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Posted: Friday, 28 February 2020 17:18

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Tuscan Tasting: Brunello 2019 gets 5-Stars at Benvenuto Brunello 2020

Feb 28: Benvenuto Brunello 2020 (Welcome Brunello!), the final leg of the Annual Tuscan Tasting Marathon which concluded on Sunday 23 February, was attended by journalists and professionals in large numbers as earlier years, despite fears of Coronavirus, reports our guest writer from Tuscany, Antonio Sferlazzo who was in Montalcino to represent delWine and taste the 2015 vintage released earlier on 1 January, 2020 and where the 2019 vintage was officially awarded 5-stars

I was impressed by the general softness of the tannins, the freshness, the pleasant sapidity, the elegance, the cleanliness, the wide range of aromas and scents, and finally the balanced structure of most of the wines I tasted; as proof that even the angular and tannic Sangiovese (called Sangiovese Grosso here), the only grape which may be used 100% by appellation laws for Brunello di Montalcino. If processed with care, it can produce long-lived wines excellent to drink but also wines expressing the territory as is this 2015 vintage; a vintage that proves ready from now, but certainly able to evolve and enjoy aging for several years.

Most of the wines I tasted were almost perfect! Even and above all, the organic or biodynamic ones, which, having now learned how to eliminate the typical defects of natural wines, such as the volatile acidity not only produce healthier wines, but also the most intriguing and fascinating ones.

Some exceptional wines tasted

To mention just a few: Podere Le Ripi by Francesco Illy of Illy coffee, biodynamic company, a new entry in Montalcino, who, opened his fabulous helical cellar 4 years ago; Gianni Brunelli by Laura Brunelli; or, just outside Montalcino, Loacker/Corte Pavone, historical bio-dynamic company that experiments in the cellar the "vibrational" waves of classical music for the aging of wines; Albatreti di Gaetano Salvioni, historical producer "ilcinese" DOC (which in Italian would sound IL CINESE = THE CHINESE...instead is the proper adjective that calls the inhabitants of Montalcino), who shows off a beautiful white beard worthy of some Indian guru; instead, on the southwest side, warmer and exposed to the winds of the sea that bring salinity.

Roberto Cipresso is an interesting experimenter who, with his project 43 ° parallel North, tries to assemble vines of various nations that grow on the same parallel as Montalcino, producing a micro quantity of an excellent Brunello; and of course his neighbor Lisini, one of Brunello's historical companies; and further down, going down towards Sant'Angelo in Colle and towards the confluence of Rivers Orcia and Ombrone, Lionel Cousin's Cupano, a true French "vigneron", who landed many years ago in Montalcino, in our opinion a "master"; or the nearby Col d'Orcia, the historic cellar of Francesco Marone-Cinzano and Sesti of the Castello di Argiano or Collemattoni.

Finally, a surprise! By chance the last winery tasted at the end of the day, which woke up our poor numbed tongue, and let me experience a real emotion: Fabio Tassi's Franci Franca farm; he owns various Montalcino wine bars and wine shops, but also produces an excellent Brunello.

In conversation with the press, President of the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium Fabrizio Bindocci focused on the vintage being tasted this year in the Cloister of the Church of Sant'Agostino: "A great year the 2015! The result of a particularly favorable season, with an excellent relationship between tannic structure and acidity, a long aromatic persistence both on the nose and on the palate; and above all, a vintage that in less than two months from entering the market, is already half sold: 5 million out of 10 million bottles! These data make producers forget the problems of the 2014 vintage  presented last year. It was considerably lower both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view, even assessed as not complying with the standards required to produce the Riserva which in fact was not present in this tasting.

As every year, the evaluation of the latest vintage 2019 was awarded 5-stars-the highest score. Unfortunately, we will have to wait till Benvenuto Brunello (BB) 2024 for this young Sangiovese to hopefully evolve into a great Brunello; in the meantime, we look forward to BB’21 to taste Rosso di Montalcino 2019, produced as well with Sangiovese grapes but generally harvested in the youngest vineyards and known as "Baby Brunello".

Five Olympic circles now adorn the latest ceramic tile, presented by President Bindocci, and the President of the CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) Giovanni Malagò, dedicated to the 2019 vintage and the  Tokyo Olympics where athletes will be able to toast their successes with a glass of good Brunello!! The tile has been walled up, as every year since 1992, on the wall of the medieval building where the Municipality of Montalcino is located, together with the previous ones, each year designed by a famous artist, VIP or celebrity.

Antonio Sferlazzo

Antonio Sferlazzo, a long time Italian  friend of Indian Wine Academy and delWine, is a free-lance wine journalist who lives in the Chianti district, in Tuscany, and editor in chief of the TV web channel The Wine Republic of Italy , https://www.facebook.com/thewinerepublicofitaly/ ; he also runs a company- The Divine Wine Tours, which offers exciting tailor made wine tours throughout Italy, for wine lovers and wine professionals, to experience the best Italian wines, http://www.tuscany-italy-wine-tour.com/

For a few of the earlier Articles visit:

Tuscan Tasting 2019: Climax at Benvenuto Brunello that was not

Benvenuto Brunello 20016: Welcome Brunello di Montalcino 2011

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

Benvenuto Brunello- Benvenuto Baby Brunello

Benvenuto Brunello: Viva Brunello- Viva Montalcino

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