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Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 1997

Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
  • WS91
  • RP91
0% ABV
  • WS96
  • WE94
  • RP93
  • WE93
  • JS92
  • WS92
  • JS95
  • WS93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Ruby red in color tending toward garnet with age. Exhibits an ample bouquet of violets and vanilla. Dry and velvety on the palate. Rich with an optimal balance of fruit, acidity and tannin. Recommended with roasted red meats and game. Excellent with aged cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Altesino

Altesino

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Altesino, , Italy
Altesino
Though the worldwide reputation of Brunello has encouraged a certain conservatism among Montalcino estates, Altesino has always been an innovative leader. The estate pioneered the technique of aging its IGT wines in small French oak barrels, limiting the time spent in oak to enhance each wine's personality. The resulting wines were a groundbreaking improvement over those produced by traditional methods. No longer overwhelmed by wood, they were able to display the unique characteristics of the fruit, with softened tannins and perfect balance.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Altesino became the first Montalcino estate to introduce the concept of "cru" wines, made with a special selection of grapes from a single vineyard. Elegance, finesse, and a fruitier, richer style are the trademarks of Altesino's wines, and have earned the estate a position among the very top producers of Brunello. This achievement is even more impressive considering Brunello is perhaps the most recognized Italian appellation.

When the winery was purchased at the end of 2002 by the Angelini family, owners of nearby Tenuta Caparzo, winemaker Claudio Basla remained with the estate, emphasizing his commitment to maintaining Altesino's hard-earned reputation as a Montalcino institution and a global leader in innovative winemaking.

With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.

By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

WBO1844380_1997 Item# 50662

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