Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino 2018
“Over the last few years, Le Chiuse di Sotto has really dialed up the quality and must now be considered one of the leading estates in Montalcino.” – Antonio Galloni (Vinous)
Gianni Brunelli, a man of many interests, established Siena’s Osteria Le Logge (now one of the top restaurants of the city) in 1977. In 1987, he returned to Montalcino and purchased ‘Le Chiuse di Sotto,’ an estate that had belonged to his father Dino, with 2 hectares of vineyards standing at 250 meters above sea level in the northern part of the region. Brunelli replanted most of the vines in 1989 but left untouched a small plot of older holdings dating back to his father’s original 1947 plantings. After Gianni passed away in 2008, his wife Laura, who was already working at the estate, took the reins, along with her brother, Adriano.
A few years ago, the estate expanded with the purchase of the ‘Podernovone’ vineyard, located further south in Montalcino. The 4-hectare property sits at 500 meters above sea level and has a magnificent view of Monte Amiata. Podernovone’s soil is comprised of calcareous-marl and schist, which reflects light and heat, leading to a warmer site. ‘Le Chiuse di Sotto,’ a 2-hectare plot, is cool and airy, bringing bright acidity to the blend. The Brunelli’s vineyard sites allow them to blend north and south to achieve great balance, no matter what the vintage brings.
Vineyard & Cellar Practices: According to Laura Brunelli, the estate has been farmed organically since the beginning. As an alternative to pesticides, they use the sexual confusion method. In late July, a green harvest is performed to leave 7-8 bunches per vine. The vineyards are worked manually throughout the growing cycle – each 1ha of vines requires over 400 hours of work. Selected yeasts are used for fermentation; malolactic occurs naturally.
97 Pts - Karen O’keefe (M.W.) - “Aromas of ripe berry, forest floor, camphor and new leather form the nose. Juicy and delicious, the elegant palate has an enticing, pristine purity of fruit, delivering succulent red cherry and raspberry compote punctuated with black tea and white pepper before closing on a hint of almond. Vibrant acidity and taut, refined tannins provide support. Drink through 2023–2030.”
The 2018 Brunello di Montalcino does a great job of capturing the essence and the spirit of Sangiovese, a grape that delivers infinitely nuanced and complex results when in the right hands. This wine reveals wild cherry, blue violet, blood orange, rusty nail and sweet earth. There is a hint of scorched earth or baked clay that underlines the warmest months in this growing cycle. The results are balanced and fresh. I've mentioned alcohol content throughout this report, and although the 14% registered here is still quite high, is it below the average for its peers. This is a job very well done. Some 15,700 bottles, 200 magnums and 30 three-liter bottles were released.
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