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.


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!



Hold your horses… we don’t release the wine until January 7th 2018


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