet offers seamless and smooth transitions. This warm and sunny growing season favored richness and phenolic weight. Wines from Biondi-Santi are made for the long haul, and the fresh acidity that characterizes this estate is the principle reason why. However, I’d argue that this wine from 2015 will evolve over the years not only thanks to the freshness but more so thanks to the important structure of this solid and profound wine. Drink: 2024-2048. 97+ points

    This spotlight focuses on two new releases from Biondi-Santi: the 2017 Rosso di Montalcino and the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino. The upcoming 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva will be released later this year, and I will publish a review of that wine as soon as I have the opportunity to taste it.

    Of these two samples, it’s worth spending an extra word on the beautiful 2017 Rosso di Montalcino. Rosso is an entry-level category of wine in Montalcino, made with 100% Sangiovese like its big brother Brunello, which has been the subject of much debate and attention in recent years. There is an acute awareness on the part of both the trade and the consumer that the enormous growth potential of Rosso di Montalcino remains untapped.

    Because Rosso commands a lower price point than Brunello (a wine that sells well), there has been an unwillingness to invest vineyard acreage or infrastructure for Rosso di Montalcino. Why focus on Rosso in a Brunello market?

    As a result, Montalcino is an anomaly in the world of wine because it has an inverted quality pyramid. The classic wine region elsewhere is built upon on a large base of lower-priced wines at the bottom, and a pointed tip where a much smaller number of expensive fine wines live at the top. In Montalcino, cellar-worthy Brunello is the expensive wine at the top produced in ample volume, but the upside-down pyramid tapers down at the bottom to capture the sidelined Rosso.

    For example, in a year like 2018, the appellation produced eight million bottles of Brunello di Montalcino and 4.5 million bottles of Rosso di Montalcino for a turnover of 160 million euros, and 70% of the wine was sold in export markets, according to the Consorzio del Vino di Montalcino. The denomination has policies in place to limit the growth of Brunello to eight to nine million bottles, depending on the vintage. However, there is ample room for growth, says the Consorzio, for Rosso di Montalcino.

    If Rosso di Montalcino is to build momentum, it is critical that the iconic brands of the appellation get behind the wine. This is the context I believe we need to consider when presenting a wine like the Biondi-Santi 2017 Rosso di Montalcino.

    “We strongly believe in Rosso di Montalcino,” Biondi-Santi CEO Giampiero Bertolini tells me over a Zoom call. “Rosso is the entry ticket to Montalcino. This wine is key to bringing in new interest and new generations of wine lovers.”

    The Biondi-Santi estate has a long-standing Rosso di Montalcino program. But it also sometimes produced a special bottling recognized by a red banner on the label called Rosso di Montalcino Fascia Rosso in the most difficult vintages such as 1989, 1992, 2002 and 2014. In those years, fruit destined to Brunello was downgraded to the red banner selection. It was determined that the Fascia Rosso was causing confusion in the marketplace and the wine was discontinued.

    “We don’t want our Rosso to be seen as a declassified wine,” says Bertolini. “Instead, we want to draw a clear identity for our Rosso.”

    The identity of the 2017 Rosso di Montalcino reviewed here is closely linked to that of the estate’s technical director, Federico Radi, who joined the estate that same year.

    “The 2017 growing season was hot and the vines were stressed. Yields were reduced by 30% to 40% in some areas,” says Radi. “Areas with heavy clay soils and younger vines suffered the most, but we were able to maintain freshness in the 2017 Rosso thanks to the advanced age of the vines in our best sites with cooler Galestro soils.”

    Biondi-Santi embarked on an ambitious project to map its vineyard holdings and better understand the soil characteristics of each parcel. The team is also slowly replanting less-productive vines. I wrote about these initiatives in my article that was published last year in the June 202 Week 1 issue. I also wrote about some recent changes at the estate in an article called “Updates from Montalcino’s Tenuta Biondi Santi” published on Wine Journal, which is free to read (no subscription required).

    The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino reviewed here will also be released in magnum for the first time in the estate history. Brunello was not made in 2014, nor was a Riserva produced that year.

    Each year, the estate selects a back vintage from the library to re-release to the market. The 1983 Riserva was selected for this purpose, and I was lucky enough to taste that beautiful wine a couple of years ago. That review was published in July 2019.

    In Good Hands

    Tenuta Biondi Santi is in a happy place today. Brunello watchers had reason for pause after the death of the beloved Franco Biondi Santi in 2013 at the age of 91 (and still active in winemaking). Not too long after his passing, rumors suggested that the estate might be for sale. This led to broad questions about the future of the brand, and specific concerns regarding the stewardship of the traditional winemaking style that so faithfully mirrors the personality of Il dottore Franco Biondi Santi. Last year’s release of the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva had a ribbon printed on the front label that read: “Dedicato a Franco Biondi Santi.” That is his final vintage.

    In 2016, Biondi Santi’s heirs sold the estate to the Paris-based EPI holding company owned by Christopher Descours. Since that date, a careful restructuring program was initiated. In the years following the acquisition, Franco’s son Jacopo and his grandson Tancredi both stayed on for consistency during the transition. However, both men have since left Il Greppo to dedicate their efforts to Jacopo’s Southern Maremma wine estate, Castello di Montepò.

    Meet the Team

    Under its French ownership, Il Greppo is managed by an all-Italian dream team of professionals, with a small Danish inclusion, culled from some of Tuscany’s most prestigious wine estates such as Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Marchesi Mazzei and Isole e Olena.

    Giampiero Bertolini, Biondi-Santi CEO, joined the team in 2018. With 16 years at the Frescobaldi Group, he served as global sales and marketing director at Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. He got his master’s degree in economy and marketing at the Università degli Studi di Firenze, completing some of his studies at the international marketing program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    His mission at Biondi-Santi is to “further expand the value and the importance of the brand to reinforce its presence among the greatest wines of the world. On the one hand, this will be accomplished through the continuous improvement of the quality of the wines, within the utmost respect of Biondi-Santi’s secular tradition and history; on the other hand, by strengthening the presence of Biondi-Santi in the best restaurants worldwide and in the most prestigious private wine collector cellars,” according to a company statement.

    Technical director Federico Radi, who heads viticulture and winemaking, joined the company in 2017. Tuscan born, he studied agronomy at the Università degli Studi di Firenze and holds a master’s degree in oenology from the Unversità degli Studi di Siena. His professional career has given him passage through the historic cellars of Villa Mangiacane, Isole e Olena (where he was vineyard manager) and the Maremma estate of Marchesi Mazzei, Tenuta Belguardo, where he was in charge of production.

    Giovanni Lai (the best-dressed man in Italian wine) is the European sales director. I met Giovanni back in 2005 when I was studying to be a sommelier with the Italian Sommelier Association. He was my instructor during the spirits portion of the course. A few years later, I profiled him in an article I wrote on Italian mixed drinks. It was around that time that I also met Lene Bucelli (Danish by birth but Italian by choice, much like myself). Lene is the head of marketing and communications at Biondi-Santi and has worked as a press officer for various estates in Tuscany. Andrea Gianardi is CFO, after having worked at the Chianti Classico Consortium for many years.

    The estate staff under employment by Franco Biondi Santi, both in production and in the offices, have pretty much all stayed on under the new ownership.

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (03/21)

    In Stock

  • Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino 2016

    £37.99

    “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino shows mineral-laced black cherries with earth tones and hints of tanned leather. It’s soft in texture with a polished display of ripe berries and savory spice, as zesty acids create a juicy expression while slow-mounting tannins collect upon the senses. This turns dry and structured toward the finale, yet with the balance for a long and steady evolution in the cellar. This is really very nice. Drinking window: 2024-2034. 93 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa 2016

    £61.95

    “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino La Casa takes a little time to collect itself in the glass, pulling you closer as white smoke gives way to crushed stone, then peppery florals, wild strawberry and cedar. The textures are like pure silk, with an elegant display of savory black cherry and spice complicated by salty minerals. This shows amazing density while never feeling heavy, nearly masking its fine-grained tannins until the very end, where hints of orange citrus and dried berries linger. The 2016 La Casa is a beauty with plenty of upside potential. Drinking window: 2026-2038. 94 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino 2019

    £20.99

    “The 2019 Rosso di Montalcino opens up with notes of rose, bright strawberry and cherry. Peppery florals and a hint of savory spice evolve in the glass over time. It’s soft and focused on purity with ripe cherries and sweet inner herbal tones. Zesty acids keep the energy high, making for a juicy expression, while this tapers off to minerals and a hint of red licorice. Don’t overthink it; just enjoy this young and vibrant Rosso over the next couple of years. Drinking window: 2020-2023. 89 points

    The Caparzo winery is located on the north side of the Montalcino hill with vineyards spread out throughout the region, and it has maintained a style that displays a bit of a rustic flair while remaining pure and true to their traditional roots. The house Brunello always brings amazing value to the table, but I also find a lot to like about their two expressions of Rosso di Montalcino. The straight Rosso is a selection from a blend of their vineyards, which is matured all in fifty to eighty-hectoliter casks for twelve months, and is intended to be a fresh and early drinking wine. Meanwhile, the single-vineyard La Caduta, a cru located on the western side of the Montalcino hill, matures in 700-liter French tonneaux for twelve months prior to bottling. The La Caduta is always a more austere expression in its youth, sometimes misunderstood for this reason, and is really something of a baby Brunello, as it displays amazing depth, elegance and minerality.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (01/21)

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  • Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2015

    £59.99

    “Tasted blind. Lustrous mid ruby. Contained richness on the nose and gorgeous succulent notes of sour cherry and marasca cherry on the palate. Just a touch of oak and chewy tannins flexing their muscle on the finish. True precision but definitely ‘sexy’ and sheer pleasure. Can be approached now but with lots of potential to age further. Drink: 2020-2032. 17.5 points”

    Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com (02/20)

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  • Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2016

    £72.49

    “There’s a sensuality to Costanti’s 2016 Brunello di Montalcino. It’s something about the way it draws you in and warms the soul. Its bouquet straddles both the light and dark sides of Sangiovese, rising up with alluring flowery perfumes, cedar dust and crushed cherry, yet then swaying toward rich brown spices and clove. The textures are velvety-smooth and elegant, ushering in a dense core of fleshy red berry fruits, which leave a coating of crystalline minerals and fine tannins in their wake. Though structured and aching for a stay in the cellar, you can’t help but pour another glass of this simply spellbinding Brunello. While in need of three to five years in the cellar for optimal enjoyment, the 2016 is absolutely worth checking in on today. Drinking window: 2025-2038. 96 points

    I was very happy from the first moment I tilted my glass of 2015 Costanti Brunello Riserva. Thinking back to my tastings of the 2015s in February, the Brunello di Montalcino was one of the wines from the vintage that captured the sun-kissed persona of the year, yet it didn’t deliver the complexities and structure that I look for in these wines. Well, let’s just say that the Riserva more than makes up for that performance. It’s layered, primary and structured with the capacity for a long and steady evolution in our cellars. Costanti explained that the Riserva is a selection of his best barrel of Brunello each year; the one that strikes him as having the most potential for long aging, yet the élevage is exactly the same. The Riserva spends the same time in barrel as the straight Brunello, with just one more year refining in bottle before release. However, while I’m fawning over the 2015 Riserva, it would be a shame not to mention that the 2016 Brunello is spectacular as well. Costanti has captured all of the best qualities of the vintage, and he’s turned out a wine that will thrill fans of this historic estate. Another interesting moment from our recent interview included Costanti’s explanation of how much global warming has actually helped this part of Montalcino over the past decade, located in the cooler northeast between 380 and 450 meters above sea level. When he originally began working in the vineyards during the early eighties, achieving balanced ripeness wasn’t always easy; but today, the warm days are perfectly balanced by the cold currents that blow through these hillside vineyards at night. Something to keep in mind – granted, this is the classic production zone – is that it has only been in the last decade or so that the producers here have really captured the attention of a wider range of Brunello collectors.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2015

    £59.49

    Review to follow

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