Brunello di Montalcino New Vintages Preview: 2019 Brunello and 2018 Riserva, Part 1

by Ian D’Agata

Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy’s most famous, longest-lived, and most collectible red wines. There have been many memorable vintages that have gone down in history, the wines of which rank amongst the best reds the country has ever made: for example, 1975, 1988, 1990, 1999, 2001, 2010, 2015 and 2016 are some of the best Brunello vintages of the last fifty years. The good news is that, at first glance, the wines of 2019 appear to be poised to be remembered as great Brunellos: whether they will one day reach the lofty heights of the wines of those other vintages is debatable, but for sure 2019 will go down in history as a vintage that offered many excellent Brunellos. The better 2019 Brunellos are characterized by crisp, crunchy, red fruit, powerful but generally noble tannins, very clean and pure organoleptic profiles. Potential negatives in the less successful wines include too high alcohol levels and signs of sunburned skins, not to mention limited aging potential because of slight precocious evolution in the bottle. Generally speaking, my first impression is that while I do not think the 2019s will prove as long-lived as the wines of 1988 or 2016, for example, most will be charming and approachable to drink at a relatively early age (but the best 2019s will have no problem aging very gracefully and long).

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Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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Ian D'Agata