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The Superb 2012 Brunello Vintage...

"Every once in a while, when visiting a specific wine region, I taste so many good bottles that I find myself thinking I might just turn in my author's pen and start making wine…Most recently, this happened during my tastings of the 2012 Brunellos, when I tried one delicious example after another." Antonio Galloni

Sesti's hilltop compound

Sesti - The Wild One
Giuseppe Sesti came across an overgrown slice of heaven on a hill beneath the castle of Argiano. Full-grown trees were growing through the abandoned buildings he found there, yet he saw the potential and now resides in the most envious location, with views and vines all about and his sumptuous wines resting in tanks and barrels in his winery buildings.

Sesti is the epitome of wild, unalloyed Brunello. The wines are feral, joyful and have a sense of those beautiful sun-drenched slopes and stunning landscape.
Giugi Sesti pouring the good stuff
2015 Rosso di Montalcino, Sesti
£189 in bond a dozen  Drink 2018-21
Aromas here are rich and redolent of pure glacée strawberry fruit through which an almond wisp wanders. The palate is deliciously fruity and within the fruit concentration are tannins that are fresh and upright. There's mineral juiciness running right through this to a finish of lasting, tacky grip. A piece of lamb would create a heavenly table.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti
£273 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-28
The nose here is a riveting amalgam of red liquorice sweetness and new leather and spice and wild strawberries. The palate, following after, is disarmingly cool and straight, having fine control. Tannin is fresh and nutty and integrated. In fact, this is structured right through. One long and consistent wine showing sweet spice throughout. Lovely stuff.
"Plush, multi-layered palate with fine, polished tannins, and loads of them. Gorgeous, tangy, deep-fruit finish." jancisrobinson.com


Colleoni - The Lofty One
Floating high above a mind-bending and seemingly endless vista the Colleoni estate lies close to the town of Montalcino at significant altitude. It's a beautiful place producing beautiful wines, the altitude tempering the potential torridness of the Tuscan summers and producing wines of extraordinary finesse.
Marino Colleoni posing for a menswear catalogue
2015 Rosso di Montalcino, Colleoni
£108 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-21
A nose airy and domestic and rosy. Very red, the fruit: of cherries and nuts. And there are those floral scents of flowers both fresh and dried. In essence, yum. The palate is very delicious and complete, gaining in nutty-fresh structure throughout. This becomes really quite intense without ever losing its grace and elegance. The death, when it comes, is assertive. Just a very lovely thing.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Colleoni
£252 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-27

A high-toned nose full of fruit-cake and associated spices. The palate offers a plush and fleshy entry embedded within which one finds very fine tannin that extends throughout. This is both laid back and forward. There's a final upturn of grip giving a focused finale to this delicious 2012 Brunello.


Romitorio - The Exotic One
I knew precious little about this estate (having tasted just a single example of their wine) before visiting the place three years ago. That Tuscan feeling of timelessness is acutely felt here. One could imagine that little has changed since emperors were ruling by the Palatine Hill a few hundred miles to the south. The gardens are full of dappled shade from surrounding trees and statues populate the surroundings. One gets a sense of both altitude and intimacy from the views garnered between the trees, across the vineyards.
Just some of the statuary at Romitorio
2015 Rosso di Montalcino, Romitorio
£90 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-21
This gives up very nutty aromas that sit atop domestic, raspberry fruit, all punctuated by exotic spices. There are bits and pieces of plum, too. Sip it and this proves to be a rich, nutty and spicy wine full of structured intensity. There are fine, assertive tannins right through this very long wine. This leaves the lasting freshness and clean tannin. A super example.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Romitorio
£189 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-26
There's something almost liqueur-like about this on the nose. It offers rich smoke-inflected aromas of red and blue fruits and an intriguing scent like the best unsmoked pipe-tobacco: almost something Middle Eastern about it. The palate is also deliciously smoky and lush with sumptuously ripe dark fruit through which swells the grip and juicy freshness. A compellingly sexy thing.


La Rasina - The Dark Northerner
This estate lies north-east of Montalcino and is the paradigm for the northern style of Brunello. Here the pheromones are cooled by synapses that fire and stir the intellect. Brunello for claret lovers would be a lazy summation. Yet structurally, these wines are more similar to the Left Bank wines of Bordeaux than the burgundy/rhône suggestion one gets from the southern examples.

2015 Rosso di Montalcino, La Rasina
£69 in bond per 6  Drink 2017-21
Stand-out for its dark fruit aromas and bayleaf intrigue. There's a rich purity about this, but quite different from the other wines on this offering. There's even a hint of cassis about the fruit on the palate, as well as a touch of chestnut. This is a busy and long thing of grippy, piquant tannin. Really quite intense and fully structured wine showing minerality at the core.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino, La Rasina
£180 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-28
Rich and dark nose. I find dry spice and dried meat (charcuterie) and lots of ginger and almond. This smells characterful and delicious. The palate is momentarily plush, then structured and very direct. A long wine of integrated, tacky-fine tannin. Dark and smoky fruit with herbal complications through to a fabulously intense finish that becomes very mineral. A stunner.


Salicutti - The Couture One
This estate was sold recently. Top awards and high marks for recent vintages evidently catalysed interest. I find the wine generally to be refined, elegant, complex and extremely rewarding to drink. So this is a southern Brunello, yet for me it eschews the funky, sauvage character that is so often the hallmark of the wines of this sector. Class, in other words, in a glass.
The view from the Salicutti winery, complete with English wine trade
2014 Rosso di Montalcino, Salicutti
£126 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-22 
Very nutty aromas - plus a clean leather note - adorn scents of red and black fruit. The palate is quickly incisive after a start that comes across as a little creamy; perhaps a bit forward, offering mild structure. This is a long wine. And it's one that becomes increasingly mineral in the mouth. The delicious fruit returns and leads one through to a rockily-mineral death.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione, Salicutti
£282 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-28
Liquorice and marzipan combine with dark red wild fruits on the nose and there's a complexity of dried herbs to be found here. A rich and richly structured wine, this; structured from the very front. The tannins are uber-sophisticated. One classy and fabulous wine.
***This is Antonio Galloni's Top Wine of The Vintage***


Poggio di Sotto - The Grand Cru Burgundy of Montalcino 
Ask anyone to pick a handful of the top producers of Brunello di Montalcino and Poggio di Sotto would be firmly amongst them. There are many who would suggest that this estate is the zenith of all that great Brunello offers: something of the head and the loins; class and wildness; focus and emotion. In that way, it offers an echo of what makes the great wines of Burgundy great: a thread; a story that one follows, enthralled, to the last sip.

Poggio di Sotto gardens and beyond
2014 Rosso di Montalcino, Poggio di Sotto
£270 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-23
Lovely nose of sweet fruit and rose-y, garden scents. Fruit is red and darker and there's a pastille-like density to aromas that are nuanced by scents of dry spice. The palate is instantly fresh and direct, with knit, nutty-fresh tannin. This offers a really fresh push to the exceedingly long finish that is laden with a fresh minerality. Complicated, thought provoking and exciting wine.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Poggio di Sotto
£663 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-30
Really sweet nose almost has that quality of the classiest Grenache wines from the sandy soils to the north of Châteauneuf. Lovely cherry fruit on display, but otherwise celestial and indefinable. Take a sip and the entry is lush and supple, then quickly fresh and more upright at the core. Fruit comes across like the classiest Burgundian silk, almost Musigny-like. And it goes on to become alive with grip. A spicy and upright wine, busy at the death. Fabulous.


Miani
Some time ago we sent out an offer of white wines from an estate that produces some of Italy's finest liquids. Included in the text was a prediction: that those who knew the estate would buy the wines; those that didn't would be put off by the slightly punchy tickets.

And blow me if I don't turn out to be Mystic Meg after all. We had big juicy orders from those who have experience of these miraculous fluids. Elsewhere, a sound of silence that would have done Paul and Art proud.

Well, there's still stock available. And Antonio Galloni has just published his tasting notes for these wines. I thought it might swing the ditherers.

The new critique can be found here:
2015 Sauvignon, Miani
£165 in bond per 6  Drink 2017-19

"Miani's 2015 Sauvignon is fabulous. Varietal aromatics make a strong first impression, before waves of intense yellow stone fruit, chamomile, lemon confit, dried flowers and sage develop in the glass. Intense, powerful and remarkably fresh for a wine of its size, the 2015 Sauvignon is a must-have for Miani fans. That includes me, by the way. The Sauvignon is a blend of young vine fruit from Zitelle, plus the little fruit that would have gone into the Banel bottling. 95/100. Drink 2018-23." Antonio Galloni

2015 Sauvignon Zitelle, Miani
£270 in bond per 6  Drink 2017-21

"The 2015 Sauvignon Zitelle is a terrific introduction to the Miani house style. The Zitelle possesses lovely varietal aromatics and layers of intense fruit, but with a bit less overall intensity in all of its components than some of the bigger whites in this range. The more medium-bodied style makes for a Miani white that can be enjoyed pretty much upon release, whereas some of the other 2015 whites need time in bottle to be at their best. 93/100. Drink 2017-21." Antonio Galloni

2015 Sauvignon Zitelle Cava, Miani
£270 in bond per 6  Drink 2017-21

"The 2015 Sauvignon Zitelle Cava shows the richer, more voluptuous side of this site. Ripe apricot, peach, orange peel, spice, mint and lightly honeyed notes give the 2015 its voluptuous, racy personality. Open-knit and supremely inviting, with no hard edges whatsoever, the 2015 is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. The Zitelle Cava emerges from a small plot within Zitelle where the soils are especially poor and cause the plants to struggle, which also produces almost unusually rich fruit. 92/100. Drink 2017-21." Antonio Galloni

2013 Merlot Filip, Miani
£702 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-32

"The 2013 Merlot Filip is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Today, the wine is tightly wound and still in a phase of bottle shock. Savory aromatics, dried rose petal, bright red stone fruit and menthol open up over time, but only with great reluctance. The 2013 was more impressive when I tasted it from barrel. I suspect this needs time in bottle to be at its best. 94+/100. Drink 2020-38." Antonio Galloni


2013 Merlot Buri, Miani
£702 in bond per 6  Drink 2021-32

"Crème de cassis, graphite, smoke, new leather, spice and blackberry jam are some of the many notes that develop in the 2013 Merlot Buri. Rich, dark, and creamy on the palate, the 2013 exudes depth. Even so, the young 2013 is far less tannic and concentrated than in the past. Tasted next to the Filip, the Buri is darker and quite bit bigger. Even so, there is more finesse in the 2013 than I have seen in the past, when the Buri has been much more tannic and overtly powerful. 97/100. Drink 2020-38." Antonio Galloni


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