Tuscany report: Top scoring new releases from Brunello di Montalcino to Chianti Classico
Michaela Morris tastes the latest releases in Tuscany, including the highly anticipated Brunello di Montalcino 2015 wines, plus Chianti Classico 2017.
Reviewing my notes from Tuscany’s Anteprime tasting, I have a keen sense of nostalgia.
This full-throttle showing of the region’s latest releases marked my last trip to Italy. I am not sure when I will be able to return to Tuscany’s munificent hills, but I will rely on these wines to transport me there until then.
As always, the tastings commenced with Chianti Classico, presenting far more wine than was possible to try.
I focused on the 2018 ‘annata’ wines, almost confounding in their exuberance of aromas yet softness of structure.
These were juxtaposed with the 2017 Riserva and Gran Selezione wines; some surprisingly juicy and balanced, others overshadowed by the many stellar 2016 and 2015 wines that continue to emerge.
Sandwiched between Chianti Classico’s multifaceted offerings and Brunello di Montalcino’s generous 2015s, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was in a somewhat awkward position.
To boot, the austere 2017 vintage was in the hot seat coming on the heels of the more charming 2016. Nevertheless, I found much to be positive about here.
Providing the grand finale, Brunello di Montalcino’s 2015 vintage was fraught with expectations.
While not all of these were met, there is undeniably a lot to like in this vintage.
It may not completely satisfy staunch classicists in the habit of tucking away bottles for years, yet its supple, friendly and accessible nature will have wide appeal.
“After sitting out the 2014 vintage, Andrea Costanti calls 2015 a beautiful year and one of the best in the history of Brunello. He deemed it exceptional enough to craft a Riserva (to be released in 2021) yet his classic Brunello hasn’t suffered for it. In fact, it’s one of the greatest successes of the vintage. Gorgeous, seductive aromas are already expressive but still youthful. Cherry and plum are enveloped by exotic spice and a faint smokiness. The palate is plush and velvety with layers of powdery tannins that build, and tangy acid that cleanses the palate. Hedonistic but brilliantly balanced, it is hard to resist now but the best is definitely yet to come.” -Michaela Morris, Decanter, Apr. 2020
“The Fuligni estate is located between the town of Montalcino and Torrenieri in the northeast. Its 10ha of vineyards reach up to 450 metres on rocky marls and are mostly east facing. This rather gentle, cooler exposition worked in the wine’s favour in 2015. While full-bodied, it is adeptly proportioned and even demonstrates great precision, boasting sweet, dried herbs, coriander and leather atop plush red cherries. There is a stoniness underneath, with layers of clingy tannins and a sappy, appetising finish.” -Michaela Morris, Decanter, Apr. 2020
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