2014 is one of the most difficult vintages in memory in Brunello di Montalcino. It was the year when northern Europe enjoyed sun while the Italian summer was more like in Scotland. Rain, rain and rain. Add cold and ta da: you have the vintage 2014 in a nutshell. We give you here BKWine Magazine’s reporter Åsa Johansson’s selection of some of the best wines, in this difficult vintage.
Brunello di Montalcino 2014 reflects the expectations most of us had before we sat down to taste through hundreds of wines from the area during the launch tasting – prima – which took place in Montalcino in February. There were many wines that had fresh, inviting aromas but which in the mouth turned into wild dragons with high acidity and green, bitter, blunt tannins. It is slim wines that should be drunk early. Nothing to put in the cellar in other words.
There are exceptions. Perhaps these producers have succeeded in harvesting later than others? Perhaps they have had a better exposure of the vineyard or just been extra careful with the oak considering how ‘slim’ the wines are from 2014?
Here are my favourites from the difficult 2014 vintage in Brunello di Montalcino.
Tenuta Corte Pavone (biodynamic), 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Lovely well-preserved fruit, fresh cherries, mint, thyme, blue plums, aniseed, high acidity with some nerve, taste of plums, liquorice and mint, low tannins with a fine and elegant finish.
Cortonesi, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Sweet cherry nose, dark berries, floral tones, roses and peony, tones of vanilla, deep dark scent, elegant tannins, harmonious, no oak that takes over, high acidity, floral flavours with fine finish.
Fornacella, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Inviting tones of roses, cherries and tar, small blue plums, raspberries, tough tannins that soften slightly in the finely preserved fruit, somewhat short but, after all, very good
Tenuta Grepponi Mazzi (Ruffino), 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Sweet nose with cherries, hints of roses and also some herbs, thyme and mint. Elegant tannins blended with finely-retained fruit and a salinity that gives complexity. Long and lovely but light finish. Good!
Il Marroneto, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Sweet spice, cardamom and cinnamon, sweet cherries, ripe lingonberry, complex aromas, tannins that are present but elegant, salty and long finish, very good and well-preserved fruit. A favourite!
Il Pino – Fattotia del Pino, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Lavender, roses, floral aromas, touch of tar, sweet fruit on the palate, plums and ripe raspberries, elegant tannins, all parts quite low-key but the long finish shows that this is an excellent wine, especially considering the vintage. Very good.
La Palazzetta, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Aromas of mint, liquorice, rosemary, ripe raspberries, very inviting. Soft tannins but lots of fruit, a bit short but well kept. Good.
La Poderina, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Here, they have also managed to keep a good fruit, rounded tannins with the flavours of sweet cherries, raspberries and nutmeg, the acidity is high but not aggressive, long nice finish. Very good.
Palazzo, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Lovely inviting fruit, salinity, well-balanced oak that rounds of the tannins that do not take over, high acidity but all parts are nicely balanced. Medium long end, very good.
Pian delle Vigne (Antinori), 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Aromas of ripe fruit, ripe cherries, blackberries, tones of dark chocolate, on the palate ripe fruit, blackberries, very oaky but well integrated. A very well made wine, more full-bodied than many others, very good.
Podere Le Ripi, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Fresh aromas, plums, nutmeg, cloves, medium acidity but enveloped by plenty of fruit, lots of tannins gives structure without being blunt, tight and inviting. Very good!
Sesta di Sopra, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Ripe cherries and blue plums, peppery, tones of balsamic vinegar, soft tannins, in the flavour ripe blue plums, medium finish that leaves a taste of fruit in the mouth with no tannins.
Villa in Cipressi, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Aromas of lavender, potpourri, ripe blue plums, on the palate a certain roughness but with fruit and salinity and a fascinating pepperiness. Nice!
Argiano, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Aromas of sage, strawberry and ripe raspberries, medium acidity and well-preserved fruit. On the palate there is strawberry and raspberry flavours again, cedar wood, fine long but tangible tannins, sweet notes, long finish. A favourite.
Baricci, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Lovely aromas of sweet fruit, ripe cherries, lingonberry jam with cedar wood elements, wonderfully full-bodied with sweet fruit, mint, white pepper, elegant tannins with a long elegant finish. A favourite!
Canalicchio di Sopra, 2014 Brunello di Montalcino
Elegant aromas with small red fruits, lingonberries, cherries, hints of cedar and roasted hazelnuts. Fantastically elegant tannins for the vintage, astringent with high acidity but the berry notes also shine through in the taste along with careful barrel ageing that lifts it up. Long elegant finish. Kudos for this wine in a vintage like 2014!
Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. Asa writes regularly on wine and food in Swedish and Italian publications as well as online.
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