San Filippo's Brilliant 2015 Brunello Releases

The 2015 vintage is a historical year for Brunello di Montalcino that nobody should miss. The wines show impressive precision of vivid fruit, fine tannins and freshness in acidity despite their ripeness and richness which makes them some of the most exciting in years.

Winemakers in Montalcino were never better prepared to produce outstanding wines in a year like 2015 with their exactness in their vineyards and cellars from fine-tuned canopy management and crop thinning to optical sorting and soft fermentations. So many wine producers in Montalcino made excellent wines in 2015. JAMES SUCKLING

Today marks a special moment in our wine trading year. It is the arrival of the first of a series of wines from the Brunello 2015 vintage. This is a vintage we have followed in cask for a few years now and at every tasting it has been evident that this is an historic year for this fabled region. This is a vintage that marries incredible density of fruit with such fine tannins that it almost makes you feel as though the wines are without structure. However the balance of elements is so well married and melded that it is a deception. This is a feature I have seen in several great vintage over my time and it underlines a truism in the greatest of all vintages – they look balanced and great from the moment they are bottled through to their latter stages of evolution.

Preamble done.

It is fitting that we start our season of Brunelli offers with a producer that we have followed for the past decade and who, in this vintage, has seemingly completed its rise to the top echelon of producers underlined by a perfect score for its single-vineyard wine and a near perfect score for his Brunello normale. I speak of course of San Filippo.

It’s such a pleasure to see these wines starting to get the recognition they deserve. Owner, Roberto Gianelli has worked tirelessly to renovate and revitalise this 2 acres property over the last 15 years. His energy and passion for his vineyards is infectious and the evolution in style toward fruit purity, coupled with weight and density has been a triumph of instinct over commercial pressures.

There are really two vineyard areas, the main area around the estate buildings and cellar and the single vineyard (Le Lucere) which sits on an elevated plateau 600 metres away. Even in Montalcino this is considered a small holding. Vineyard work is the focus and in the cellars primary fermentation is done in concrete and stainless before elevage is completed in a mix of 25 hectolitre botte and a small proportion of small French oak.

The new releases are exceptional – a point I have written in my notes from the estate on my last two visits. The Le Lucere lives up to its single vineyard status and delivers an extra degree of complexity and depth. Both wines though exhibit a hallmark of the “house” and the vintage – plush textures with good vivacity and energy.

I will let the reviews speak for themselves below. I am not a big one for scores to be honest but the most important takeout is the quality of this vintage and that I highly recommend stocking up on the best houses of which San Filippo is undoubtedly one. It is a brilliant year. 2016 is also excellent but that’s a story for another time.

I have a limited allocation of both Brunelli. If you would like some then shop early as the trade are already gathering to take their share out of the pool. Your support of Roberto’s wines have been the reason San Filippo has arrived at this place and believe me Roberto is happily bemused that so many Australians have found his wines.

Cheers

Michael