Posts tagged ‘uccelliera’

Brunello Vintages

Brunello bottles at an enoteca in Montalcino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)


The new vintage of Brunello di Montalcino is 2006; the wines will be released over the coming months. I tasted several dozen bottlings last month in Montalcino and reported on these wines in a recent post. Here are a few thoughts on recent vintages of Brunello di Montalcino:


2001Outstanding. The wines from 2001 display excellent depth of fruit along with ideal acidity as well as nicely developed aromatics. These are classically made wines with plenty of persistence in the finish and have the stuffing to age for 25-30 years for the finest bottlings, while a few may last even longer. (Note: the Consorzio rated 2001 an excellent vintage, which is a 4-star rating according to their system.)

2002 - Poor to average. This was a difficult year in this area (as it was in many wine regions thoughout Italy) as there were problems with rain throughout the fall. Yields were quite low, but few grapes reached ideal ripeness. It’s doubtful you’ll find many bottlings anywhere these days – indeed many producers didn’t even release a 2002 Brunello – so it won’t be a problem, but it you do find one, drink it soon. (Consorzio rating – 2 stars).

2003Good to very good. The temperatures were quite hot during the growing season, resulting in overripe, tannic wines (the complete opposite of 2002). The wines are big, but too unwieldy and most lack elegance. Drink over the next 3-7 years, but keep in mind that the wines many not become better with time, due to the bitterness. (Consorzio rating – 4 stars or excellent)


Montalcino View (Photo ©Tom Hyland)


2004Outstanding. Big things were predicted for this vintage and overall, many producers delivered. The Brunellos from 2004 are among the most aromatic of the past decade and are also beautifully balanced with very good acidity. The structure is there to assure 20 years of aging at least in the finest wines. The bottlings from 2004 are not quite as powerful from 2001, but they will still age beautifully and offer gorgeous complexity as well as elegance. (Consorzio rating – 4 stars)


2005 - Very Good to Excellent. This is a vintage where the buyer has to take note of the producer, as some wines are lovely with impressive concentration, though others are only medium-weight. The wines, it should be noted, are well balanced across the board, offering beautifully defined acidity. This is not a powerful vintage, but there are dozens of very lovely wines. (Consorzio rating – 4 stars)


2006Excellent. As I noted recently, the 2006 Brunellos are excellent wines, taken as a whole. This is somewhat of an old-fashioned vintage, with big concentration and excellent aging potential. I tasted several outstanding wines (Il Poggione, Sesta di Sopra, Uccelliera, et al) with many more excellent. If the wines displayed the complex aromas of the 2004s, I would have rated this vintage even higher. (Consorzio rating – outstanding – 5 stars).



Please note that these are ratings for the regular bottlings of Brunello di Montalcino from these vintages. I don’t taste enough riserva bottlings to offer a detailed analysis of those wines, but generally the quality of the normale bottlings as well as the riserva bottlings from the same vintage (the riserva bottlings are released at least one year later) tend to go hand in hand.

That said, I was quite impressed by the riserva bottlings of Brunello di Montalcino from 2004, especially the textbook Eredi Fuligni, with its remarkable suppleness and varietal purity along with the more deeply concentrated and slightly more tannic Il Poggione. Despite this powerful nature of the Il Poggione riserva (labeled with the vineyard name “Vigna Paganelli”) the wine has impeccable balance and is elegant and charming with a vibrant backbone of fruit.

March 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm 3 comments

Best Brunello Producers


Plaque hanging outside the offices of the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino

Plaque hanging outside the offices of the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino


A few weeks ago, I wote a post on Brunello di Montalcino (read here) in which I discussed ths wine’s characteristics and makeup along with listing some of the finest producers. I thought readers would be interested in learning what some of the top authorities in Italy as well as this country think about Brunello, so I asked several experts in this field to provide me with a list of whom they believe are the finest producers of Brunello.

I asked for a list of ten, letting them know they could add brief comments if they wished. One contributor gave me twelve names, saying he couldn’t get his list down to just ten, while another gave me his list of his top ten followed closely by another ten. No problem- the more the merrier – and it shows you how many excellent producers of Brunello di Montalcino there are.

So without further ado, here are the lists:


Jeremy Parzen – Author of dobianchi wine blog and co-author of vinowire blog. Italian wine writer, educator and marketer, currently living in Texas.

“Based on what I feel are indicative, traditional expressions of Brunello, available in this country… 

  • Le Presi
  • Il Poggione
  • Poggio di Sotto
  • Salvioni
  • Canalicchio di Sopra
  • Paradiso di Manfredi
  • Campogiovanni
  • Collemattoni
  • Caparzo
  • Fornace


Alfonso Cevola – author of On the Wine Trail in Italy blog and The Blend blog. Italian wine writer and marketer, currently living in Texas.

  • Altesino- cellar worthy
  • Angelo Sassetti – ultimate contadina
  • Argiano- stylish and elegant
  • Costanti – another classic their 2004 reminded me of their 1964
  • Fattoi- great pruners and dog trainers
  • Il Poggione – Love these guys
  • Lisini – classic archetype
  • Poggio alle Mura (Banfi) – their ’71 was so great
  • Poggio San Polo –  new young winemaker and energy


Tom Maresca – America’s leading writer on Italian wines, having contributed hundreds of articles on the topic for more than 25 years. Lives in New York City.

  • Banfi: great quality-to-price ratio
  • Barbi: very traditional house
  • Biondi Santi: self explanatory
  • Casanova di Neri: elegant
  • Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona: big, structured
  • Donatella Cinelli Colombini: very true to Montalcino character
  • Col d’Orcia: great finesse
  • Fuligni: a pace-setter in recent vintages
  • Lisini: the essence of Montalcino
  • Nardi: great strides in recent years
  • Poggio Antico: more and more, intensely Sangiovese
  • Il Poggione: superb vineyards


Charles Scicolone – Author of the blog Charles Scicolone on Wine. One of America’s leading authorities on Italian wines. Wine writer and restaurant consultant. He lives in New York City.

  • Fattoria dei Barbi- Some where between traditional and modren but I think more traditional
  • Biondi-Santi -Traditional and one of the best
  • Caparzo – Some wines in Traditional style, others modern
  • Casanova di Neri – use of botti, small french oak barrels and tonneau
  • Col d’Orcia
  • Il Poggione
  • Constanti- I think he is still traditional
  • Poggio Antico- They changed their style went modern with the 2001 vintage -loved the wine before this
  • Mastrojanni – in between
  • Pian delle Vigne- Antinori

” I really liked the 2004 Brunello from Banfi- I think it is the best Brunello they ever made. 

“It is difficult to tell the modern from the traditionalist except for Franco Biondi- Santi.

“In most cases the “traditionalists” are using more modern methods and the modern producers less small oak. Some make one Brunello in a traditional style and other in a modern style.

“I find Brunello to be very confusing. That is why I like my Brunello to be 1990 or older.”


Franco Ziliani – Author of vinoalvino blog and co-author of vinowire blog (with Jeremy Parzen). One of Italy’s most important wine writers and arguably the most influential in the country. Lives near Bergamo in the province of Lombardia.

  • Case Basse
  • Il Greppo Biondi Santi
  • Il Colle
  • Poggio di Sotto
  • Giulio Salvioni Cerbaiola
  • Lisini
  • Col d’Orcia
  • Fuligni
  • Gianni Brunelli
  • Capanna

Plus others like:

  • Il Poggione
  • Caprili
  • Gorelli Le Potazzine
  • Le Macioche
  • Sesta di Sopra
  • Il Marroneto
  • Uccelliera
  • Pian dell’Orino
  • Salicutti
  • Mastrojanni


And finally, my choices (in alphabetical order):

  • Biondi-Santi
  • Caprili
  • Col d’Orcia
  • Fuligni
  • Il Poggione
  • Le Chiuse
  • Pian dell’Orino
  • Poggio Antico
  • Poggio di Sotto
  • Sesta di Sopra
  • Talenti
  • Uccelliera


Do you have favorite Brunello producers? I’d love to read your choices- send them along.

July 22, 2009 at 8:44 am 3 comments

tom hyland

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