Terre Nere Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016
2016 Brunello Riserva! 94 POINTS...one of the best Italian vintages in a century...and did we mention OVER 40% OFF? We’re a bit surprised to have some of this available, to be honest. The Vallone family, some of our very favorite Tuscan peeps, continue to impress, and this Brunello Riserva is truly one of the finest in their history.
The Vallone family moved to Montalcino in the 1990s when Pasquale, a former bank manager, caught the wine bug and fell head over heels in love with a spectacular estate just 10 kilometers south of Montalcino. In the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, on the slopes below the historic hilltop Castelo di Velona, the Vallone family’s Terre Nere estate stretches over 15 ha (37 acres) at an elevation of 280 meters. The vineyards are set among the sloping hillsides, growing on a unique and mineral-rich dark galestro soil – infused here with the volcanic remnants of the extinct Amiata volcano. This soil is what grants the winery its name.
Their first vintage of Brunello di Montalcino was in 2002, and they’ve quickly risen the ranks to become a top producer in Tuscany (go ahead and google their scores for yourself!) We’ve been direct importing them for years, but in the amazing 2016 vintage, more than ever before, we feel so fortunate to have access to these remarkable wines! This 2016 Riserva is 100% sangiovese and made from a selection of the best plots (each plot is vinified separately) throughout their five distinct parcels on the estate. (They have a sixth, planted to 1 hectare of cabernet sauvignon). The wine ages for 36 months in 30 and 50 hl Slovenian oak barrels, before bottling, and here yielding a tiny 250 cases of this special reserve wine.
The wine showcases the pedigree, richness, and power of the heralded 2016 vintage supremely well – with aromas of Chinese five spice, dried and fresh cherries, balsam, and roasted lavender and thyme. The mouthfeel is luxuriously svelte and mineral-driven, with volcanic notes accompanying more brilliant red berry and cherry tones, with black pepper, pomegranate tea, blood orange, and savory, meaty iron ore. The extended oak aging provides ample structure and an intensity of length that assures this wine will continue to be a stalwart example of one of Brunello’s best vintages ever – even two-plus decades from now. But we’ll not blame you for checking in early on this beauty either, nor will you be disappointed – it is harmoniously balanced, exceptionally concentrated, and fully worthy of drinking now with a quick decant and a vigorous swirl in your glass. We got all that they would sell us, but man, we sure wish we had more! Don’t get caught in that trap and make sure you grab a handful...you won’t regret it!