2015 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

by Laura Gray on August 19, 2019

This wine needs time! If you are lacking in patience, decanting is recommended. As always, these tasting notes are the fruit of our long-standing collaboration with wonderful Esther from Vino Vistas.

The color is typical Sangiovese ruby with garnet tones. The nose is clean with shy offerings of balsamic notes and raw steak at first. After an hour the aromatics evolve into a rich multi-layered bouquet. The balsamic notes, including licorice and eucalyptus, are subtly underpinned by sottobosco, herbacious elements of thyme and a whiff of ginestro. If you leave the glass for longer still, a slight hint of dark chocolate and even some caramel can be detected.

On the palate firm, yet exquisitely balanced tannins, expand nicely without being overwhelming. The acidity gives this wine a juicy freshness and leaves you wanting more, as so often is the case with a great Brunello. Our 2015 is a young Brunello showing promise of power and stately elegance. Each sip and ensuing long finish confirms the potential of this great five star vintage that deserves many years of further bottle ageing.


Aging in wood: 36 months in large Slavonian oak barrels in our ageing room (June 2016 to June 2019) though the wine was in wood from fermentation onwards (October 2015) since we vinify in oak.
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: 10.866 0.75 Liter bottles, 250 1.5 Magnums, 50 3 liter Double Magnums
Bottled: 26th July 2019 in ecological, lightweight bottles
Alcohol per volume%: 13,68
Total acidity%: 6.6
Dry extract:   30.4 g/l.

I often exaggerate but in Montalcino 2015 really was one of the vintages of a lifetime, a year of unparalleled excellence, in short “una vendemmia da sogno”. The Consorzio del Brunello describe it as a vintage of “altissimo e raro livello qualitativa” extremely high and unprecedented quality. Nobody was surprised to see it awarded five stars in February 2016.

The vintage was distinguished by a cold, wet winter and a cool, rainy spring that established water reserves in the vineyards. We pruned in February  and had budbreak on 7th April 2015 at Le Due Porte. There was double the foliage present in 2014 due to the warm autumn and wet 2014. The vines kept their green leaves for much longer than usual, allowing them to store good reserves of “sostanze.”

An extremely hot and dry July (even hotter than the scorching 2003) meant that the grapes changed color ten days earlier than usual and fruit was smaller than normal (good for the skin:flesh ratio). The heat was mitigated by showers at the end of the month and in early August (48 mm), and a marked thermal excursion permitted a long slow ripening, incredibly positive for the development of aromatics and tannins. A final blast of heat in August was great for the skins, again beneficial for aromatics and dry extract. After a rainy start, we the grapes enjoyed a wonderful September with ideal conditions for healthy development and perfect un-rushed ripening. Constant bunch-drying wind from the east and day/night temperature differences (15°C/34°C) continued to sustain aromatic development.

At our lower altitude vineyards we had earlier ripening and higher sugar levels. We picked the Castelnuovo vineyards on 17th and 18th September. The Due Porte vineyards were slower to mature and maintained wonderful acidity. We picked here a full ten days later on 27th and 28th September.

One of the defining characteristics of 2015 Brunello is a beautiful acidity that is often lacking in hotter years. 2015 followed sodden 2014, featured a hot growing season punctuated with “useful” rain after an early veraison, no extended periods of drought all summer and marked day/night thermal excursion from August onwards. Complexity of aroma, elegance and fine tannins are part and parcel of this lovely year.

Watch this space!

Jancis Robinson, February 2020 – 16.5 (WS)
Tasted blind. Mid ruby. Concentrated, crushed, sweet berry-fruit nose. Succulent and juicy ripe fruit. Pure sour-cherry and raspberry fruit and with a dramatic, perfumed finish. (WS) 13.5% Drink 2020-2028
The Wine Advocate, February 2020 – 92 points (ML)
Il Palazzone’s 2015 Brunelllo di Montalcino shows a steady bouquet that is equally represented by dried fruit aromas, medicinal herb and crushed stone or dark mineral. The wine imparts a lean to medium-weight texture, and there is a point of bitterness that recalls sour cherry or crispy plum. That sourness is for now reinforced by the wine’s young tannins, and that general rawness should subside as it continues its evolution in the bottle. Some 10.866 bottles were filled (not counting 250 Magnums) and the wine was released in January 2020. Drink 2021-2033.
JamesSuckling.com – 95 points
Enticing combination of reserved freshness and bewitching ripeness here. Dried rose petals, stems, black tea, orange peel, steak tartare and tobacco simmer at the surface. The full-bodied palate has a complete but never overbearing feel, in that the tannins are fine-grained and precise, tracing an elegant positioning of subtle berries and cherries. Suave and polished.

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