Montalcino, tastings in the cellar

Montalcino is a fundamental area in the Italian oenological landscape and a visit in November is always an experience, the new wine is still moving and the air one breathes is special. A tour of Montalcino especially allows one to get an idea of the five vintages that will come out. I chose three artisan producers, less than 100,000 bottles overall, which in recent years have been presenting wines rich in personality and character: Le Potazzine, Pietroso and Salicutti.

Set to become Brunello di Montalcino docg 2009:

- Cerbaiona: a great wine, Diego Molinari confirms his special sensitivity and offers a slender  and dynamic version of his Brunello. I am certain that a few of the passionate drinkers will find it more bear than other versions, but be careful to mix levity for lightness. The Rosso igt 2010 is also very interesting: a rich and spicy wine that anticipates the greatness of Brunello.

- Le Potazzine: a nice interpretation of a vintage that is considered, wrongly in my opinion, minor. Gigliola and Giuseppe always manage to give a personal imprint to their wines that are precise in defining the fruit, elegant, with a stretched plot, intense, profound without heaviness.

- Pietroso: a confirmation after my first tasting in spring, it's a brilliant wine and well defined, a further step forward in the direction that Gianni Pignattai is firmly taking. The balance achieved thanks to precise wine-making and to a passage in medium-sized wood barrels, which integrates the primary characters of the wine, is striking.

- Salicutti: Francesco Leanza will come out with a new unprecedented label, called Tre Vigne (three vineyards) because for the first time the production of the Sorgente vineyard's has been included in the composition of the Brunello, which up until now has been obtained from the Piaggione and Piaggione Sopra vineyards. The result is a Brunello that recalls the profile of the Rosso 2009, more full-bodied, warmer and supple than classic versions, an immediate and available wine.

Set to become Brunello di Montalcino docg 2010 (tasting from cask)

The 2010 vintage looks as if it will be an exceptional one in Montalcino, many Rosso have anticipated a good year and my tastings confirm this.

Le Potazzine, Pietroso and Salicutti presented wines that are striking and charming for the precision and brilliance together with a powerful depth that anticipates a bright future. There will be a lot of time to fully value the wines after they have been bottled, but the premises are excellent.

Worth mentioning is a new wine at Pietroso, called Villa Montosoli, which has been obtained from a section of the historic vineyard that Gianni has rented ,it's a powerful and concentrated igt. Fornello is another name worth remembering because it could become a great bottle.

Set to become Brunello di Montalcino docg 2011 (tasting from cask)

The vintage, you will all remember, was characterized by a heat wave that in the second half of August upset the grape's ripening and I was worried that the wines, especially Brunello, would have been affected. Congratulations to those producers that managed to preserve the wines intact and fresh and I particularly want to highlight barrel 13 of Le Potazzine where the 2011 reserve is maturing. Salicutti will also produce reserve and both express the best features of a great Brunello: intensity, powerfulness and depth dressed with a vibrant acidity. Make a note of the appointment in 2017. For those of you who are in a hurry, the vintage version of Pietroso, already assembled in wood, looks set to be rich and juicy and will be available in 2016.

We will talk about the 2012 and 2013 vintages later, the wines I tasted in the cellars are all very promising , but it's still early to describe them since they are yet to be assembled. Le Potazzine with its new tapered fermentation vat in Slavonia oak should be kept under control.

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