Brunello di Montalcino 2016

The vintage in a nutshell

  • The finest year for Brunello di Montalcino since 2010, possibly 1990.
  • Climate - a year without extremes with rain and sun intervening at precisely the right time. A warm summer that was dry but never too hot, with noticeably cool evenings enhancing the freshness in the wines. Perfect harvesting conditions from mid September through to mid October.
  • Style of 2016 - dark floral aromatics, precise and elegant with firm tannins and excellent freshness. Unparalleled balance in the wines.
  • Cellarable – 2016’s signature is one of purity and balance. In many cases the wines will age for 25+ years.


A little more detail


No report this year would be complete without a reference to the previous year’s release, 2015. As with Bordeaux and Burgundy both 2015 and 2016 are extremely fine yet stylistically different vintages that will promote fascinating comparisons in the decades to come.

2015 is often referred to as a ‘farmer’s vintage’, a year where adeptness of the winemaker both in the vineyard and winery played a crucial role in determining the outcome and success of the wine. It was incredibly hot and dry throughout July and August of 2015 with temperatures well into the high 40s which posed a direct threat to the vines who were on the verge of shutting down. If your vineyards were situated at altitudes with greater exposure to diurnal shifts or exposed to the west’s cooler airflows off the Tyrennian sea you were able to control the impact of the extreme heat much better during the arid summer months than those less exposed at lower levels. The resulting signature of 2015 is one of opulence, richness and decadence, with lower acidity levels and many of the wines will be ideal to consume over the near to mid-term. There is less terroir identity to each of the wines but they are hugely enjoyable.

In direct contrast, 2016 never reached the same extreme temperatures during the summer months. The year began with considerable rainfall in January and February which refreshed the water levels. March was relatively cool and April dry. There then followed more rain throughout May and June. It remained cool but with excellent ventilation preventing the onset of any rot. What this meant is that when the July and August turned warmer, the vines were constantly nourished and with the lack of extreme heat the physiological development of the grapes remained constant and even.

The diurnal temperature shifts that occurred between warm days and cool nights were greater in 2016 and continued into autumn and this has certainly played a major role in accentuating the wonderful dark floral aromas and freshness that are evident in the wines. To quote Francesco Ripaccioli of Canalicchio di Sopra in the northern eastern part of Montalcino, “if we could control the climate of a vintage artificially, I believe that I would program it to be just like the year 2016.”

With a growing season that seemed devoid of any wild extremes, harvesting occurred between early September and mid-October depending on exact location.

What the critics say:


“The big difference with the 2016 Brunello tasting was how many lesser-known producers made truly outstanding wines. The vintage seems to be a pivotal moment for the region where so many estates, even the cooperatives, are making outstanding quality wines. I am excited for the future of Brunello and consumer and the trade can revel in the diversity in names and prices for outstanding quality wines from the region”. – James Suckling

Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate sees similarities between 2016 and 2010: “At this stage, I’d put the two vintages on similar standing, with 2010 defined by the sheer purity of the fruit and 2016 expressed more amply in terms of linearity, complexity and depth. Both vintages are engineered for safekeeping under lock and key in your cellar.”

“If I had to think of one way to universally describe the majority of wines from the 2016 vintage, I would offer that they are like a well-muscled black stallion in its prime. They are dark yet radiant, expressive, nearly explosive at times, yet pure, poised and structured. These are wines that capture your imagination; and no matter how youthfully tense they are today, you simply can’t help but revisit a glass over and over again; because in many cases, the aromatics alone are intoxicating… finding a solidly performing bottle of 2016 Brunello di Montalcino won’t be difficult for any consumer.” – Eric Guido, Vinous

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Vintage  

Size Qty Price Price (Inc VAT) Stat

 

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Pricing

  • IN BOND prices exclude UK Duty and VAT. Wines can be purchased In Bond for storage in Private Reserves or another bonded warehouse, or for export to non-EU countries. Duty and VAT must be paid before delivery can take place.

  • RETAIL prices include UK Duty and VAT. Wines for UK delivery can only be purchased this way.

Additional Information

  • Duty Paid wines have been removed from Bond and cannot subsequently be returned to Bond.  VAT is payable on Duty Paid wines. These wines must remain Duty Paid but can be purchased as such for storage subject to VAT.

  • En Primeur wines can only be purchased In Bond. On arrival in the UK these wines can either be stored In Bond in Private Reserves or another bonded warehouse or delivered directly to you. When you decide to take delivery, Duty and VAT at the prevailing rate become payable.

Tax status

  • IB: In Bond. These wines have had no UK Duty or VAT paid on them. Wines can be purchased In Bond for storage in Private Reserves or another bonded warehouse, or for export to non-EU countries.

  • DP: Duty Paid. Wines for immediate UK delivery must be purchased Duty Paid. VAT is payable on Duty Paid wines. Wines which have been removed from Bond cannot subsequently be returned to Bond. They must remain Duty Paid but can be purchased as such for storage subject to VAT.

  • EP: En Primeur. These wines are lying in the Domaines’ cellars until shipping. They can only be purchased In Bond. On arrival in the UK these wines can either be stored In Bond in Private Reserves or another bonded warehouse or delivered directly to you. When you decide to take delivery, Duty and VAT at the prevailing rate become payable.