2013 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

by Laura Gray on November 18, 2017

2013 corks

The color is a beautiful deep ruby with garnet hues. The 2013 has a complex nose; an initial basket of red berries and fruit and, with time in the glass, a slow-motion aroma explosion, passing from a Christmassy bouquet, to notes of eucalyptus and caramel, licorice and leather. The acidity is juicy and fresh, the wine well-balanced and harmonious. An impressive mouth-feel with a reassuring firm tannic structure and a very promising finish. Licorice, violets, mint and a distinctive flinty minerality. Tasted with talented Esther from Vino Vistas in November 2017, after just two of the obligatory four months of bottle ageing. See here and here for what we ate at Drogheria Franci and some of the faces that were made.

Our conclusion; a Sleeping Beauty for the time being, but rest assured, she will wake up! 

Aging in wood: 38 months in large Slavonian oak barrels.
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: 10.044 0.75 Liter bottles, 200 1.5 Magnums, 50 3 liter Double Magnums
Bottled: 7th September 2017 in ecological, lightweight bottles
Alcohol per volume%:  13.48
Total acidity%:  6.2
Dry extract:  30,4  g/l.
2013 vintage in 2013 was already being described as an old-style vintage del sapore antico (cit. Cotarella) in terms of weather. This seems even more poignant four years later. Writing this in 2017, a vintage characterized by a lengthy drought, recalling the rains of 2013 has been an indulgent pleasure. After hot and torrid 2011 and 2012, the cool, wet and extended spring of 2013 was considered a return to the past (see here for rainfall comparison with 2012). Late budbreak was on 15th April and May was sodden (see here).   Things began to right themselves with progressive heat in June and in the first half of July. This culminated in some searingly hot days of caldo africano in the second half of July and early August, interrupted by the odd refreshing storm. Grapes were fatter than in 2012  and yields were higher. As usual we cut back some fruit in September for maximum quality. It was one of those redeeming Septembers that can be so crucial for Sangiovese and puts a fixed smile on vintner’s faces. Extreme day/night thermal excursion with warm ventilated days and cool nights was wonderful for increasing aromatics, keeping acidity high and alcohol within the realms of the reasonable. We had weeks of day and night-time temperatures separated by as much as 20°C (see here for the specifics ). The general feeling was of relief at the return to what was considered normal in the 1970s and 1980s. As always, harvest was a question of precision timing and here at Il Palazzone we successfully tight-roped our way through the heavy rains of 29th September but managed to complete the pick before the ruinous storms of 4th October.
Mille grazie to Montalcino chef, Raffaella Cova, who has kindly shared her recipe for beef Spezzatino, a simple and tasty Italian dish with a Hungarian twist, perfect for cold winter days and an ideal pairing for our 2013 Brunello. The acidity of the tomatoes and the oil of the sauce, along with the paprika spice, are a wonderful complimentary match for a full-bodied red wine like Il Palazzone Brunello 2013, with its aromatic persistence and firm tannic structure. Gulasch or spezzatino is a typical dish in many parts of North-Eastern Italy, particularly those provinces closest to Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. Raffaella organizes gourmet picnics, catering and cookery classes as well as being a personal chef. We can highly recommend her services, along with her mouth-watering Instagram account @lunchwithraffaella. She and her family have recently become our neighbours and we are thrilled to commemorate our friendship and new proximity with this recipe. A perfect match for our Brunello 2013 Raffaella Cova’s Beef Onion and Paprika Spezzatino   Ingredients for two people
  • 300 gr. braising beef (chuck-steak or any cut suitable for slow-cooking )
  • 200 gr. finely sliced golden onion
  • 100 ml. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 spoonfuls of sweet paprika, ideally Hungarian
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 gr. of peeled chopped tomatoes (canned San Marzano)
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 3 or 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 250 ml. water or beef stock
  • Cut the beef into 3cm cubes.
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.
  • Sear the meat for a few minutes on all sides.
  • Add the sliced onion and fry quickly.
  • Add the wine, paprika, salt, tomatoes and stock.
  • Stir well and leave to cook for 90 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add the potatoes (peeled and cut into 3cm pieces).
  • Cook for another 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. If the stew dries up add water.
  • Taste in case extra salt is needed.
25396276_10156026697479936_6820309943801421963_n(1) Raffaella lives and creates amazing food in the large house easily seen from the cellar. Her home and operations are in the original Il Palazzone which gave its name to the property. This recipe is perfect for December days like these!    
The Wine Pundit - 29 January 2018 VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Benvenuto Brunello NYC. The 2013 vintage in Montalcino zone is one in which a few winegrowers will have achieved greatness, producing wines of considerable elegance, structure and purity; Il Palazzone has produced such a wine. From the sample size I’ve had so far, it seems there will be a normal distribution of quality within Montalcino zone – a few producing mediocre wines, the majority producing good>very good wines, and a few that have produced wines of great beauty. Again, the Il Palazzone, so fresh and pure, is in that final category. On the one hand it’s going to be tempting to want to open one now, but on the other, it’s clear this is going to get better with some patience. Long macerations, grandi botti, meticulous and sustainable farming, this is the total package. Il Palazzone is on a roll; buy it early, and in this vintage, buy a few more than you normally would, it’s special. Circa 11K bottles is all, and they’ll go fast. Drink 2021-2041.
Jancis Robinson - February 2018 – 16.5 (WS)
Mid ruby with bright bricky tinges. Cherry with a hint of pine on the nose. Layered cherry palate with grainy tannins. Long and with plenty of energy. (WS) 13.5% Drink 2018-2024
Wine Enthusiast - May 2018 – 92 pts
Red fruit, violet, new leather, mint and underbrush aromas lead the nose. The bright polished palate offers Marasca cherry, cranberry, tobacco and star anise framed in lithe tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2021–2028.
Decanter, 16th February 2018 - 91 points
This graceful and complex Brunello is a blend of plots from two areas. One is cool site near Montalcino reaching a lofty 530 metres above sea level while the other is at lower altitudes in the warm reaches of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Dusty earth, forest berries and cinnamon are underpinned by iron nuances. The palate is savoury and vibrant, and while the tannins have a mellowed quality, they hold the wine together neatly. Drinking window 2018-2028
The Wine Advocate, 28th February 2018 - 92 points (ML)
I hadn’t tasted new releases from Il Palazzone since the 2010 vintage, so this is indeed a happy return. The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino sees fruit blended from three distinct subzones of the appellation, and it is fermented in oak. Starting at the beginning of 2017, Il Palazzone started working with consulting enologist Maurizio Castelli, and we should start seeing his imprint on the wines in a few years’ time. This Brunello represents the second vintage made in the estate’s spanking new winery. It opens to a dark ruby color and lightweight appearance. The bouquet is bright and complete with red fruit tones, cassis and dried cherry, with light spice, tar and grilled herb peeking in furtively at the back. Il Palazzone did not make a Riserva in 2013. The estate made one in 2010 and the next Riserva was produced in 2015. That means that the best fruit in the 2013 vintage has been directed to this wine, and it shows. No Brunello will be produced in 2014. Drink 2020-2030
Wine Spectator, 15th June 2018 - 93 points (BS)
Harmony and texture are the calling cards here, setting up the cherry, berry, leather and almond flavors. The tannins are well-integrated and this finishes with tobacco, tea and iron notes. More elegant than muscular. Best from 2021 through 2033. 837 cases made.

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