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You've probably heard how sensational the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino vintage is in Italy. With so many releases receiving extremely high scores, it parallels the great 2007, 2012 vintage in Napa Valley and in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Below are excerpts from articles written by professional wine critics and publications regarding this benchmark vintage.


James Suckling, former Senior Editor of Wine Spectator Magazine, recently wrote a large article on the 2010 Brunello di Montalcinos after his visit there. He tasted and rated many different wines and summarized this phenomenal vintage as a whole:

"I tasted slightly more than 100 2010 Brunellos in a blind tasting in Tuscany a few months ago and I was amazed by the beauty, balance and intensity of the wines. They showed such energy and intensity yet were rich and deep on the palate. And most have a fascinating savory, almost salty character that makes them succulent and incredibly satisfying to taste. They are incredibly drinkable yet structured at the same time – a true sign of great wine. This is why I continually wrote "drink or hold" in tasting notes, meaning you can enjoy them now but they will age gracefully and improve for decades ahead. This is not a vintage to miss. It is as significant as the legendary 1997 vintage, not only for the great quality of the Brunellos made but for its historical greatness."

Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated this vintage very highly and had similar feedback:

"It’s challenging to generalize any vintage in Montalcino because of its diverse growing conditions. Vineyard altitudes range from 320 to 1,969 feet above sea level, and average summer temperatures and rainfall vary significantly from north to south.
Yet, according to producers in all corners of the denomination, 2010 was a remarkable year in terms of weather.
“It was a perfect growing season, relatively warm during the maturation phase, with pronounced day and night temperature changes that allowed us to wait for the best phenolic maturation ever attained at our estate,” says Francesco Ripaccioli of Canalicchio di Sopra and vice president of the consorzio. Ripaccioli even defines the vintage “historic.”

Thanks to these ideal growing conditions, there are some superb 2010 Brunellos that display rich fruit flavors, freshness and powerful tannins. The best have the structure to age for at least 15–20 years, yet their concentrated, juicy flavors will also make them approachable in a few years, once the tannins start to soften.
And while perfect weather conditions don’t guarantee vintage excellence across the board (although, it sure came close in Barolo), I was still surprised to find a number of wines—thankfully a minority but still more than expected—of uninspiring 2010 Brunellos.
Some of these underperformers are surprisingly evolved, already brick colored and displaying dried up fruit and astringent tannins. At the other end of the spectrum, are high-octane Brunellos displaying stewed fruit and the heat of evident alcohol, with many of the latter declaring 15% on the label. Given the half point of flexibility allowed on Italian labels, they are likely closer to 15.5%.

Top producers—those who make the best Brunellos every year—generally made fantastic 2010 Brunellos. Their expertise, especially in the vineyards—including canopy management, when to harvest and scrupulous grape selection—proved critical even in a near perfect year like 2010. Alongside these producers, most with well over twenty-five or thirty vintages under their belt, are newly established estates, many of which still lack essential hands-on experience.
Shaking up quality even more is the recent wave of outside bottling houses that buy Brunello in bulk from local producers and bottle it under their own labels. As can be expected, producers tend to keep their best quality wine and sell off the rest to the bottlers."

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate has also recently posted an article that reports this vintage as a benchmark for Brunello:

For a complete report: Italy, Tuscany: Two Perfect Opposites - 2010 Brunello di Montalcino

"The 2010 vintage is iconic for Montalcino and the reason is, simply put, it shows the amazing versatility of the Sangiovese grape with a level of clarity that I have never encountered. This vintage restores my confidence in a grape variety that has been both overhyped and underappreciated, sometimes at the same time.

The New York Times recent article rated some 2010 Brunello's under $100

I believe that the best examples of Brunello di Montalcino are among the world’s greatest wines, a belief that was made even stronger by a recent tasting of some old vintages of Biondi-Santi, perhaps the greatest of all Brunello producers.

These were big wines, characterized by ripe fruit and opulence. Yet the most successful producers were able to balance and shape that fruit with tannins, acidity and earthiness, resulting in structured wines that will age for years but are still enjoyable young.

Our top wines showed the balance of fruit and flowers, freshness, purity and minerality that I have come to love in Brunello di Montalcino. Without that keen balance, some wines tipped over into dense fruitiness. Few wines, thankfully, were overtly oaky or seemed sweet.

Our top bottle came from Conti Costanti, which year after year makes gorgeous wines that manage to combine power, elegance and subtlety. The 2010 was a wine of great purity that captured the beauty of sangiovese from Montalcino, and which will improve for years.

To Read the Full Article: Brunello di Montalcino’s Balancing Act


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Castiglion del Bosco "Dainero" 2013 (Tuscany, Italy) [JS 92]
Castiglion del Bosco "Dainero" 2013 (Tuscany, Italy) [JS 92]
Retail Price: $25.00
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92 Points - James Suckling:
"A silky and very fine red with currant, berry and sandalwood character. Medium body, fine tannins. Subtle, fruity finish. Drink now or hold."
Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 93] [AG 92+] [RP 90] [WE 90] [WS 90]
Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 93] [AG 92+] [RP 90] [WE 90] [WS 90]
Retail Price: $55.00
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93 Points - James Suckling:
"Plenty of black cherry and berry character with hints of flowers. Medium to full body, soft and fresh tannins and a clean and delicious finish. Lovely now." - (November 27, 2017)

Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino "Campo del Drago" DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 96] [RP 94] [WS 92]
Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino "Campo del Drago" DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 96] [RP 94] [WS 92]
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96 Points - James Suckling:
"A very perfumed, sexy red with blueberry, dark chocolate, walnut skin, cedar and hints of mahogany. This is very deep and dense with a wonderful core of ripe fruit and freshness. Some new wood showing now, giving it a vanilla undertone. Wonderful finish with a toasted-coconut and berry character. Single-vineyard Brunello. Better in 2017." - (January 21, 2015)

Luca Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [WS 93] [RP 92]
Luca Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [WS 93] [RP 92]
Retail Price: $135.00
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92 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a bold and tightly layered wine that delivers an impressive performance. The bouquet is firmly stitched together and seamless although it also shows a powerful rush of red cherry, blackberry, spice, tar, cola and grilled herbs. There is a modern touch of cinnamon and toasted espresso bean that gives the wine an added sense of depth and lasting importance. In the mouth, this Riserva reveals tight structure and tangy acidity. " - Monica Larner (Mar 2016)

Sesti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Phenomena" DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 94]
Sesti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Phenomena" DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 94]
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94 Points - James Suckling:
Shows sliced meat and plum character with hints of cedar. Full body yet reserved and tight. Full body, layered and silky textured. A delicious wine now and for the future. Drink or hold. - JS (Feb 28th, 2016)
Sesti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Phenomena" DOCG 2010 [1.5 L MAGNUM] (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 94]
Sesti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Phenomena" DOCG 2010 [1.5 L MAGNUM] (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 94]
Retail Price: $320.00
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94 Points - James Suckling:
Shows sliced meat and plum character with hints of cedar. Full body yet reserved and tight. Full body, layered and silky textured. A delicious wine now and for the future. Drink or hold. - JS (Feb 28th, 2016)
Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [RP 95] [JS 93]
Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [RP 95] [JS 93]
Retail Price: $120.00
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95 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"Fossacolle's 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is another stellar wine from a stellar vintage. This Brunello opens to dark concentration and deep ruby highlights that add to the wine's overall weight and importance. The bouquet is composed of a fine aromatic embroidery with cherry, spice, tobacco and grilled herb. What distinguishes this wine in the end is its superb texture. This Riserva walks a fine line between elegance and power, and it does a great job of delivering both. That density and determination bodes well for its future aging potential." - Monica Larner (Mar 2016)

Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 [1.5L MAGNUM] (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 97] [RP 94] [AG 93] [WS 93] [WE 91]
Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 [1.5L MAGNUM] (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 97] [RP 94] [AG 93] [WS 93] [WE 91]
Retail Price: $295.00
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97 Points - James Suckling:
"Aromas of warm stones, dark fruits and walnuts follow to a full body, soft tannins and a savory finish. This shows ripe fruit and salty undertones that give it a wonderful juiciness. It's dense and tight now but will give so much pleasure in the future. Best ever from here. Drink or hold." - (January 19th, 2015)
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 95] [AG 93] [WE 93] [RP 92]
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino "Vigna la Casa" DOCG 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 96] [RP 95] [WS 92]
Retail Price: $95.00
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96 Points - James Suckling:
"Intense aromas of iron, rust, earth and dark, dried fruits. It's full-bodied, with incredible depth of fruit, berries and lemon peel. Drink or hold. A beautiful Brunello. So much going on here. Gorgeous." - (January 21, 2015)

La Serena Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Gemini" 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 96] [RP 95] [WS 92]
La Serena Brunello di Montalcino Riserva "Gemini" 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) - [JS 96] [RP 95] [WS 92]
Retail Price: $155.00
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96 Points - James Suckling:
"This is so rich and layered with lots of ripe cherry and wet earth aromas and flavors. Full body, chewy and polished tannins. It lasts for minutes on the palate. Impressive and persistent. Better in 2018." - (February 28th, 2016)

95 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"La Serena struts its stuff with the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Gemini. This beautiful wine from Andrea Mantengoli is balanced, powerful and generous in terms of its aromatic delivery. The pristine and saturated color of the wine is already an indication of the high quality to follow. A seamless array of aromas includes dark cherry, spice, leather, balsam herb and crushed mineral. What the wine does do successfully is present an integrated bouquet that is finely stitched together. It offers similar smoothness in terms of mouthfeel. This is a great under-the-radar Brunello that needs more bottle aging for sure. Give it another five years." - Monica Larner (Mar 2016)