My top 5 picks: 2007 Brunello di Montalcino

Azienda Agricola Capanna

The Capanna farm is located north of Montalcino in the area of Montosoli. It’s a family-run operation with help from consulting enologist Paolo Vagaggini. The grapes are hand-selected and harvested, with four years of aging in Slavonian oak cask for the Brunello and five years for the Riserva. The Brunello of Capanna is traditional in style and truly speaks of its Tuscan terroir. 

2007 Capanna Brunello di MontalcinoThe nose showed black cherry, plums, sweet and spices with savory notes of brown sauce and mountain herbs. On the palate, it was at first lean with mixed berries and herbs, but filled out with time as the fruit turned darker yet focused with incredible depth, balance and with a fine tannic structure. It’s remarkably more open than expected at this young stage, yet its balance and structure promised a long life ahead. (93 points)

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Donatella is a large operation and it produces wines in multiple styles, both in and outside of Montalcino. The vineyards are located in the northwest from Montalcino. The Brunello is made at Casato Prime Donno in Montalcino, a winery known to be the first in Italy to be staffed only by women. The base-level Brunello is an enjoyable yet more modern style of Brunello. It’s the special selection “Prime Donne” that I love, made in a more traditional style with aging in large oak barrels.

2007 Donatella Brunello di Montalcino Prime DonneThe nose was finessed and classic in its performance with dusty red fruits, herbs and old cedar box. On the palate, it showed high-toned red berry fruit with an airy and fresh quality. The finish was long and pure with tannins peaking through at the close. (93 points)

Tenuta Oliveto

Located in Castelnuove dell’Adate, the extreme south of Montalcino, Tenuta Oliveto was a new name to me at last year’s Italian Wine master’s event. This year, their wines sang. I actually found it hard to move away from the glass. Vinification takes place in Slavonian oak vats with a maceration of 18 to 20 days. From there, the Brunello sees 30 months in French oak tonneaux before being bottled and rested for another 30 months. Their Brunello is an elegant and wistful wine with soaring aromatics.

2007 Tenuta Oliveto Brunello di MontalcinoThe refined nose showed red berries, airy herbal notes and powdered sugar. On the palate, it was velvety yet structured and focused with juicy black cherry and herbs. On the finish, sour berries lingered yet were turned juicy by this wine’s zesty acidity. This wine was a joy to drink. (93 points)

Il Poggione

Father and son team Fabrizio and Alessandro Bindocci make some of the best Brunello from year to year, with the belief that the secret of producing great red wines lies in tending the vines. Rigorous green harvesting is done throughout the vineyards and selection of the grapes is done by hand. The Brunello is aged in large French oak barrels. Il Poggione is one of the largest estates in Montalcino with 125 hectares planted with vines, yet the size of the estate never hinders the quality found in the bottle.

2007 Il Poggione Brunello di MontalcinoThe nose showed ripe strawberry, cedar and minerals with a hint of caramel. On the palate, it was soft and mouth-filling with dark red fruits, baker’s chocolate and a fine structure that was nearly masked by its ripe, focused fruit. The finish was long, long, long. (92 points)

Col d’Orcia

Col d’Orcia is one of historic properties in Brunello and one of the largest producers. The vineyards are located on the southern slope of Montalcino with 106 hectares planted to Brunello. The Bozzolino vineyard produces their Brunello di Montalcino. Aging of the wine takes place in Slavonian and selected French oak.

2007 Col d’Orcia Brunello di MontalcinoThe nose showed vibrant, lush red fruits, spices and herbs. On the palate, it was round yet focused with intense ripe cherry and spice notes. The finish was cut short by youthful tannins yet showed much promise. (91 points)