In Eric Guido’s effusive article on 2016 Brunello di Montalcino published last year, he celebrated the wines as “Radiance Personified”. By that token the 2016 Riservas are radiance itself. These are some of the most exciting wines we’ve ever released, and here’s a serious wake-up call for wine lovers around the world... if Brunello wasn’t on your radar before, now there really is no excuse not to sit up and take notice!
Unsurprisingly the 2016 Riservas are sailing out to serious critical acclaim, with all major publications talking up the vintage as one of the best, if not the best ever. These wines combine incredible elegance and refinement with fine yet persistent tannins, gorgeous fruit, impressive complexity and the acidity & structure for long-term aging (if you can wait that is!). Indeed, James Suckling, Brunello’s longest-serving international critic, implores that “if you ever wanted a Brunello di Montalcino for your cellar to age for decades, then buy the 2016 vintage”. Meanwhile Guido is ecstatic with the vintage, declaring “there’s frankly so much pent-up energy and brilliance of fruit within 2016 Brunellos, that the extended aging process has only finely tuned these already-souped-up roadsters”.
2016 enjoyed a picture-perfect growing season. Cool nights and warm days set the scene for beautifully ripened grapes. Water reserves from the winter provided solace during the warm spring, and a wet June revived the vines and prepped the grapes for the summer months, which were delightfully warm and balmy. 2016 ticked along like a Swiss timepiece. When harvest came, the grapes had lighter skins with high acidities and all the promise of a legendary vintage.
Our selection with be tight as ever, though from Castello di Romitorio (star of the vintage?) and Mastrojanni to Argiano and Valdicava, all our growers have received standing ovations from critics and their Brunello Riservas are destined to provide pleasure for years to come. It’s worth bearing in mind that many producers, including Romitorio, will not bottle any Riservas in 2017 & 2018 to maximise quality in these more challenging vintages, so this really is your last chance until at least 2019 to add some five-star Brunello to your cellar. Who knows, in the long run 2016 may prove to be the greatest vintage ever for the region!
The Best of the 2016 Riservas
“The best examples capture the vintage’s depth, sophistication and vitality without being weighed down or too forceful. They should age leisurely and gracefully for 15 to 20 years.”
Michaela Morris, Decanter
Castello Romitorio, Filo di Seta Riserva 2016
“This is youthfully restrained and grumbling in the glass, but it’s worth waiting for, as a captivating display of mentholated herbs, dusty rose, lavender, black cherries, hints of animal musk and crushed ashen stone evolves before your eyes. It’s deeply textural and polished in feel, but also full of zesty, cooling acidity that enlivens the sultry core of dark fruits and exotic spices. A saturation of tannin coats the palate, creating a massively structured and long finale with lingering remnants of salted licorice and inner violet tones. The 2016 Riserva Filo di Seta may be a masterpiece in the making.” 98 pts, Eric Guido (Vinous)
Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016
“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva lifts up with elegance and richness, as sweet lavender and violets give way to a more savory display of black cherries, Tuscan dust and cedar box with hints of cooling mint. This rushes the palate with sweet red fruits and spices, silky yet lifted, and displaying a delicacy not expected from the Riserva category, yet quite welcome. Beneath is a core of power and density just waiting to unfold. Minerality comes through in the finale, mingling with a fine coating of tannin and hints of spicy citrus. This harmonious Brunello will have a very long life. The Riserva is a selection of two Brunello barrels, one tonneau and one large cask, from Romitorio’s cellar. Simply stunning.” 97 pts, Eric Guido (Vinous)
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016
“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva captivates with a rich, intoxicating bouquet that mixes deep black cherry-berry with plum sauce, balsam herbs, chalk dust and hints of camphor. It fleshes out across the palate, a staining of primary fruits and spices seeming to coat all that it touches in youthful concentration. Zesty acidity creates a refreshing balance in spite of the grippy tannins that settle in toward the close. The result is a wine of poise, structure, but also remarkable length and energy, as tart currants and salty minerals mingle – and, somehow, leave the mouth watering for more. Bravo! Argiano totally knocked it out of the park with their 2016 Riserva, which is a vineyard selection of fruit, refined for two years in 1,500-liter Garbellotto casks.” 95 pts, Eric Guido (Vinous)