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Benvenuto Brunello: 2015 Vintage of Brunello di Montalcino assigned 5-Stars

Posted: Monday, 22 February 2016 11:59


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Benvenuto Brunello: 2015 Vintage of Brunello di Montalcino assigned 5-Stars

Feb 22: Celebrating 5 decades of DOC status (1966-2016), Montalcino producers are smiling because after receiving a Thumbs Up for Brunello 2011 and Brunello 2010 Riserva showcased at Benvenuto Brunello event on February 19-20, the 2015 harvest was assigned 5-stars at the traditional ceremony held last Saturday, writes Subhash Arora who is a regular visitor and is quite impressed with the commemorative tile crafted by not the traditional one, but 5 artists to mark the occasion

Click For Large ViewRecording an exceptionally high level of excellence of the grapes harvested, the 2015 vintage was awarded 5-stars at the simple ceremony held last Saturday morning, traditionally the second and final day of Benvenuto Brunello event held every year in Montalcino. The last time a vintage was assigned 5-stars was in 2012 and 2010 before that during this decade. Both 2011 and 2013 were awarded 4-stars by the experts’ panel. The disastrous 2014 had managed only 3 stars, even though a few journalists had felt it was being slightly generous.
The producers had been waiting for such a flawless vintage for many years. As a beaming President Fabrizio declared in Italian, ‘Our Consortium members are extremely satisfied with this grape harvest. This is the vintage par excellence that they have been waiting for a long time.’

Prof. Simone Orlandini, from the Department of Sciences for Agriculture and Food Productions and Environment of the University of Florence, conducted an analysis on the weather and climate indicators for 2015. He says, ‘it showed a thermal trend higher than average and with less rain, with few heat waves. During the harvest period, on the other hand, temperatures were slightly below average, with no rainfall.’

Keeping up with the tradition, the Consortium (Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino) also appointed 3 oenologists who independently evaluated the 2015 vintage. Carlo Ferrini, Paolo Caciorgna and Vittorio Fiore also gave a unanimous decision of 5-stars. ‘The 2015 vintage is undoubtedly one to be remembered, thanks to the favourable climatic conditions that characterised it and to the producers’ ability to read and anticipate the seasonal changes that actually took place.’

‘The grapes were very healthy. The musts were rich in colour and had excellent balance. The final result clearly exceeds all expectations,' according to Ferrini while Paolo feels that 'The samplings coming from all the Montalcino territories we have tasted in order to judge the vintage, expressed great potential,’ with wines featuring good structure and excellent aromatic and poly-phenolic balance, perfect for long ageing periods, was the general consensus of the 3 winemakers.

‘I have seen over 50 vintages during my career, of which at least 40 were at Montalcino. I do not remember any other vintage with such great balance and so productive for long-ageing wines like Brunello’, said Fiore.

Stars not the be-all and end all

Assignment stars reflects the current status of the grapes after the fermentation and malo-lactic and does not necessarily mean that the final product would sustain its star status. A 4-star vintage might also shine like the 2011 vintage with 4 stars.  It is a response reflecting the current status of the grape and anticipated future quality and could be compared with an En Primeur Tasting in Bordeaux. What the experts are doing is anticipating the character and personality change after maturing for a minimum of 4 years in wood and bottles, according to the denomination laws. The 2015 vintage may be released only on or after January 1, 2020 when it would be showcased at the annual Benvenuto Brunello event in the third week of February, around the 20th.  This year, 2011 vintage was showcased on February 19-20. The Riserva has to undergo an extra maturing of one year and therefore 2010 Riserva could have been showcased this year only.

The stars are embossed on a ceramic tile crafted by a different artist commissioned every year. Each of these tiles are cemented on a wall in the Centro (downtown) starting from the 1991 vintage. For the individual  tile and the work of art click here

 Special Tile (Plastrella) for 2015

To mark the 5 decades of attaining the 5-star status in 1966, five artists of international renown were invited to craft the ceramic tile (called Plastrella) to make the celebratory tile for the 2015 vintage.  Sandro Chia is one of the leading members of the Trans avant-garde art movement, wine producer in Montalcino and symbol of an experience that includes all-around, visual arts and the wine-making art. Pino Deodato has the ability to interpret the values of a geography that becomes an expression of art, as wine production is in its own way.  Bertozzi & Casoni are masters in reproducing on their ceramic pieces bright flowers, fruit, food and symbolic animals. Gian Marco Montesano is known for his investigation into memory and history, like cultivating something that comes from far away and never germinates by chance.  Mimmo Paladino can tell an ancient story rooted in a territory but in a modern way. 

The result of the artistic project was collected in a catalogue by Enrico Mattei and Paolo Antognoli, which contains documentation on the event as well as historical bits on the Consortium and on the artists. Write to the Consorzio for the catalogue or for any other information at:

Gallery-Tiles on the Wall (1991 2015)
Video- Tiles on the Wall

Subhash Arora

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Tags: DOC , Montalcino, Brunello 2011, Brunello 2010 Riserva, Benvenuto Brunello, Prof. Simone Orlandini,, University of Florence, Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Ferrini, Paolo Caciorgna, Vittorio Fiore, Plastrella, Sandro Chia, Pino Deodato, Gian Marco Montesano, Mimmo Paladino, Enrico Mattei, Paolo Antognoli


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