Benvenuto Brunello: Vintage 2013, Cool and Classic

Yesterday, Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, along with scores of wine lovers and industry professionals, celebrated the 2013 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino. Benvenuto Brunello was held at NYC’s Gotham Hall and provided a uniquely panoramic walk-around tasting experience of over thirty Brunello producers representing Montalcino’s 2013 vintage premier. A limited-space guided tasting further addressed vintage specifics.

The official tagline for Montalcino’s 2013 vintage is “cool and classic”. The wines I tasted certainly attest to that theme, for the most part, showing energy, high acidity, crisp and crunchy fruit, and lifted aromatics.

Mentions of 2013 as being a “feminine” vintage are understandable. Although, I suspect that conclusion is arrived at with a dose of comparative hindsight. That is to say, after experiencing vintages like 2012 with its sheer power, and the muscularity of 2006, the classic character of 2013 feels in the afterglow comparatively feminine.

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Traditionally styled wines are showing especially well in 2013’s vintage. In most cases, the winemaking approach seems better suited to lithe frames, nervy acidity and lifted aromatics. Conversely, in this kind of vintage, the heavy hand with oak sticks out, at times smothering aromatics and presenting awkward tannins. Producers who stuck to a more restrained wood regime achieved wines of greater balance.

Best of all, 2013’s Brunello di Montalcino wines are, in general, broadly approachable now and are not at all aggressive. Of course, as (almost) always with Brunello, cellaring will reward you for effort and patience.

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