Nicolas Clerc MS, Aldo Fiordelli and Susan Hulme MW tasted 93 Rosso di Montalcino wines, with 1 Outstanding and 21 Highly Recommended.
Entry criteria: Producers and UK agents were invited to submit Rosso di Montalcino red wines from the 2016 and 2017 vintages, with retail availability in the UK or US.
Scroll down to see the tasting notes & scores
Of the 93 Rosso di Montalcino wines assessed in this panel tasting, the quality was very good, with 87% rated at Recommended or above, and all three of the judges remarkably consistent in scoring. There were few dramatic ups and downs, with just a single wine achieving an Outstanding rating – though 21 others scored 90 points or more.
Top Rosso di Montalcinos from the panel tasting:
Rosso di Montalcino: know your vintages
2018: Much cooler year than 2017. The wines are lively, fresh and not overly ripe, but elegant and appealing. In the main, these are for early drinking.
2017: Spring frosts and then one of the hottest summers on record, often exceeding 40°C, with drought conditions in many places. Reduced yields. Very challenging, separating the great winemakers from the good.
2016: Exceptional for Sangiovese – one of the best of the past 20 years. Not too hot, with cool nights. The best wines have precise aromas and flavours with beautifully harmonious tannins. Keep or drink.
2015 :Hot and generally very good. Ripe strawberry fruit and rich tannins. Lacks the refinement of 2016 but still highly rated. Keep or drink.
2014: A difficult vintage, cool and wet, resulting in fresh wines with good acidity but sometimes green, herbal qualities. Early to mid-term drinking.
2013: Perfect conditions between July and September allowed a traditional October harvest. A classic, elegant vintage, with great potential.
Rosso di Montalcino: the facts
DOC status: 1983
Grape variety: 100% Sangiovese (known locally as Brunello)
Area under vine: 510ha; plantings above 600m have been permitted since 2015, due to the ripening influence of global warming
Production: (2016) 35,500hl Minimum alcohol 12%
Ageing: Minimum of 10 months (no oak requirement); the wines can be released on 1 September in the year following the harvest
Closures: Screwcaps permitted from 2015
Decanter Premium members have access to an exclusive Brunello di Montalcino 2014 vintage report by Michaela Morris, with nearly 120 tasting notes including late-release Riserva 2013s