The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino gives each one of their vintages a star rating. Each vintage receives between one and five stars. One and two star vintages have happened over the past seventy-one years so it’s important to pay close attention. Don’t worry – even low-star vintages have their merits. While your rubric for adjudication must shift, the wines still have Brunello magic. Five star (“cinque stelle”) ratings are a very special thing. They’re given about 25% of the time.
Weather conditions in 2012 were touch-and-go in Montalcino. This was one of the warmest and driest years on record, so you will see higher alcohol levels in the 2012 wines. Late February snow brought the water that was needed to move things along. Late May brought rains, so winemakers found themselves with more flowers and fewer grapes. The 2012 production is one third less than usual. Conditions were superb from late August through the end of the year, carrying the vintage to great success.
There are 221 bottler members of the Consorzio and each one presents their own interpretation of the vintage. You may not taste it when the wines are young, but producers really start to show unique flourishes as the wines age. Seek out at least one bottle from each of the 221 bottler members of the Consorzio and find out for yourself.
How many bottles of 2012 Brunello will you stockpile?