We have been assessing the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino releases with interest. 2015 was clearly a very fine vintage for most of Tuscany and in particular Brunello di Montalcino – as Ian D’Agata writes on vinous.com: ‘Wine lovers everywhere are in for a real treat with Montalcino’s latest releases. The 2015 Brunellos are some of the best in recent memory…Simply put, 2015 is a great Brunello vintage, easily one of the top eight or ten Brunello vintages of all time…’
As we have commented before, navigating your way through the range of Brunello can be a daunting task – there is significant stylistic variation, ranging from those with purity and poise, to the more overt, dense and sometimes heady. Equally, prices vary greatly with the market now saturated with many single vineyard offerings which do not always represent particularly great value for money – a limited production leads to a loftier price.
What fascinates me most is that, as Ian d’Agata comments, the general level of quality across Brunello di Montalcino is very high in 2015. Growers have adapted to the difficulties of hot vintages, planting or sourcing fruit from north-facing slopes, or indeed higher altitude sites. This is a really important development as Brunello, and moreover Sangiovese, is all about perfume and poise – the wines should have that lifted scented red berry aroma as well as palates that are endowed with beautifully ripe fruit, but coolly ripe with bright acidity. These two key traits are difficult to achieve in hot vintages, but it is encouraging to see growers adapting to climatic trends and able to deliver such promising wines. One joy of the 2015s is that they are a little more forward than some great years and can therefore be broached three or four years after release.
I first encountered Talenti many moons ago at a tasting of the 2007s and good as they were, I felt no compulsion to track this estate. As ever, things change – today it is Riccardo Talenti who is at the helm of this estate, which is situated in the southern section of Montalcino. Talenti is an estate that embraces the best aspects of traditional production yet has also moved with the times. It is great to see an estate with impressive vineyards back on form – Talenti’s vineyards are situated at altitudes stretching up to 400 metres above sea level. Up until this year, they did not make a special bottling as many estates continue to do, but in homage to Riccardo’s grandfather, they have released ‘Piero’ for the first time. As impressive as ‘Piero’ may well be, it is worth noting that Ian d’Agata, whose notes I have followed for many years, only separated the wines by a point (95 points for the straight Brunello di Montalcino and 96 for the Piero). On face value, this may not seem worthy of comment, but when you consider that ‘Piero’ is offered by just one UK merchant at £765 for six bottles, and the straight Brunello is offered here at £185 per 6 bottle case in bond, you will no doubt see the relevance!
2015 Brunello di Montalcino, Talenti
£185 per 6 bottle case in bond
95 points, Ian D’Agata, vinous.com
Bright vibrant red-ruby. Inviting aromas of red plum, mocha, redcurrant jam, tobacco, and gently smoky herbs. Bright, silky and suave, with mellow flavors of redcurrant, red plum, tobacco and mocha. Multilayered and extremely stylish wine, finishing with polished tannins, outstanding balance and subtle persistence. So well-balanced in fact, this gorgeous Brunello is almost deceptively easy to drink and can practically be accessed even now. Very well done. 2023-2032.
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All the best,