Brunello 2013 Offer SYDNEY

If you want to experience the energy, elegance and ageworthy structure that first drew wine lovers and collectors to Brunello di Montalcino decades ago, then 2013 is your vintage...The top wines are stunning, with a radiance missed in many of the muscular, more approachable and higher alcohol Brunellos from recent vintages. The 2013s will require patience to reach their maximum potential. KERRIN O'KEEFE

The 2013 Brunellos are far better balanced than the overrated 2011s, and they are deeper and more penetrating than the 2012s. Clearly, the 2013 Brunellos will leave those weaned on big, rich, tannic, high-pH wines scratching their heads, but those who prefer their Sangiovese restrained and refined will be grinning from ear to ear. Moreover, 2013 stands out because outstanding Brunellos were made all over the denomination’s (much too) large area under vine. While it is customary to expect the southern reaches of the production zone to fare better in cooler years such as 2013 and 2008 and the northern reaches to spring ahead of the pack in warmer vintages like 2007 and 2009, the growing season of 2013 yielded outstanding Brunellos from all of Montalcino’s quadrants as climatic differences between them were minimal.

The best 2013 Brunellos are sleek, refined wines with high acidity, well-integrated tannins and a cool-climate character. As the majority of these wines clock in between 13% and 14% alcohol, very few of them are marred by cooked fruit character or obvious alcoholic warmth...Although the best 2013 Brunellos will undoubtedly age well, the majority of them offer surprising early appeal, owing to their balance, ripe fruit and aromatic expressiveness, so you will not necessarily have to defer gratification if you purchase these wines. In fact, thanks to their freshness and gracefulness, the 2013s will prove very successful as restaurant by-the-glass pours as well as versatile at the dinner table. IAN D'AGATA

Brunello di Montalcino: all hail the world's greatest expression of Sangiovese. This feted zone is uniquely blessed (a hill placed between the Med and Mt Amiata) with conditions that give an even ripening cycle resulting in wines of great expression, power without heft and long, fine tannin profiles. The best of the breed are thrilling wines that combine the visceral pleasure of sangiovese at its most "primal" with real purity, complexity and an aristocratic bearing that other versions of the variety simply cannot match. The 2013 vintage is one where the planets have aligned to make beautifully detailed and, for the most part, elegant and super expressive wines. They have ripeness and depth without excessive amounts of muscle and alcohol. It's a classicist’s vintage that is a must for any serious collector.

Before going on though I do think it's worth adding a little cautionary word about buying Brunello more generally. The zone itself is a a bit of an enigma and blanket generalisations are difficult or simply foolish. For one thing this is a large area of land with a multitude of elevations and aspects. This, combined with the influx of new producers over the last 30 years (who don't always have the same quality ethic as the original consorzio members) and a relaxation in the laws surrounding the maturation regime has meant that the picture is more fragmented than ever before. Indeed, I have been vocal about how many of the (mostly) newer producers are now not meeting the quality level one might expect from the area and for the price tag. This is not to say the great wines are not there anymore - in fact there are more, and they are greater than ever before - it's more that you must be aware when buying that you should be careful. The rewards you will get from the great producers are well and truly worth the money but it's not a homogenous zone as some would like you to believe. Personally, I tend to employ the old producer, producer, producer mantra and cross- reference it with my own tastings in the area and the reviews of the better critics. The below set of wines bears testament to that process. The selection showcases the best of the breed at different price points and within the two distinctly different style paradigms.

Just to reiterate, 2013 is a great vintage which is consistently good across the zone. It is epitomised by intensity without brawn and ripe, fine tannins profiles. Do not be afraid to lay these wines in by the case or at least the mixed case. They are certainly worth it 


Michael McNamara