“..some of the most beautiful, exotic beasts I’ve ever seen in Montalcino… don’t make the mistake of missing out on some of the magic that the 2017 vintage has created.” Eric Guido, Vinous Dec 2021
The 2017 Brunellos are about to launch onto the market, and they offer some tremendous opportunities, for both mid-term cellaring and early drinking. However, some caution is required. It is a year where the skills of the growers were tested to the full and therefore it is important to focus and be selective. But scratch beneath the surface, take our advice and those of the critics, and you will be rewarded with some truly exciting Brunellos at great opening prices.
The 2017 Growing Season
Whereas 2016 was a textbook vintage where climatically everything fell into place at precisely the right moment, in 2017 the growers felt the full force of nature. There were late frosts to contend with for some followed by extensive dry spells and extreme heat throughout July and August.
However, as is always the case, the importance of the location and altitude of each vineyard site is paramount. What was crucial too, was the hard work, dedication and sacrifices each winemaker was willing to make to protect the vines and allow them to flourish. In 2017 they needed to dig deep into their bag of tricks and those that did were handsomely rewarded with some fine results.
So where do the successes of 2017 lie?
Those estates with vineyards located at higher altitudes, either to the north or south of the region, and particularly those with a cooler exposition to the north, benefitted from more moderate conditions and night-time ventilation. This offered the vines enough respite throughout the hotter spells to ensure that the grapes reached their full phenolic ripeness at harvest time. Whilst it’s easy to pinpoint northerly growers such as Canalicchio di Sopra and Il Marroneto as faring best, there are many to the south with vineyards also at high altitudes such as Talenti that produced incredible results.
We spent a week in Montalcino in October 2021 tasting across a broad selection of estates from north to south. Our offers will consist solely of those that have absolutely nailed it this year, producing wines on a par with their 2016 counterparts. These growers have already been bestowed with exceptional reviews and scores from the critics and this year we are delighted to welcome two exceptional growers to the fold, Gianni Brunelli and Castello di Romitorio.
In his December 2021 report Vinous’ leading Brunello critic, Eric Guido writes, “As a lover and collector of Brunello, I would be doing myself a disservice by missing out on some of the exotic and wildly successful wines of this unique vintage.”
Our campaign begins on Tuesday 15th February, and we will offer the following estates:
- Canalicchio di Sopra “a beautiful rendition of the 2017 vintage, one that takes the dry warmth of the year and expresses it with tremendous energy and verve.” - Vinous
- Il Marroneto “communicates its undeniable beauty and grace. a total classic”. Vinous
- Le Potazzine “incredible persistence but also poise, structured yet primary, exactly as it should be at this young stage.” - Vinous
- Altesino “While some cellaring will be needed, I expect the 2017 Montosoli to enjoy a broad, open and highly pleasurable drinking window” - Vinous
- Poggio di Sotto “the 2017 is a wine that’s not to be missed.” - Vinous
- Salicutti “The 2017 is a total success, transcending the warm and dry conditions of the vintage.” - Vinous
- Gianni Brunelli (New) “This is pure silk on the palate, rich and pliant, as it slowly saturates the senses with mineral-laced red and hints of blue fruit” - Vinous
- Talenti “What a gorgeous 2017, and with short-term cellaring potential as well” - Vinous
- Castello di Romitorio (New) “highly promising expression of the vintage from Castello Romitorio”. - Vinous
- Plus Salvioni, Pieve di Santa Restituta (Gaja), Argiano and Sesti…
Also look out for the knockout and very limited 2016 Brunello Riservas which are released on to the market a year after the annata wines. These have either benefitted from extra ageing in bottle or greater vineyard or clonal selection by the estate.
And finally, the 2020 Rosso di Montalcinos. These younger siblings are released after a minimum of 12 months and offer outrageous value for money. These days a quality Rosso from top grower such Le Potazzine or Canalicchio di Sopra is well worth seeking out as it offers a superb insight into the vintage and what’s to follow for the Brunello in due course at around £20 per bottle all in.