Tenuta Valdicava

 Something almost mystical comes through the Brunello di Montalcino of this wonderful wine estate. Firstly, it has to be from the sublime vineyards located on the northern side of Montalcino that produce exquisite grapes. Secondly, it is the guru-like dedication in the vineyards and the winery of the owner Vincenzo Abbruzzese. He is a genius in combining the two into perfectly crafted examples of Tuscan Sangiovese. He makes a regular bottling Brunello as well as a single-vineyard Riserva called Madonna del Piano. JAMES SUCKLING

Vincenzo Abbruzzese is one of the most outspoken, passionate growers in Montalcino. His beautifully tended vineyards yield some of the richest wines in the region; and that’s where most of the focus is – on the vineyards. The winery itself is unremarkable and is equipped with just the bare essentials. All of the wines are aged in large, neutral oak; what comes through is Abbruzzese’s commitment to low yields, sustainable farming and non-interventionalist winemaking. ANTONIO GALLONI

Vincenzo Abbruzzese told me recently that he spends 330 days a year working in the vineyards and very rarely leaves the estate; his passion is his vineyard, his wine and his Arabian horses…not necessarily in that order!

The wines themselves hold enormous power but also convey a litheness and sense of place that sets them apart from many of the newer styled Brunelli (Valdicava sticks to the exclsuive use of larger Slovenian oak in maturation). These are wines that revel in their connection to the ground from whence they come and fill the drinker with a sense of excitement to be in touch with something so authentic. In addition to the wonderful Brunello normale Valdicava also makes a Riserva called Madonna del Piano (Madonna of the Plains) which houses even more depth and nuance.

These are superb traditionally styled Brunelli from one of the world’s most passionate and dedicated producers. MICHAEL MCNAMARA