When trying to describe the evolution of Brunello di Montalcino over the last 40 years, one of the names that I personally consider essential is that of Gianni Brunelli and his winery. Although, unfortunately, the love story between Montalcino and this winemaker lasted just twenty years and ended prematurely with his death, the values expressed resist time, thanks to the perseverance of Gianni’s wife, Laura, who today continues to lead the winery with the same determination.
Gianni and Laura had met in the 70s, he was an industrial worker and she was an off-site student in biology, and since then they had begun to cultivate the first common dream: the opening of a tavern run in a traditional way. The second step was, in 1987, the acquisition of the company “Le Chiuse di Sotto”, in which Gianni’s father had served, and of its four and a half hectares of land, part vineyard (two hectares) and part olive grove (the remaining two and a half) in the north-eastern sector of Montalcino. The winery will undergo an expansion in a relatively short time, in the mid-90’s, with the purchase of another ten hectares, half of which cultivated with vineyards, in the south-eastern quadrant of the appellation, near Sant’Antimo.
Gianni’s philosophy, which still animates the winery, was based on the conviction that only excellent grapes could give rise to excellent wines, and this conviction led, and still leads, to an almost obsessive analysis of the single vineyard operations, carried out according to parameters that vary due to the specificities of each individual vintage. It was this study that led to the final recipe of the wines of this winery, obtained by balancing the characteristics of the grapes of the Northeast vineyards (more fragrant and fruity) with those of the Southeast area (richer in color and tannins). In the cellar you just have to enhance what nature has provided to give and, to get the best, the main objective is to allow all the steps of winemaking to take place in constantly clean and hygienized environments.
An example of this approach is Brunello di Montalcino Riserva made from Sangiovese grosso grapes cultivated in the estates of Canalicchio (Northeast) and Podernovone (Southeast) with a density of 4500 plants per hectare. After a careful manual harvest, in small crates, the grapes are taken to the cellar where, thanks to a solar energy system and its structure based on the use of gravity, they face a second selection on the specific sorting table. Fermentation, which takes place at a temperature of 28 ºC, lasts 5-6 days and is followed by a delicate but prolonged maceration (25-30 days) and 34 months of aging in large Slavonia oak barrels. Once bottled, the wine rests a few months in glass before marketing.
The 2013 vintage shows a pretty intense ruby color, accompanied by an olfactory fan that opens on notes of creme de cassis, black cherry jam, tarocco orange and pot pourri, followed by cranberry, carob, cigar chopping and undergrowth, with final echoes of roasting, vinyl and pyric powder. The palate is characterized by a great depth of taste in which stands out both the tannic and the savory/mineral components, with a good balsamic side enriched by the return of red fruit and spices that accompany the sip to an impressive length closure.
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