Buyer Beware: Everything You Need to Know About the 2015 Brunello Vintage
If you follow Italian wine, you’ve likely heard the buzz surrounding the just-released 2015 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, with many pundits claiming it’s one of the best vintages ever. Coming on the heels of the washout 2014 vintage, unsurprisingly, a number of local winemakers have been touting the greatness of 2015 well before its official 2020 release.
Time for a reality check.
With few exceptions, vintages are almost never even across the board in Montalcino. Variations between altitudes, soils and microclimates, as well as producer experience and styles, make such sweeping acclaim almost impossible to apply to Brunello. But in all my years of tasting Brunello, never have I seen a vintage with such an erratic performance like 2015.
An overall hot and dry vintage, there are some drop-dead gorgeous 2015 Brunellos. But there’s also an unprecedented number of high alcohol wines clocking in at 15% alcohol by volume (abv), some even 15.5%, that lack freshness and balance. And while a minority, in between these two extremes are some lean wines with restrained alcohol, but unripe fruit.
Here’s your 2015 Brunello breakdown—the good, the bad and the ugly—to help you make sense of this “buyer beware” vintage.
By Kerin O’Keefe | Wine Enthusiast
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