Benvenuto Brunello 2018, Montalcino centro

Montalcino

Tasted February 16, 2018 - February 19, 2018 by Tim Heaton with 1,181 views

Introduction

The annual (4-day) event sponsored by the Consorzio introducing the newly released wines. This year, 2013 Brunello di Montalcino, 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, and 2016 Rosso di Montalcino were formally shown to the trade/market/public.

For pictures/more, please visit my site: https://italianwine.blog/2018/02/20/benvenuto-brunello-2018-montalcino/

A re-cap of the recent weeks/visits is here https://wp.me/p7fulH-24K

Flight 1 (23 notes)

Red
2016 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) This comes across as ripe/ripe-ish, with the barrique/wood occluding the freshness and purity of the fruit. Not to my liking, and not on par with the majority of (very good) Rosso wines from this vintage. Drink now, if you like the style.

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Red
2012 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker ruby. Initial aromas of vanilla, some toasted herbs. With a few minutes of swirling, only modest soil and bright fruit aromas. This is more modern than traditional, for sure; ripe fruit/flavor lovers will love this wine, me, not so much. 3 years in Slavonian botti grandi, followed by 1 yr. in first and second passage barrique. Now thru 2029.

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Red
2013 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Easily one of the standouts in the vintage, this classically-styled effort offers a pale brick red color; it's luminous and clear. Aromas, even if not fully developed yet, run the range from loam/hay to cherry skin, dust, and soil. Medium-bodied, very fresh, and artfully structured, this is a wine that could be enjoyed now (with food!), but, for my palate, should be cellared for another 6-10 years for an even better showing; there's good weight/fruit now, though this should fill out more with time, rendering this wonderfully complete. My actual note written at the event is much shorter than this, it pretty much just says WOW!, buy a case or two! Tasted three separate days/times, consistently excellent. A lovely marriage of grape/place, and vintage, with the type of structure that will please most/all collectors. No need for fancy descriptors, breathless enthusiasm, etc., this one speaks for itself, and represents the elegance and purity that Sangiovese and this region are capable of offering. 14,5% abv. (seemed more like 13,5%, fwiw), drink 2022-2042. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Gianni Brunelli Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker brick red>ruby. The nose reveals some grass, loam, citrus, and soil. The palate is huge, but balanced with excellent freshness, and acidity. This is more akin to a fine Brunello than a (most) Rosso wine. The finish is already quite long. If picking nits, some might say this could use even more acidity, considering the weight and depth of fruit, but I found it to be sufficient, and would easily purchase this for my own cellar. 14,5% abv (resolved), drink this now thru 2027. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) This is an exciting wine. The nose opens with stones, citrus, hay, and fresh cherries. The medium-bodied palate is complete, with plenty of detail and nuance. There's already a lot of breadth here, with the depth (still developing, obviously) only a step behind. Collectors can feel confident getting behind this classic beauty. 13,5% abv., drink 2022-2041+ highly recommended

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Red
2012 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Noticeably darker than the 2013 Brunello, this Riserva, from a much warmer vintage, opens with red and purple flowers, ripe strawberry, pie crust, dried herbs and a touch of citrus; red apple/skin notes emerge after a few minutes in the glass. This is one of the better Riserva wines I've tasted so far, and one I'd gladly have in my own cellar. While the finish comes across as short(er), I think that might be due in large part to having tasted the very classic/long 2013 Brunello just before it. 13,5% abv., drink now thru 2030. recommended, with upside potential duly noted.

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Red
2013 Ruffino Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Traditionally styled, medium body with an international texture, but traditional stuffing. Aged 3 years in 30hl-60hl Slavonian oak casks after its malolactic fermentation is complete. After, it's moved to stainless for a few months, and finally ~ 6 months of bottle rest prior to release. Known as a value brand/wine, this delivers a good amount of classicism in this vintage. Easily recommended, though probably better to leave it rest a year or three.

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Red
2013 Il Bosco di Grazia Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) A new producer for me, and I can see why, it's a tiny production of ~ 3,000 bottles. After the initial fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is allowed to macerate for an additional 30 days. After, the wine is raised in large Slavonian casks for ~ 2 1/2 years, then some bottle refinement. Traditionally styled, with good purity showing through even if it's a bit timid today. Nonetheless, give this a few more years of rest, some prior aeration, and enjoy with a proper meal. Good>very good. 2021-2036+ recommended

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Red
2015 Il Marroneto Rosso di Montalcino Ignaccio Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Whereas many/most are showing their 2016 Rosso di Montalcino wines, today Marroneto is pouring the 2015. The nose is an equal blend of a tradition>modern style. This continues on the med>full body that reveals a touch of EtOH, and a fair amount of extract through the middle. Not something I would normally gravitate toward, but there's some compelling flavor, and the aromas really open up after a few minutes of brisk swirling. 14,0% abv., thru 2024. For the style, recommended

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Red
2013 Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Again, a pretty, pale brick red color, this time giving way to a compelling nose that shows a light touch of oak, a pinch of vanillin, and some very pretty floral and soil notes. The med>full body is more structured than the nose might suggest; there's a cheeky sexiness about it, too, that has me saying "who cares if it leans modern, it's really quite delicious". 14,0% abv., drink 2020-2035. For the style, it's highly recommended, and a testament to what's possible in this very fine vintage.

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Red
2013 Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino Madonna delle Grazie Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Though not at all for my palate, for what it is, it succeeds. The darkest, clearly most modern of the three wines tasted today, the sweet nose manages a fair balance of place/grape and ripe, sultry fruits. At times, chewy and thick, so not something I would buy, but many others would like this wine quite a bit. 14,5% abv., drink now thru 2030.

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Red
2013 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) I've tasted this three times now, once in NYC, and twice here in Montalcino, at Benvenuto Brunello. I happened upon a bottle early today that was 'second day juice', i.e. not freshly opened. What great luck, as the wine was revealing the potential that I saw inside when I first tasted a few weeks ago. The acids are in great harmony with the layered red fruits, the texture is elegant, and the wine's clearly full of nuances that beg for yet more bottle rest. Collectors take note, you want this in your stash. After the (more open) sample today, I simply wrote "wow wine". Very long already, and it's only going to get better from here. Drink 2024-2042. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Il Paradiso (Manfredi) Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Intriguing, fascinating and compelling. Brick red>garnet, clear and bright. Aromas of tobacco, citrus, apple skin, sweet cherries, with wow-type concentration all packaged in a medium-bodied, traditional frame. BIG but small, my notes say. A moving wine, and one of the finest Rosso di Montalicino wines I've ever tasted at release, or otherwise. highly recommended+

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Red
2013 Il Paradiso (Manfredi) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Exceptional. Singular. There's nothing else at the event (135 producers) that smells or tastes like this. And I mean that in the best way possible. Cinnamon, brown spices, road dust, cherry skin, black truffle, more. The medium-bodied palate is, at first, a bit deceptive, but within just a few moments, the true scale of this wine - such depth and breadth - reveals itself, and the genius of Il Maestro is obvious. So much power, married to so much elegance; long, gentle. Long. Surely these wines are destined for cult status, even if many, including the winemaker, wouldn't wish it. WOW. Now thru 2045+ highly recommended

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Red
2015 Fattoria del Pino Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Very good. A new producer for me, iirc, and easily one of the finest natural wines/wines I've tasted this year. Whereas I'm generally left wanting more from the 2015 Rosso wines, this is an exception to that generalization. A great exception; it rivals many of the Brunello wines. Whereas the size of many of the 2015 Rosso wines seemed exaggerated (due to the vintage's warmth/ripeness), and, mostly, flabby and uninteresting, this is quite different: the size is there - this is huge for a rosso - but so is the freshness and complexity that I always desire. Loamy, with hay and citrus - even notes of lime zest - followed by freshly cut apple, soil, and minerals packed into a concise yet explosive nose. The palate is red-fruited, med>medium-bodied, with big: fruit, tannins/acids that will benefit from another year or two in the bottle, though this isn't required. That said, this shows the structure to age, positively, for another 10+ years. The long finish is just beautiful. I will be buying this for my own cellar. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Il Poggiolo (Cosimi) Rosso di Montalcino Sassello Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker garnet>ruby. Initial aromas of vanilla and toast, hard to find a sense of place or variety. Fermented in stainless, then raised in barrique. Not something I gravitate toward, though others would like it just fine. Now thru 2022.

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Red
2013 Fattoria del Pino Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Classic pale>brick red color; bright and clear. The first aromas are that of soil, so I already like it; with air some red fruits and floral begin to emerge, but this is tight today. Pretty, but tight, and very traditional, as most natural wines are. Depth and complexity will no doubt be developing as there's very good underlying material here, it'll just need another 2-3 years in the cellar before those qualities more fully (being to) emerge. 14,5% abv. drink 2021-2035. recommended+

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Red
2012 La Fornace Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker brick red> ruby color, this shows the warmth of the vintage, and also shows a good deal of structure, too. The EtOH is already fully integrated, the depth and breadth of flavors is already on point, and can be enjoyed now or over the following 15-20 years. Impressive balance, and good>vg acidity. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Il Poggiolo (Cosimi) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Garnet>Ruby, clear. Typical aromas showing a little tight today, with samplings of soil and red fruits in the distance. Fermented in stainless, then raised in grandi botti (40hl) for two years. Tannins and acids need at least 2 years to better integrate. 13,5% abv., drink 2021-2033.

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Red
2013 La Fornace Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker, almost cloudy brick red, yet clear throughout. A robust nose of limestone, herb, ripe, fresh strawberry - both on the nose, and palate. Medium>full body, generous, yet with enough acidity to keep it fresh and enjoyable. Good>vg length, this was better than first expected (based solely on color). Clearly there's room to grow from here, and that growth should be quite positive. Easily recommended

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Red
2013 La Fornace Brunello di Montalcino Origini Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Whereas the Brunello just before it was good, this is clearly very good. Again, a darker color, brick red>ruby, with ripe red fruits on the nose, and a good dose of soil, dried herbs and stones; a touch of unresolved EtOh took only a few minutes to disappear. Following this, some red and purple flowers emerged, creating an additional, pretty dimension. The palate is classic, much more traditional that first thought, i.e. expected. This has a robust build, but has the structure and length to make it pretty exciting. 14,5% abv., drink now thru 2038+. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Fattoria La Gerla Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Very good. Beautiful nose, fresh and precise. Vinified in botti grandi for 4-6 months. The nose, as I say, is impressive, and that level of quality follows through to the medium-bodied, traditional palate. Good tension, freshness, but only moderate length at this stage in its life. Ever so slightly bitter now, give this a year, or better, two, of rest for a more rewarding showing. 13,5% abv., great value; buy with confidence. Now thru 2027. recommended+

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Red
2013 Fattoria La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Quite good. Tawny brick red, clear. Nose opens with sweet cherry, soil, pomegranate, red apple, Tuscan dust/herbs. The entry shows some warmth, yet it's elegant in a chewy/dense-ish kind of way. There's good acidity throughout to keep this lively through the middle and finish. Good>vg length. 13,5% abv., great value; buy with confidence. Now thru 2034. recommended+

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Flight 2 (26 notes)

Red
2012 Fattoria La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino Riserva gli Angeli Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Quite good. Tawny brick red, clear. Plenty of fruit and flavors, with enough balance to keep it fresh and enjoyable. There's already quite a bit of depth to the flavors; breadth is likely not far behind. It's ready now, with the structure to go a decade very easily. Good>Very good length. Now thru 2030. Not my preferred style, but I'd gladly make an exception in this case. recommended

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Red
2013 Fattoria La Lecciaia (Pacini) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Quite a large production, iirc, > 60,000 bottles. I mention that because it seems to have lost/not had the freshness and individuality of many of the newly released Brunello wines here today. Perhaps I'll taste it again in two months at VinItaly; perhaps not. Darker color, typical if not very interesting aromas and flavors. Maybe it needs time. Maybe.

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Red
2016 Fattoria La Lecciaia (Pacini) Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker garnet>ruby. Struggles a bit with freshness and personality. Maybe I'm catching it in a bad moment, but if not...

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Red
2016 La Magia Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Good. Comes across as very traditional, with a pale brick red color. The nose, at first (and mostly at this stage) is about soil, about place; I like it. Acids dominate the fruits at this tender junction, but it bodes well for the future. Medium-bodied, red-fruited, and no doubt an excellent partner to food. A new producer for me, and a very good first impression it was. 14,0% abv., drink 2020-2030.Terrific value. recommended+

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Red
2013 La Magia Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Quite good, though it really needs time in my opinion. Medium-bodied, red-fruited, with an excellent sense of place and grape. Traditionally styled, with high acids/tannins just now. Give this 2, 4, 10 or 20 years, you'll be paid handsomely (and proportionately) for your patience. 14,0% abv. Great value. recommended+

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Red
2013 La Magia Brunello di Montalcino Ciliegio Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Terrific. Slightly darker than the Brunello and Rosso wines just before it, this reveals something of a sappy nature about it, but it's restrained, and structured, too, which, for my palate, makes it even more interesting. Some might say "roasted in a good way", and I guess I'd agree. Good freshness, energy and personality here, with the finish gently haunting in the best of ways. 14,5% abv., drink 2019 thru 2039. highly recommended

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Red
2016 La Palazzetta (Flavio Fanti) Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Gorgeous. Brick red>ruby. Powerfully perfumed, the nose is open and giving already. This is just beautiful, with a continuous cascade of red fruits, warm spice, soil and forest/mushrooms. The entry is bigger than expected, the middle is warm, generous, yet structured; this is one heck of a Rosso wine. So much potential, still, probably even better with just one more year of integration. A true baby Brunello if there is such a thing. Impressive length and depth. 14,5% abv., drink 2019 thru 2028. highly recommended

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Red
2013 La Palazzetta (Flavio Fanti) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) An exciting nose filled with beautiful aromas of ripe red fruits, soil, toasted herbs, purple flowers. The palate is already quite open and available, it's med>full bodied, though not fat or too round. It's quite a surprise given this winery's newly released wines that are generally very, very tight and unavailable. If this lives up to its potential, which I have to believe it can knowing how they farm (organic), it's going to be a blockbuster. Tasted again toward the end of the day and allowed to more fully open in the glass, some pretty iron, cardamom, soil and clay notes appeared, adding yet an extra dimension. Wow. Drink now thru 2038+. highly recommended+

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Red
2011 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) I wasn't sure there was going to be a Riserva in 2011, so this came as something of a surprise today. Yet here it is, so here's what my note says: Dark brick red color, clear. Ripe perfumes of red/blue fruits, warm, deep and resinous on the palate. BIG tannins. Needs 2-3 years to fully integrate; at least. OK, good>very good, not great. Of course that last part may well change as this wine continues to evolve in bottle. I'll reserve any judgment for at least a few years; it's just too precocious now. 14,5% abv. is already fully resolved.

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Red
2012 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Superb. A great blend of power and pleasure, this is already quite available and expressive. The elegance and length are (already) quite noteworthy. I can depend on Ugolaia to be a fair representative of the best of the vintage as a whole - even if some of them take many years to reveal same - and in this case, it does not disappoint. Many like to latch on to only the "best" vintages, which is a shame, because wines like this can be missed, and that's a tragedy. Beautiful. Drink 2018-2040. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) More so than any other 2013 Brunello di Montalcino, this was closed off and I could not get a (fair) read on it. Most of the 2013s are pretty easy to read (notwithstanding their classical structures), this, nope, not happening. My notepad reads: "traditional brick red color, clear; hole in the middle might fill out(?); very reluctant nose; reserve judgment". 14,0% abv., is fully resolved.

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Red
2016 Lisini Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Perhaps the most exciting newly released Rosso from this address I've encountered. The darker brick red color gave me pause for just a second, then I smelled all the incredible perfumes, and in an instant, couldn't remember anything else. This is already showing considerable depth and great length. My notepad scribble says "exciting". The 14,5% abv. is already fully resolved. Will be impossible to cellar any, despite how many I purchase, this is so good. Drink now thru 2031. highly recommended

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Red
2012 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) I've tasted this three times now. At the event, at the cantina, and in NYC. I've loved it each time, and all for the same reason, it's simply delicious. There are parts I like - all of the dusty soil that jumps out - , and there are parts that I shy away from (I'm oak averse). But at the end of the day, if I put away any notions of what's good and what's bad, and simply taste and enjoy the wine, I end up writing what I scribbled in my note pad "fantastic!" Generally speaking, I don't use many exclamation points, so when I do, I know I can look back at the note and tell just how exciting the wine really was. A total of 42 months in oak, this exhibits a lovely serving of fresh strawberries and cherries, Tuscan dust, and soil herb notes that really speak to me. That Andrea can do this, and keep the grape in harmony - notwithstanding all of the oak treatment - is a testament to his understated genius. Bottled in Sept '16, there are only 7,600 bottles for the world; get some. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Soil! iron, mushrooms, dried cherry and freshly picked strawberries. After a few minutes in the glass, dried herbs emerge; this is packing quite a lot, on the nose and palate. Acids are high, and consistent with the structure of many of the finer 2013 Brunello wines I've tasted this week. There's a unique flavor running through the middle - words escaped me, I just chose to enjoy it. The finish is long, the color a darker brick red, and the tannins are fine, and lightly sweet. Excellent. 2021-2037+ highly recommended

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Red
2016 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) I like it, but needs several years to integrate. This is a bit raw at the moment, with the tannins and acids a bit coarse, the fruit on the lighter side of medium-bodied. There's some very fine material here, but for my palate, this won't truly be in the zone for 4-5 more years. Great structure, just pretty unavailable/pleasurable just now. Still, the structure and acidity already begs for food, so if you're a traditionalist, feel free to pop a cork. For the rest, sock some away, you'll be glad you did. 14,0% abv., drink 2020-2030. recommended

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Red
2013 Voliero Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) This is going to sell very well, and very quickly, in the USA, I think (most likely everywhere else, too). If it doesn't, it'll be your gain, as prices may have a chance to remain fair. That said, this offers a WOW nose, with vg acids and tannins, and plenty of depth of fruit to back it all up. Some of the aromas skew international, and if you're put off by that, then leave the rest for us, because it's the taste that counts, and this tastes fabulous. No need for fancy descriptors, just buy as much as you can find. ~ 40 Euro at the cantina. Drink now thru 2039. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Voliero Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Darker brick red color, clear and bright. The nose, like many 2016 Rosso wines, is already quite open. Granted, this bottle was 2nd day juice, so it had the benefit of a little extra air. That said, I really liked the aromas, skewing toward ripe>modern after a few puffs of soil - but then it whipsawed back to soil, and I was happy again. In the past (6 years ago, when the label was created), the fruit used to come from the northern part of the zone, now, the fruit comes from six different sites, virtually spanning the north to the south. I really liked the tea, and strawberry notes, but really liked the vastness of aromas . 14,0% abv., drink now thru 2027. recommended

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Red
2013 Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino Fornace Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Pure, bright brick red, clear. Med>Medium+ body, with aromas and flavors saturated with Tuscan soil, dust, unripe cherry, forest, and tobacco. This is tight today (not surprisingly), and I feel it's better evaluated when it's actually ready, which, in my opinion isn't for another 5-10 years. Very classic build, elegant and detailed finish. 13,5% abv., drink 2023-2041. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino Ragnaie V.V. Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Full of promise, striking, and exciting. Pale brick red color, bright and clear. Fantastic tension, with super-fine tannins, racy acidity and (already) very good length. The precision here, coupled with the raw power+weightlessness just boggles the mind. This is the first year I can recall liking the V.V. over the Fornace (and that may change in 10 years, who knows) on release, but there it is, this is a stunner. My closing note says "LONG!" 13,5% abv., drink 2021-2041+ highly recommended+

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Red
2015 Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) While many are pouring their 2016 Rosso wines at today's event, Riccardo is pouring the 2015, as the 2016 will not be bottled until late next week; i.e. not ready yet. Traditional, pale>brick red color, clear and bright. The medium body is tight, pure, precisely focused; the length is already very good. In the top 10% of 2015 Rosso wines I've tasted for balance and structure - this still needs 2 more years to integrate, and should drink well for at least a decade after that. Impressive. recommended+

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Red
2012 Palazzina Le Macioche Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Le Macioche Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Perfect brick red color, bright and distinctive. Lean, tight, fit, balanced, and well-structured, this is going to be one of the longer-lived 2012 Riserva wines from this zone. Some might be inclined to say "austere", I'm inclined to say "needs time". Great potential and (already) very good length. An exciting wine. 30hl Slavonian casks for 48 months, with ~ 20 days on skins during maceration. Very impressive. 14,5% abv., drink 2022-2046. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) First tasted 3 weeks ago at the Benvenuto Brunello event in NYC, and then again today in Montalcino; consistent notes/rating. I've only a brief, unedited note, but I think this sums it up: Has it all! Exciting. Still not fully revealed; excellent balance and structure, super LONG. Tremendous potential. 14,0% abv., drink 2020-2039. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Le Chiuse Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) First tasted three weeks ago at Benvenuto Brunello NYC tasting, and I liked it, giving it a recommended+ rating. Today's tasting, for whatever reason was even better. It's nice to see that at least my notes were similar between the two events, if the rating was not the same; this is the reason that points don't work, but I digress. On to the note: luminous garnet, bright, and very pretty. Superb, exciting, and very bright nose offering excellent typicity(+), big, sweet tannins, and plenty of depth of flavor/aromas. This is just stunning on the palate (my note says WOW!); medium-bodied, red-fruited, LONG finish, structured and balanced. It's all here, and it's only getting better going forward. And this is a Rosso? Again, wow. 14,0% abv., drink 2018-2028. highly recommended

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Red
2013 La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Something of a departure from many/most of the new releases, this emphasizes style over origin. I've had Marco's wines back to his first vintage (1997, still have two left) - I also have about 5 different vintages of the normale, and the Riserva. That said, I find these need a number of years to shed the coat of creamy, toasty oak before the red fruits, soil and flowers truly emerge. Still, I'm probably in the minority, and most would find this nothing short of perfectly delicious (and approachable) straightaway. I plan to taste again under more controlled circumstances (service temp) before I leave Montalcino zone in a week's time. Drink now or in twenty years+. For the style, easily recommended

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Red
2013 La Poderina Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) A good success, but this needs time as it's still a bit tight and coarse at this stage. Medium-bodied, clean and pure, with good length already; developing complexity and very good acidity. Notwithstanding the ~ 60K bottles produced, this manages a good identity; probably begins peak in 5-6 years; solid value wine. HOLD. recommended+

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Red
2016 La Poderina Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) On par with some of the best Rosso wines ever from this address, but not able to break into the top quartile of competitors this year. Medium>medium+ body, red/dark red fruits. Lacks that extra level of energy and freshness that could help to better define the fruits, perhaps adding some sustained length, as well. Good, well short of very good, though. Drink now and for the next 7-8 or so years.

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Flight 3 (21 notes)

Red
2013 Madonna Nera Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Vinified in a traditional style (if not manner, i.e. no botti grandi), this vintage of Madonna Nera is a good success - already open, beautifully textured, with supporting structure, and good potential for further, positive development. 25 days of maceration on the skins, with the initial fermentation taking place in INOX. After, the wines are raised in older tonneau. This is medium>medium+ in body, with avg+ length, fine tannins and red-fruited in nature. Drink 2021-2038+. A lot to like here, and if you see it under $55, it's easily recommended

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Red
2013 Martoccia di Brunelli Luca Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) A good success, this juicy, somewhat open-knit effort is also well-structured, shows good detail, and offers avg+ length. Macerations can often go for ~ 30 days here, with the wines being raised (mostly) in large Slavonian casks for 42 months - much longer than required; a small part of the production is raised in barrique, mostly of 2nd or more passage. Not the most traditional, but who really cares as this is fresh, and quite tasty. A good value, and one that is under the radar. Now thru 2038+. Bravo, Luca. Easily recommended+

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Red
2013 MastroJanni Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) A very fine effort, and one that will drink well in its youth, though the best should begin about 7-8 years from today (if you're like me, and look for secondary and tertiary aspects). Red-fruited, structured, and elegant. No need for flowery prose, the wine speaks for itself and is easily highly recommended in this vintage.

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Red
2013 Máté - Podere il Falconaio Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Small production, high quality wine with a medium body, vg structure and an elegant disposition. No doubt this will cellar well for decades, it was a joy to taste, and sure to get better, likely hitting a peak plateau in about 10-12 more years. Traditionalists, take note, this is one to try if you're not yet familiar. highly recommended

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Red
2013 Padelletti Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Small production, high-quality wine offering good detail and, at this stage, hidden nuances that only came forward after significant swirling. There's an inner beauty here I'd like to get to know, but I'd bet it'll take a good 4-5 years before it's more open with its gifts. Traditional vinification, red-fruited, with very fine tannins and avg/avg+ length. On the pricey side of the equation, but based on what's in the glass, it's easily worth it. HOLD; drink 2023-2044. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Pian delle Querci Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) On the simple side of the equation, this was a bit spiritous at times (though that could have been bottle temp due to the room getting very, very full/warm). It's a big rosso, with avg+ length, darker red fruits, round-ish tannins, and a splash of structure. Of course, at this type of event, who's to say this wasn't bottled just a few days ago and is not really in top form. That said, appears ready to drink; pretty luminous garnet>brick red. 14,0% abv., drink now thru 2023. Both their Brunello and Riserva were excellent, so perhaps this needs more time(?). recommended

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Red
2013 Pian delle Querci Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) 3 years in 50hl Slavonian casks, only. The color is more pale brick red than average, it's very bright, clear and portends the lovely energy inside this traditionally-styled beauty. Really impressive structure on top of great typicity; LONG finish. Exciting. highly recommended

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Red
2012 Pian delle Querci Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Very pale brick red, odd, but in a welcome way, considering the vintage. This is BIG, yet remains elegant/lifted throughout, putting it in the top quartile of all Riserva wines tasted from this vintage. It's both excellent and exciting, and something I need to source (only 2,000 bottles). Drink 2022-2045. highly recommended

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Red
2016 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Medium-bodied, good energy, fresh and with the graceful lines the 2016 seems to be getting known for (at least to this taster). Med>med+ finish, red-fruited, with good purity. Likely a good value, certainly has the energy to pair well with a wide range of foods. May well benefit from 30 minutes of air prior to enjoying. Drink now thru 2025. recommended

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Red
2013 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) For a more commercial effort (i.e. 187,000 bottles), this shows good detail, focus and purity. Missing some of the energy that some of the top efforts in the room are offering, but still, it's a good wine, that in time may even climb to/near very good. I'm not sure of the value in the marketplace anymore (haven't purchased since the 1997 ), but I would think it's worth 50-60, for certain. Drink 2021-2037. recommended
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Red
2016 Piancornello Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Not offering much of a sense of place; slightly better sense of variety. Darker brick red>ruby, with sweet cherry skin, cherry juice, not much else, today. On the med.med+ palate, a touch of loam, dust, cherry, and good+ acidity. Medium body, with avg finish that satisfies though is short of thrilling, as many 2016 Rosso wines are today. 14,5% abv., drink 2018-2024. recommended

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Red
2013 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Consistent with my tasting of three weeks ago, this larger-scaled/darker colored Brunello offers a good sense of place/grape. A touch heavy at times, it seems to recover nicely ultimately showing good tension. Not yet fully integrated, some warmth and heaviness weaved in and out, though those visits were short and acceptable. I think it just needs 1-2 more years in the bottle to show its goods. 15,0% abv. drink 2020-2035. Based on potential and value, it's highly recommended

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Red
2012 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) HUGE tannins, again the darker brick red>ruby color. The finish is muted, the fruit (at this stage) seems simple, though some additional swirling suggested there is potential for some improvement. 15,0% abv., drink 2022-2031. Not something I'd buy, but with enough cellar age, could see myself enjoying a glass.

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Red
2016 Podere Brizio Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Warm, ripe, international-leaning nose. Medium body, just enough acidity, though clearly falling short of the tension many of today's 2016 Rosso are exhibiting. NR, not something I would drink or buy.

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Red
2013 Podere Brizio Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Of their three wines being poured today, this was the only one I found interesting/good. Brick red>ruby, a touch international on the nose (e.g. compote, toffee), though with some good soil and varietal notes firmly in the background, too. It's clean, balanced, with good purity. A good surprise. 14,0% abv., drink now thru 2034. recommended

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Red
2012 Podere Brizio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) The same color as the 2013 Brunello, a darker brick red>ruby. Opens with some loam, leather, followed by ripe red>dark red fruits. Medium>full body, avg acidity; missing the structure that would suggest this is anything other than a wine to be enjoyed in its youth. Short-ish finish with a puff of EtOH. 14,5% abv., drink now thru 2028. For the style, it's recommended, but not something I'd buy for my own cellar.

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Red
2013 Podere La Vigna Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Very good. 100% for the first years in grandi botti di Slavonia, and after (if my notes are to be believed, this conversation was entirely in Italian, mind you), 40% in used/aged barrique. That said, the color is a striking, typical brick red with some tawny at the rim. And while it may look as if it's got some age, the medium-bodied palate comes across as very traditional, and very fresh. With some air, the body adds a touch of weight; the length is already impressive. Solid, and highly recommended

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Red
2016 Podere La Vigna Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Fantastic, and something traditionalists will find very exciting. Lovely, bright pale brick red color, clear. Loam, iron, dust, soil, cherry, and a really nice, complex brown spice component. With six months in 60hl Slavonian casks, and a traditional maceration, some may call this austere, I find it beautiful, honest, and with a vibrancy of purity. Fruit bomb lovers, stay away. 13,5% abv., drink 2019 thru 2029. highly recommended

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Red
2012 Podere La Vigna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Another exciting wine, this making it 3/3 for this address, today. The nose is just gorgeous, it sucks you in, entices the senses -immediately and fully. It's got the same lovely color as the Brunello (whereas many Riserva are noticeably darker, especially from this vintage). Very good sense of place and grape; plenty of dusty, mineral-laden soil. There's a lot of fruit here, though the wine is artfully balanced and comes across much lighter in weight notwithstanding an expansive mid-palate. On the last sip, some tangy citrus and red apple notes. A wow wine, for traditionalists, mostly. 14,5% abv. (fully resolved), drink 2019 thru 2038+ highly recommended

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Red
2015 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Good>Very good, but not on par with the best of the 2016s being shown today; the 2016 will probably be released this time next year. Luminous brick red, striking and clear. It's tightly packed, red-fruited, already long on the finish and medium-bodied, with a pure, developing flavor profile. Will need a few year before it's ready to shine. 13,5% abv., drink 2020-2033. recommended

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Red
2013 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
(Benvenuto Brunello, 2018, Montalcino) Excellent. Luminous, striking brick red color. This was opened just seconds before tasting, and yet...it's stunning. Weightless, packed with precision, power and purity. This has it all, but most especially a brilliant future. If you're lucky enough to get some (just 15k bottles), this will wow for decades to come; should be at peak around 2030, and beyond, but already quite satisfying. 13,5% abv., drink 2019-2045+ highly recommended

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Closing

In short, this is a great event, and this year the energy was running high with producers and the press/trade/public both feeling happy and confident with the high quality of the wines on display. Only a few of the 2012 Riserva wines truly stood out for me, but the 2013 Brunello, and the 2016 Rosso(!) wines are of very fine quality. I'll be buying a lot of them, especially the Rosso wines, many of which are exciting.

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