Brunello di Montalcino 2010 – the finest vintage yet?

The near-perfect growing conditions in 2010 have resulted in one of the finest vintages in a generation. Here are three talented winemakers who have truly excelled.

Famous for being the DOCG with the longest ageing requirement and for its prodigiously tannic, age-worthy Sangiovese, Brunello di Montalcino is a gem among Italy’s fine wine regions. With both winemaking and prestige in the ascendancy, the perfect 2010 vintage could not have come at a better time to lift this esteemed region further.

The success of the 2010 vintage has been one of the worst kept secrets in the wine trade and anticipation of the releases has been building ever since the grapes were picked. The beautiful conditions produced first rate Sangiovese, which in the hands of skilled wine makers has resulted in the finest examples in a generation, better even than the highly-rated 2004 and 2006 vintages. 2010 really is something special.

“In Montalcino 2010 is truly an excellent vintage, because the great are fantastic, the good are great and the mediocre good”

Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com

The 2010 vintage provided perfect conditions throughout the year and is clearly exceptional. Generous rainfall enabled vital refilling of the reserves during winter and the spring continued this theme, bringing vigour to the vines, whilst the weather during the summer months was warm enough for optimum ripening and moderated by very few heat spikes which kept away the threat of over ripeness. The end result brought wines of depth and complexity, with good levels of acidity bringing freshness to the sumptuous fruit and ripe, assertive tannins. There is tremendous structure behind these wines which suggests a long, illustrious life ahead.

Here are three stalwarts of the region who have truly excelled in 2010.

Pieve Santa Restituta Gaja

Located near a tiny church in the south-western part of the appellation that dates back to the 4th century, the historic Pieve Santa Restituta has some of the finest terroir in the region. Angelo Gaja saw this enormous potential and bought a controlling interest in the estate back in 1994. Today, they are established parts of the Gaja family of wines, beside his famous single vineyard offerings from Piedmont.

Siro Pacenti

The Siro Pacenti estate was founded in 1970, a time when Brunello didn’t have the acclaim it enjoys today. They were one of the pioneers in the newly established DOC, cutting no corners and dedicating the estate to quality over quantity, going against much of what was prevalent in Italian wine at the time. Over the years the estate’s holdings have expanded to 22 hectares and today they are regarded as one of the leading producers in the region. The estate, led by winemaker Giancarlo since 1988, produces elegant and aromatic, yet powerful Brunello.

Sesti

Giuseppe Sesti, a historian of astronomy, bought the splendid ruins of the Castello di Argiano property in 1975. A philosophical and fastidiously attentive man he strives for the highest quality Brunello, focusing on traditionally crafted, non-interventionist wine which showcases the fabulous terroir of south west Brunello di Montalcino.