Brunello 2011 Tasting at FINE+RARE

Brunello di Montalcino 2011

Some of the samples on show at our FINE+RARE Brunello 2011 tasting

Brunello di Montalcino 2011 is the follow-up to what some producers are calling the “best Brunello vintage of all time”.  Caught somewhere between the outstanding quality of the 2010 vintage and the soon to be hyped 2012s, the 2011s had the tough task of standing out.

Last week, the F+R team tasted through 60 samples of Brunello 2011 to find the best of the vintage. Though variable in quality, the top wines were stunning examples of charming, multi-dimensional Brunellos with a simmering sense of energy. We found the quality of the 2011s really came down to two main factors: vineyard location and producer.

Steer Towards Northern Brunello in 2011

2011 saw an intense heat spike in the summer months that sent many vines into shock. As a result, it was a vintage where producers with cooler sites had a massive advantage.  These sites can be difficult for Brunello collectors to distinguish, since there are no maps or designated zones in the area; however, as a general rule, any sites on the northern side of Montalcino tend to be higher in altitude and slightly cooler than the south side.

Antonio Galloni also makes note of this in his 2011 Brunello report, remarking “the wines from the north are, on average, more successful than the wines of the south, where the normally dry, arid conditions influenced by nearby Maremma were taken to nearly unbearable levels by the August heat spike.

Experienced Producers

While Mother Nature was more generous to Montalcino in 2010, it feels like the vintage was a turning point for Brunello; the bar is now higher than ever and the 2011s show that, despite a tough vintage, standards are staying resolutely high.

It is probably no surprise that many of our top 2011s were from producers with an established reputation for making great wines.  Experience in working with tough climatic conditions proved to be valuable in navigating the obstacles; we noted the Brunellos from the top wineries seemed to show an amazing ability to achieve balance despite the hot vintage.

 2011 Brunello

The Brunello 2011 tasting in full swing at our London office

Our Picks

The best 2011 Brunellos showed intense concentration, beautiful balance and generous, up-front fruit character, reminiscent of 09 Burgundy. The best things about these wines is that they are suitable to drink in the near future, unlike the 2010s.

Here are our picks from our tasting of 60 Brunello 2011s.

 

Giodo Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Small production made by renowned oenologist Carlo Ferrini. Incredible richness of dark fruit with plump/fleshy texture, exotic spice and perfectly etched acidity. Deeper and fuller than most from the vintage with potential to age.

96+ points F+R

 

Il Marroneto “Madonna  della  Grazie” 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Delicate nose of perfume and wild strawberry. The palate is complex with deep concentration of dark cherry, wild herbs, spice and crushed flowers. Powdery soft texture and perfect balance from start to finish.

96+ points F+R

 

Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Lovely blend of sweet and savoury spice with ripe dark fruits and kirsch. Glossy texture, open and polished. Drinking nicely already.

95 points F+R

 

Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Incredibly textural with ripe/fleshy plums, wild strawberry and kirsch. Well-structured with fine-grained tannins, tamed acidity and velvety smoothness in the mouth. Long and very pretty.

95 points F+R

 

Castello di Romitorio “Filo di Seta” 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Very pretty and delicate with ripe red berries, tangerine and super-fine tannins. Lovely inner richness of fruit and spice, balanced acidity and overall elegance. 

94+ points F+R

 

Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Expressive nose of sweet perfume, wild herbs and cherry. The palate is soft and sensual with layers of red berry fruit, fleshy plums, mint and dried herbs. Supple texture and lovely flavour profile.

94+ points F+R

 

Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

The nose opens with intense spice, espresso and black cherry. Powerful on the palate with firm tannins and intense concentration of cassis, baking spice and dark chocolate with cherry on the finish. Nice density and definitely one of the bigger wines of the vintage.

94 points F+R

 

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Delicate red fruit on the nose showing wild strawberry, sweet spices and kirsch.  The palate is tight at the moment but shows great potential. Red fruit concentration is fused with flowers and wild herbs on a medium bodied frame. Drinking nicely now but will open up with a year or two in bottle.

93 points F+R

 

Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Beautifully integrated black and red fruit, spice and silky texture on a muscular frame. Nicely balanced and very modern in style.

92 points F+R

 

 

Best Value Picks

Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

The nose opens with raspberry and black currant. Tangy fruit on the palate showing plump raspberry, sweet cherries, nectarine and blackberry. Texturally soft and silky. Delicious now.

93 points F+R

 

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2011

F+R Tasting Note (March 2016):

Lovely pure cherry fruit, raspberry and back notes of citrus. Fresh and vibrant with supple tannins. Long finish.

92 points F+R

 

For more information on purchasing any of these wines, please visit our website.