Valdicava Back Vintage Offer

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

For a lover of great wine there are few experiences that can match the pleasure of consuming a well-cellared version of one of the great vintages from one of the great estates. So, when I was again given the opportunity to taste through an extensive back-vintage (and future) range of wines from Valdicava in March I was again struck by that tingling feeling you get when you know you're doing something a little special, tasting something that represents an epoch in time, a moment in the life of a vineyard, a part of a cycle in a living organic process. Without putting too much mayo on it, this is an amazing and privileged position. Visceral and life affirming.

This particular tasting featured a dizzying array of vintages - both past and future - and was again illustrative of what sets the truly great Brunello estates apart from the hundreds of newer producers that have arrived in the last 30 years. Producers like the original 23 who started the consorzio still, in my experience, have the most to offer in terms of a real connection to the place rather than giving the distinct impression that this is a wine that could come from anywhere. The site here is most key and these original estates have had them locked up for a long time.

Valdicava is one such producer whose site on the north side of the hill, bounded on one side by the famed Montosoli hill and containing the jewel of the Madonna del Piano vineyard at its centre is a special terroir. Critics and long-time devotees of the wines from this site talk about the power of the wines from here and that is also my own impression, but to talk of power alone excludes the nuance in the aromatic and flavour profiles. The styling is traditional. The wines present with a hint of orange on the rim to ruby colour (no opaque purple Brunello of the new wave here) and the aromas always lean to the savoury, dried herbs, balsam, cherry while the palate hold exceptional power (a feature of this site) and structure meaning the wines always need time to unravel to their true potential... case in point with the following three wines. See below third party reviews but also an impression by me based on the most recent tasting. An important point given I think the 2007 for example has taken the next step up in complexity.