“A Wine That Makes You Smile”: A Gem Discovered on our Trip to Montalcino

poderesalicuttiBefore the prose: this is one of the best wines I have tasted this year. A wine with energy, a wine with bounce, a wine that makes you smile. We tasted it against a Brunello and a Brunello Riserva and it trounced them both. As luck would have it we found a bottle – not on the list – at a restaurant later that evening. It was even better. And it’s GBP 200 per case in bond. This is a buy.

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Our recent buying trip to Montalcino threw up a number of gems on top of the diamond in the snow that is Montalcino itself. This is undoubtedly one of the World’s great wine producing regions, one which can take a bit of understanding and there is a great deal of pleasure to be found in the learning process.

Francesco Leanza’s Salicutti is one of the most beautiful estates you could wish to see. A chemical engineer by trade, Francesco fell in love with Salicutti and managed to buy it in 1990. He planted the vines in 1994 and by 1997 he was a winemaker. In his words: “partly by chance and partly, I confess, giving in to the fascination of this unusual, prized patch of Siennese land”.

As luck would have it, Francesco is rather good at what he does. Tim Atkin, a specialist of Brunello, rates the estate as the equivalent of a second growth. Antonio Galloni writes: “I can’t think of another producer in Montalcino over the past few years who is as hot as Francesco Leanza”.

This is a brilliant wine and a wine we were desperate to offer. Fortunately Francesco is happy to play ball and we can offer, lying at the estate:

2011 Rosso di Montalcino Sorgente, Salicutti
GBP 200 per case (12x75cl) IB

“2011 was a particular success for Salicutti, and this is a lovely bright garnet colour. A beautiful, sweet nose with a touch of spice: there is energy in this wine. And soft and sweet in the mouth, with lovely plump fruit and a touch of spice again in the finish. Lovely, chunky mouthfeel. A wine that makes you smile. Lovely.”
Joss Fowler, FINE+RARE

“The 2011 Rosso di Montalcino Sorgente is a rich, serious wine. Powerful, ripe and layered, the 2011 flows across the palate with superb depth and pure texture. Plum, red stone fruit, spice and new leather notes all add complexity, but the 2011 is above else a wine of sheer power. Readers who want to get a sense of what is in store with the 2011 Brunellos here will want to check out this fabulous Rosso, a wine that outclasses most Brunellos. Even with all of its fruit, the 2011 possesses massive structure and tons of tannic heft. This is just about as serious as Rosso gets. Salicutti releases his Rosso a year later than most estates, so 2011 is the current vintage.
92 points, Antonio Galloni

Joss Fowler
Director of Fine Wine