Brunello di Montalcino – 2010 Vintage

20th July 2015

Reviewed by Barry Weinman

Situated in Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is a rising star in the world of wine. The wines were virtually unheard of 40 years ago until pioneer Biondi-Santi forged a reputation for fine wines and, in the process, dragged the whole region into focus. Traditional, rustic wines for local consumption gradually gave way to increasing quantities of ever improving reds made from Sangiovese. In recent years, the number of producers has expanded rapidly, with over 200 now available.

Unlike neighbouring Chianti, wines labelled as Brunello must be 100% Sangiovese. The Grosso clone used in the region also differs from that used in Chianti.

Wine quality is divided in to 4 categories. Apart from the generic Toscana IGT wines, there are

Rosso di Montalcino:

  • May be made from young vine fruit, or declassified fruit that is not suitable to be included in Brunello.
  • Another source is the lighter juice that comes of the press early, enabling the more concentrated/extracted juice to go into Brunello.
  • Requires a minimum of 12 months’ aging (6 months in oak) before release

Brunello di Montalcino

  • Aged in oak for a minimum of 2 years
  • Further aged in bottle for a minimum of 4 months
  • May be released after 4 years

Brunello di Montalcino – Reserva

  • Aged in oak for a minimum of 2 years
  • Further aged in bottle for a minimum of 4 months
  • May be released after 5 years

As in many Italian regions, there are divisions as to how Brunello should be made. Traditionalists argue that extended aging in oak is the correct method, whilst a new generation is looking to make fresher wines where the fruit is better preserved.

Thanks to the team at Lamont’s, I was able to taste my way through 24 Brunellos and Rossos. This was a unique opportunity to try a large number of these high-quality wines. It proved to be very informative, showing a variety of styles. All identifiably made from Sangiovese, but with an interesting mix of modern and traditional styles.

My suggestion would be to select a mix of wines and style, get a few friends over and have a look for yourself!


  1. This was not a blind tasting, so my points are an indication only
  2. Prices quoted are RRP. The team at Lamont’s were offering generous discounts on the night, so it would be worth speaking to them directly
  3. Quantities are limited

Rosso di Montalcino

Tenuta Buon Tempo – Rosso di Montalcino 2012 (17.8). Lovely balance between supple fruit and savoury structure on the nose. The palate has cherry, tobacco, spice and tar notes, leading onto chewy, textural tannins. This is an excellent wine, but ideally needs a few years in the cellar, or a hearty meal to make this really sing. A lovely wine and great value! (RRP $38.25, though is available for pre-orders from Lamont’s for $30).

Querce Bettina – Rosso di Montalcino – 2010 (17.8). There is more power and depth to the fruit on the nose than some tasted. Shows a combination of sweet and sour fruit notes. The palate has licorice, spice, cherry and plum. There is real depth to the fruit and the structure frames the fruit beautifully. Very long and savoury, this will be a lovely wine to drink over the next few years. (RRP $52.75).

Tenuta Buon Tempo – Rosso di Montalcino – 2011 (17.7). I really like the way the ripe, cherry fruit is balanced against savoury notes on the nose. The palate transitions from cherry to tar, with just a touch of perfume. There is a core of dense fruit here, but this quickly gives way to savoury, textural components. The finish is chewy, with tobacco, spice and excellent length. A wine that is actually quite age-worthy. (RRP $38.25).

Il Poggione – Rosso di Montalcino – 2010 (17.5). A wine that values savoury complexity over obvious fruit. That said, there is a core of decent fruit that reflects cherry and tar, with excellent length of flavour. From the mid-palate though to the finish, the structural tannins and oak come in to keep the fruit in check. A really smart wine that is drinking a treat, yet will age for a number of years. A very good value wine that deserves to be paired with a decent risotto. (RRP $33.95)

Argiano – Rosso di Montalcino – 2012. (17). Lovely vibrant hue here. The nose has a mix of ripe fruit and savoury notes. The palate is rich and vibrant, with just enough savoury notes to identify the origins. Whilst not mainstream in style, this would be a great introductory wine for people used to drinking Australian Shiraz. Good value and drinking now. (RRP $36.55).

Brunello di Montalcino

San Filippo – Brunello di Montalcino – Le Lucere – 2010 (18.5 – 19). Chewy, textural and powerful. The fruit really builds with air becoming rich and succulent. The fine tannins are prodigious, yet supple enough to let the fruit build on the finish. With tremendous length of flavours, this is a brilliant wine. Old fashioned, with high acidity, this is sure to age well, but is a wine that some Australian palates may struggle with. (RRP $119).

Tenuta Buon Tempo – Brunello di Montalcino – Alta – 2010 (18.5+). Wow, this is fantastic! Floral fruit on the nose is reminiscent of roses. This continues on the palate leading on to tar, spice, licorice and graphite notes. There are very fine tannins that express on the side of the palate/in the gums, adding texture and structure. Great length, with a chewy close, this has excellent potential. (RRP $110).

Villa 1 Cipressi – Brunello di Montalcino – Zebras – 2010 (18.5++). Really deep smelling, with concentrated, perfumed fruit. The floral notes are a real feature. The palate is flooded with mouth-watering fruit, transitioning almost seamlessly to supple savoury characters and fine, textural tannins. Finishes quite chewy and serious. Will be a delight with food now, but really needs 10 years to truly express itself. (RRP $122.00).

Querce Bettina – Brunello di Montalcino – Riserva – 2006 (18.5). Fantastic fruit on the nose. Perfumed, floral and spicy. The palate shows cherry, spice and plum, with supple structure. The very long finish is remarkably refined, with a touch of resin/varnish on the close. Silky, textural, spicy and long, this is drinking a treat right now. This is not a wine for everyone, but the traditionalists will love it. (RRP $146.50).

Le Chiuse – Brunello di Montalcino – 2010 (18.5). Quietly powerful fruit on the nose. The quality of the vintage really expresses on the palate. With air, this gets all savoury and interesting. The palate is textured, structured, powerful, long and dense. This is a very powerful wine, with the fruit carrying the savoury structure with aplomb. Excellent length, balance and presence from a wine produced from organically grown grapes. Needs years to hit its peak but will be worth it. (RRP $122.40).

Tenuta Buon Tempo – Brunello di Montalcino – 2010 (18 – 18.5). This is a really interesting blend of ripe fruit and savoury notes. The palate is fine and refined. Initially, the fruit is subdued, yet the structural components are very fine and almost silky. On the finish the cherry notes give way to tar and spice, the flavours lingering for what seems like minutes. Needs years to come around, but a lovely wine of real class. Don’t be afraid to try one now. (RRP $76.50, but likely to be discounted).

San Lorenzo – Brunello di Montalcino – Bramate – 2010 (18+). A lovely mix of ripe cherry fruit characters and supple savoury notes. The fruit quality is apparent on the palate, but the tannic, savoury notes really shut this down right now. This gets all savoury and chewy on the finish, with tar and graphite characters over dusty, chewy, textural tannins. A superior wine. (RRP $110.50).

Il Poggione – Brunello di Montalcino – 2009 (18+). Lovely nose that has enough fruit to make this beautifully perfumed, yet there is an undercurrent of savoury, spicy complexity. The palate is very structured and chewy, while the fruit is subdued and there are hints of varnish and resin to close. The finish is very long indeed. This needs many years to hit its peak, and will probably score higher in years to come. (RRP $102.55).

Villa 1 Cipressi – Brunello di Montalcino – 2010 (18+). Quite closed on the nose, but opens to show sweet, almost succulent fruit of real charm. The palate is bright and fresh, with graphite/pencil shaving characters over savoury, almost dusty fruit. The finish is notable for the fine, talc like tannins that linger with the sweet fruit slowly giving way to tar like notes. Very approachable now. (RRP $115.60)