2012 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

by Laura Gray on February 27, 2017

Brunello 2012 - 0,75 lt - Front Label
It’s early days to be judging our 2012. It was only bottled at the end of 2016 and illustrates perfectly the necessity of the obligatory four months of bottle aging for Brunello. The wine shows great complexity and structure. On the nose; mint, eucalyptus and a little waft of violets; dark fruits abound, backed by forest floor and wet stone. In the mouth there is tobacco, leather and a a touch of chocolate just discernable on the long and satisfying finish. The juicy acidity and firm tannins are perfectly balanced. This is a wine of promise that will benefit enormously from time in the cellar. It has all the austerity and resolute character of traditional Brunello.

Aging in wood:  1412 days, or if you prefer 201 weeks. That would be 46 months –  a good 22 months in excess of the minimum 24 months required by DOCG regulations.
Bottle aging: The D.O.C.G. regulations governing the production of Brunello require a minimum of 4 months bottle aging before release.
Total production: 8034 0.75 Liter bottles, 259  1.5 Magnums, 60 3 liter Double Magnums
Bottled: 22nd December 2016 in ecological, lightweight bottles
Alcohol per volume%:  14.10
Total acidity%:  6.2
Dry extract:  31,2  g/l.

To fully understand 2012 it is worth remembering the challenges of 2011. In that year, after a cool early summer a well-documented 38 degree heat spike in mid-August cooked any exposed fruit on the vine. Winter 2012 was a dry winter and February’s snows made no significant impact on the acquifers. By March we had had between 40-60% less rainfall than the seasonal average and budbreak was early. Spring brought a little frost but no damage. The vines were healthy. In June however, temperatures rose significantly and a hot dry spell lasting 3 months followed. Temperatures were between 35 and 40°C (104°F) for almost all July and the first ten days of August. The fear of a repeat of the heat stress that characterized 2011 was very real. The vines were at breaking point again until help arrived with rains at the end of August.

September was crucial for the success of 2012. Although the whole month leading up to the harvest was warm, the nights were cool and this diurnal variation gave a long, slow ripening season. At Le Due Porte we had a day night swing from 30 °C to 17°C (86°F to 62°F) which preserved the abundant acidity in the grapes and kept the sugars on an even keel. A defining characteristic of 2012 is the low yields both in terms of what we harvested due to vineyard intervention , but also in the transformation of grapes to wine. Many of the grapes themselves, particularly from the Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyards, were smaller than usual because of the extreme heat of the summer and as a result yielded less actual juice. We picked at the beginning of October 2012. The grapes were picked in perfect condition, at full ripeness and with wonderful freshness.

Coming Soon

2012 has already been described in glowing terms as a “rockstar vintage” ( James Suckling ). Galloni : The 2012 Brunellos are characterized by impeccable balance, vibrant acidity and fine-grained tannins… they are blessed with precise aromas and flavors of mainly red fruits, blood orange and minerals, and will prove very ageworthy.” Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate has coined the term “Brunellomania” and brilliant Kerin O’Keefe has described the 2012 Brunello as “a return to finesse” and suggests that if you “love elegant, age-worthy Sangiovese, then stock your wine cellar with 2012 Brunello di Montalcino”. We missed the boat with submitting our 2012 for review because we chose to bottle so late and were unable to respect the various deadlines.

Wine Enthusiast - May 2018 - 93 pts.

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