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Allegrini 2018
WINE TESTING

“Benvenuto Brunello” No. 31: Montalcino previews new vintages in local and global guise

Good Brunello 2018; Riserva 2017 confirms characteristics of a hot vintage; winning Rosso di Montalcino 2020 over 2021 version

“Benvenuto Brunello” 2022 - this is the 31st edition - confirms itself as the longest preview in Italy (kicking off on November 11 and continuing until November 21), crossing the borders of the Tuscan village to move at the same time to London, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, where “Brunello Day” will be celebrated on November 17. After the 2021 edition, which gave “a jolt” to the traditional format of this event, becoming, to all intents and purposes, the first true Italian preview (confirming Montalcino’s pioneering role in this sphere, as the first Italian “en primeur” in 1992), this year “Benvenuto Brunello” takes on, in short, an increasingly international character, with Brunello 2018, Selezione, Riserva 2017 and Rosso di Montalcino 2020 and 2021 making their national debut and, for the first time, in four cities, between the old and the new world. In Montalcino, meanwhile, two key points remain firmly in the spotlight of the event: the increasingly flattering results of a wine-whose average price is growing in the first 9 months 2022, marking a +21.5% in value, now close to 27 euros a bottle ex cellar (+14%, with peaks of more than 24% in the U.S.), for a total of 7 million bottles sold (data: Brunello di Montalcino Price Observatory), and the glass’s judgment on the new vintages ready to face the markets in 2023.
The performance in the vineyard of the 2018 vintage (four out of five stars, according to the Brunello Consortium’s rating) was diametrically opposed to that of 2017 and, arguably, loaded with many expectations, which, however, were not all ultimately realized. The lowest common denominator has been an alternation of above and below average temperatures throughout the winter and spring with the addition of no small amount of rainfall, raising humidity levels. A fluctuating weather situation that continued even in the summer months, which showed temperatures that tended to be mild with sporadic peaks, followed by a September of the same tenor that, in many cases, induced producers to anticipate the start of the harvest both to avoid the compromise of the good health of the raw material and to meet the reaction of the plants, still as “numb” after a year punctuated by too many sufferings such as 2017. In short, a good vintage no doubt, but not a great vintage. In addition to the human factor related to the technical management of the harvest, there is also, in retrospect, that connected to the stylistic interpretation of the vintage. From many directions, in fact, it seems that the model of a Sangiovese all power and intensity is gradually being abandoned, pursuing one instead endowed with greater balance and finesse, alongside an increasingly careful search for the specific expressions of micro-zones (as the proliferation of Brunello Selezione and/or Vigna seems to clearly indicate). Many interesting attempts are being made in this direction, although, at least looking at the 2018 Brunellos, something still needs to be recorded to the best of our ability, especially in the use of aging woods.
These WineNews top tastings. Well-anchored aromas on flowers and spicy and underbrush references for Castello Tricerchi’s Brunello di Montalcino 2018, streamlined, flavorful and well-focused in its flavor progression. It stands out as one of the best, but this is not the first time this has happened, Giodo's 2018 Brunello, with its refined aromatic interplay between fruit, spices and herbs, anticipating a solid, well-profiled mouthfeel without wavering. Probably disconcerting for those unwilling to accept a Brunello that makes gracefulness its strong point, the 2018 version of the one produced by Gorelli, from the references to flowers and officinal herbs with a few touches of spice that accompany a sinuous, refined mouthfeel, with a nice pressing rhythm. Pietroso’s 2018 Brunello is convincing, with aromatic traits of small red fruits, underbrush and light smoky tones, well supported by a clear and savory flavor progression.
Slightly wilted flowers, red fruits and smoky touches form the nose of Canalicchio di Sopra’s Brunello 2018, which finds its strong point in the mouth expressed by an overflowing energy and vivacity. Absolutely well-executed is the Brunello Vigna La Casa 2018 from Caparzo, with a finely spiced nose and a juicy and pleasantly warm taste. It does not lose its forthright character in Fattoi’s Brunello 2018, with earthy and fragrant fruitiness accompanying a sip that is all savoriness and contrast. Nuanced aromas that cross red fruits and freshly wilted flowers for the 2018 Brunello of Gianni Brunelli - Le Chiuse di Sotto, pulpy and snappy in the mouth. Rich and well paced the nose of Mastrojanni’s Vigna Loreto 2018 Brunello, in which a lush fruitiness emerges with spicy touches to anticipate a diffuse and well-profiled mouthfeel.
Some wood still to be digested in the aromas of Patrizia Cencioni’s 2018 Brunello Ofelio, which also bring with them lovely floral and fruity hints. In the mouth, the wine finds its strength with a juicy and continuous drink. Mostly floral aromas with a spicy finish for Talenti’s Brunello Piero 2018, with a pulpy and deep sip. Roots, flowers, Mediterranean scrub and spices distinguish the nose of Tenuta di Sesta’s Brunello 2018, with refined and well-focused taste articulation. Well-crafted Brunello Poggio al Granchio 2018 from Val di Suga, with aromatic traits of herbs, floral and fruity hints on a spicy base. In the mouth, the sip is juicy, continuous and deep. Spicy and fruity fragrance in Cortonesi’s Brunello Poggiarelli 2018, with a well-balanced and savory flavor development.
Flowers, spices and underbrush mark the nose of Altesino’s 2018 Brunello Vigna Montosoli, full-bodied and savory with smoky returns. Aromatic profile with fruity and floral touches on a smoky base for the Brunello 2018 from Le Chiuse, savory and deep in its flavor progression. Nose with ripe fruity and spicy tones for Armilla’s 2018 Brunello, with a tendentially austere taste expression. Stylistically of modern setting the Brunello Vigna Marrucheto 2018 by Banfi, with aromatic tones alternating vanilla and red fruit, in a juicy taste development with woody returns. Beautiful finesse in the background aromas of Castello Romitorio’s Brunello Filo di Seta 2018, with sweet and spicy fruitiness and a well-modulated palate in its solid articulation. Delicate and played on small red fruits and small aromatic flowers the Brunello 2018 from Camigliano, which in the mouth adheres tasty and savory with a pleasant fruity lengthening.
Chocolate, ripe red fruit and spices distinguish Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona’s Brunello Pianrosso 2018, pulpy in the mouth and tending to be powerful. Fine in its fruity texture with some exuberant woody touches the Brunello 2018 of Collemattoni, tasty and well profiled on the palate. Full and well in focus the lush fruitiness that marks the nose of Lisini’s Brunello 2018, with pleasantly warm and enveloping taste development. Some aromatic stinging in the earth and underbrush aromas of Piancornello’s 2018 Brunello, with savory and intense flavor traits. Sweet spices, full fruitiness and smoky touches for the aromatic baggage of Poggio di Sotto’s Brunello 2018, full and tight in its flavor development.
Rich nose crossing red fruits, spices and spicy touches for Poggio Landi’s 2018 Brunello Chiuso del Lupo, pleasantly savory and juicy in the mouth. Austere and compact in aromas Salvioni’s 2018 Brunello, rich and tight in its flavor progression. Aromatic herbs, dark fruits and abundant spice for the nose of San Polo’s Brunello Vigna Vecchia 2018, tight and enveloping on the palate. Well-executed Brunello 2018 from Argiano, which lines up small red fruits, underbrush and smoky tones in its olfactory baggage, well supported by a full and flavorful palate. Well made Brunello Campo del Drago 2018 from Castiglion del Bosco with an abundantly spicy nose with touches of herbs and red fruits anticipating a compact and pulpy mouthfeel.

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