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Posted: Tuesday, 05 November 2019 22:15

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Brunello 2015 Shining Star of James Suckling’s Top 100

Nov 05: Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne 2015 was declared the Best Wine of the World 2019 by James Suckling at an event on Friday Nov. 1 in Beijing where out of 25,000 wines tasted by him and his team with 11 Brunello di Montalcino finding place in Top 100, that included 3 in Top Ten, writes Subhash Arora who notices that all 11 have been 100 pointers and in Top Fifty

‘The Siro Pacenti has a wow factor, energy and excitement, and it deserves its place at the top of our list. Owner Giancarlo Pacenti was at our Great Wines of the World event in Beijing to accept his award., ‘ says James Suckling, adding that out 0f 200 Brunello di Montalcino tasted, 11 scored 100 while dozens scored over 95. The wines selected cost from $ 50-120. The 2015 vintage will be released only after January 2020, according to appellation rules.

‘Honestly, it’s a wine that’s just too fantastic not to drink now. We tasted it at least five times over the summer and we liked it more and more. Like all the best 2015 Brunellos, the Pacenti Brunello 2015 shows super intensity of cool and dark fruits as well as stones and flowers. It opens to a full and plush body of expansive yet utterly refined tannins that coat your palate in a caressing way. It shows glorious transparency and communication. It’s one of the best young Brunellos I have tasted in my four-decade career since 1983,’ writes Suckling.

This is akin to an earlier wonderful vintage of 2008 when Count Francesco Cinzano, owner of Col d’Orcia claimed it was the best vintage of his career and was not sure if he could ever repeat the feat. This was overtaken within 2 years by the 2010 vintage. One does not find his wine in Top 100 of Suckling though, even as James wonders if 2015 was not the vintage of the century.

An outstanding Year

‘We are going to remember 2019 for a long time. It was the year that we discovered over 50 perfect wines (100 points) among the 25,000 rated. In fact, we can’t remember a year that was truly phenomenal for great wines. Just about every major wine region released great wines into the market, the majority being from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. These duo vintages will long be remembered much like 1989 and 1990 for Bordeaux, though 2017 and 2018 should also not be forgotten because of their exceptional wines, particularly whites’, he says.

Other countries

Many regions showed excellent quality this year- most notably Argentina, Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Tuscany, Piedmont, Rioja, Port, Champagne and Chile, . There are 41 wines scoring the perfect 100-points, followed by 35 with 99 points. The balance had 98 points-signifying that the Top 100 have scored 98-100 points. All the wines considered had produced at least 300 cases made.

Bordeaux had 15 wines entries but in the middle to lower order generally. The high number of chateaux in the list reflects the outstanding quality of the 2016 vintage which followed the superb 2015 vintage. Last year Château Canon 2015 won the award of the Best Wine 2018.

This year, 8 wines got 100 points for the 2016 vintage. The wines have a classic nature that is reminiscent of the great wines of the 1980s, but with much more precision and clarity due to advances in viticulture and winemaking since then. They also seem much less manipulated than some Bordeaux from the first decade of this century, when some producers were making more market-driven wines.

The top 10 wines in our list show the diversity of greatness in the wine world today, with entries from Italy, Spain, Germany, France, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. The top 20 cover much of the same as well as the United States and Australia.

It is a Golden Age for winemaking, says Suckling who hopes it continues despite the current adversities in the world, in particular climate change. However, 2019 was indeed a great year for great wines, asserts James Suckling.

Subhash Arora

Top 100 Wineries


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