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An Exceptional Vintage: Brunello di Montalcino 2015

It is hard to ignore the hype that surrounds the latest Brunello di Montalcino vintage 2015 to be released onto market in January 2020.

With Katia Nussbaum owner and winemaker at San Polino

Many influential voices are chanting “the finest ever vintage” or “ the vintage of a lifetime”, the problem with this is I’ve heard it all before. So what is the truth?

From my advantage viewpoint, living only forty minutes from Montalcino, I can tell you some of these wines are spellbinding, some are just phenomenal, other’s are just great, and some fail to achieve what was a gift from Mother Nature.

As to the details, in 2015 when Mother Nature took over from the winemaker in the vineyard, it seemed whatever the vines needed, the vines received; so the fruit quality was exceptional, yet selection needed to be meticulously precise.

My general observation of the vintage is that the wines have enormous quality appeal, tannins are ultra fine with the perfect acidity as dancing partner, which together form a structured, tight and balanced, cohesive performance rarely observed in previous vintages. 

Make no mistake: these wines need patience. The vast majority will require three to five years bottle time. There are one or two exceptions to this rule, but these will close soon.

There are four or five BDM 2015 that have the potential to become true classics, like Gianfranco Soldera’s “Case Basse BDM Riserva 1990,” Casanova di Neri “Tenuta Nuova 2001” and BDM Salvioni “La Cerbaiola 2006”.

Most of the recognised quality winemakers have produced an exceptional 2015 vintage.

A new style of Brunello is starting to be made, a delicate, fragrant, approachable wine, yet containing the character and structure that comes with Sangiovese.

In some cases over confidence has resulted in some producers making jammy, oaky wines (and in one case the wine will NOT even be released as Brunello di Montalcino). This can happen to the greatest wineries in the Denomination.

Well that’s all very interesting…” I hear you say “…but what shall I buy?”

I will publish my list when the wines have recovered from just being bottled and I will have had the opportunity to re-taste…but I will leave you with these “tasters” (sorry could not resist pun!):

San Polino BDM Helichrysum 2015

A wine of sheer beauty. Silky tannins encircle fresh warm red cherries, layered intensity consisting of orange zest, sweet tobacco and red fruits. Delicate aromatics adding to its exceptional finesse. Clarity and precision defining this wine from the beginning to a long finish.

Points 99-100 TW

Canalicchio Di Sopra BDM La Casaccia 2015

Stunning textural richness. A potent pot of red fruits surrounding a core of fresh acidity and fine tannins, that explode on the middle palate, dense and succulent. Captivating.

Points 99 TW

Siro Pacenti BDM Vecchie Vigne 2015

This is a brooding and muscular wine. Dense and sumptuous. Explosive blue and black fruit, forest floor, mocha. Wonderful minerality like a pavement after rain. Integrated tannins and acidity, incredible length. Best wine from this estate, which is a statement in itself!

Points 99 -100 TW

© 2019 Tony Wood Italian Wine

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