17, 2022, we attended the 31st Edition of Benvenuto Brunello,
the Benvenuto Brunello Anteprima 2022: Tasting the future: Brunello 2018
and Riserva 2017. Held at The Metropolitan Pavilion in New
York City, the unveiling of these incredibly exquisite
future wines also occurred simultaneously in London, Toronto,
and Los Angeles, making it an international grand-scale event
with 68 wineries presenting their wines. Saluti!
Let the tasting begin!
Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
Benvenuto Brunello Anteprima 2022 celebrated tasting the future with
the presentation and tasting of the 2023 release of the new vintages, Brunello
2018 and Riserva 2017 wines. Gathered at round tables with fellow oenophiles,
winery representatives, and wine importers, the room was electric with
anticipation of tasting the new releases.
After an informative introduction by Christy Canterbury, Master of
Wine, we reviewed the wine list with wines from the 68 wineries and filled
out our tasting cards noting our selections of 5 wines to be tasted at a time.
Very elegant and sophisticated, white jacketed sommeliers from Il Gattopardo restaurant took our cards and came back to our table
with the bottles we had selected for our first round of tasting.
With so many wonderful wines being offered, a total of 119 wines and a
limit of a 3-hours tasting session, we decided to divide and conquer the wine
list, by dividing the wine list in half, and then selecting at least 1 wine
from each of the wineries, as some wineries presented 1-3 wines each. Even with
dividing the wine list, it was an impressive number of wines to taste and
experience. So how did we accomplish that? Alas, by the "4-S" method: Swirl,
Sniff, Sip, and Spit, although some wines were just too delicious not to enjoy
a few extra sips to fully appreciate its character and nuances.
Selecting a flight of Brunello
Judging by the age of the vintages, one might think that a 2017
Riserva or a 2018 Brunello would be ready to drink now, however not always so.
These wines will still benefit from a few more years of aging, which is why it
is called a futures tasting, as one is tasting the possibilities of how the
wine might evolve and develop more character over the years.
Ready to taste
Types of Montalcino Wines
to note about Brunello di Montalcino wines, is that in 1967, The Consortium of
the Brunello di Montalcino received its prestigious D.O.C. designation. Interesting
to note is that only four wines have the right to be produced in Montalcino
with the "Protected Designation of Origin" (DOCG and DOC); Brunello di
Montalcino DOCG, Moscadello Di Montalcino DOC, Rosso Di Montalcino DOC, and
distinguish the characteristics of each, for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG the
grape variety is 100% Sangiovese, with a maximum yield of 8 tons of grapes per
hectare, must spend a minimum of 2 years in oak casks, followed by 4 months in
a bottle, must be bottled in the production area, have a minimum alcohol
content of 12.5%, and are released January 1 of the 5th year
Another great pour
requires 2 years of aging in oak cask followed by six months in a bottle and
are released the 1st of January of the 6th year following
the harvest. Brunello di Montalcino wines can only be sold in Bordeaux type
of Great Wine - Always a Challenge
What makes the
wine so different and special from year to year goes well beyond the terroir
and the style of the vineyard that distinguishes the wines of Montalcino and
gives them such diverse characteristics. The challenge begins with the Sangiovese
grapes that do not thrive in Montalcino, they survive, which while eliciting less
fruit, the flavor is more intense, and that coupled with the varying elevations
of the Montalcino region influence the results.
Keep it coming!
is also an important part of understanding the possibilities for a particular
vintage. Was it a rainy or a dry year? When did the rain or snow arrive? How
long did it last? Was it a hot or a cold season, and at what stage of
development did these factors occur? Each of these factors reflect heavily on
how the results for the wine will be each year.
Facings of Montalcino
important to note about the Montalcino region, is that it has 4 distinct
elevations with vastly different terroirs.
The North has elevations from 300-400 meters, differentiated by cool nightly
breezes, generally cooler temperatures, and later harvests. It is predominantly
calcareous clay and limestone mixed with rock fragments, generally steep, and
leveling out to the east.
Southern elevations range from 400-500 meters, has great diurnal shifts,
galestro soils with clay, salt, and limestone, with some areas having more clay
Southeast elevations range from 200 - 450 meters, is closest to Mount Amiata (a
lava dome) and is moderated by the Orcia River.
Southwest has elevations that range from 100-350
meters, has a warmer and drier microclimate, more undulating hills and greater
percentages of clay and silt. Due to the diverse microclimates and soils, each
of the four facings produce slightly different flavor profiles for their wines.
- What the Stars Mean
2018 is considered a Four-Star Vintage; winter characterized by average
rainfall and some snow, which made up for the considerable lack of water.
Temperatures were above the seasonal average, which lasted until the end of
February, when there was a sharp drop in temperatures with snowfall that
affected the whole area, and minimum temperatures reaching almost -10 degrees
Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).
sporadic rainfall and minimum temperatures around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees
Fahrenheit). May had frequent and abundant rainfall accompanied by high
temperatures that allowed optimal vegetative development, due to the
significant humidity accumulated in the soil.
weak and intermittent rainfall in the first three weeks and average
temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The first week of
September had rainy days with maximum temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius.
Harvesting waited until mid-September to October to allow foe good ripeness.
2017 is considered a Four-Star Vintage; mild, rainy winter, warm, dry
March which brought early flowering. A cold April brought some frost damage,
followed by a drought from May through August. There were also extreme high
temperatures in July and August which caused hydric stress. Cooling
temperatures and mild rains in September provided relief. Warm and sunny
weather extended the growing season through late October. Reduced quantities but
good quality, notable aromatics and grippy tannins.
Wineries for Benvenuto Brunello Anteprima 2022: Tasting the future - Brunello
2018 and Riserva 2017
Ricci Tenimenti Ricci
Corte Pavone - Loacker Wine Estates
Poggio il Castellare
Val di Suga
presented offered heady aromatics, lovely layers of flavors, yet with enough
tannins on the palate to remind us of their "youth." Wine, as in life, always
benefits with a few years of "aging" to elicit perfection.
more about Brunello Di Montalcino wines, please visit the Consorzio
Del Vino Brunello Di Montalcino website: https://www.consorziobrunellodimontalcino.it/en/home/home
Del Vino Brunello Di Montalcino
Boldrini n. 1053024 Montalcino (SI)
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