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Flat front label of wine

Altesino Montosoli Brunello di Montalcino 1997

Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
  • WS98
  • RP93
0% ABV
  • WE99
  • JS98
  • WS97
  • RP95
  • D92
  • WE97
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • WS95
  • JS94
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  • RP93
  • WE93
  • WS98
  • JS97
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  • JS95
  • RP94
  • WS91
  • WE91
  • WS95
  • JS98
  • WS93
  • WE95
  • WS93
  • RP92
  • WS95
  • WE93
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • WS96
  • WS95
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Winemaker Notes

Altesino is one of the best producers of Brunello di Montalcino, and its single-vineyard Brunello, Montosoli, is the benchmark wine. It shows the power and finesse that Sangiovese can produce in the unique soils and climate of the region. Since the estate was founded in the mid-1970s, Montosoli has only been made in seven vintages: 1975, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1997. I gave the 1997, a complex yet reserved red with a long future ahead of it, a rating of 98 points.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 98
Wine Spectator
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Altesino

Altesino

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Altesino, Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
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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.

Montalcino

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Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is responsible for both Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti but Montalcino has its own clone, which the locals call Brunello.

The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village, which fan out at various elevations. The variations of elevation and soils create Brunellos of different styles. From the valleys with deeper deposits of clay, the wines are typically bolder and deeper in color with more opulent black fruit. These wines tend to take better to aging in some percentage of new French oak barrels. The hillside wines and vineyards at higher elevations produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas. These sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale. These, in general, may be aged in larger and more traditional oak casks

Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.

Sangiovese

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The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. On the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.

In the Glass

Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.

Perfect Pairings

Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.

Sommelier Secret

Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.

SSR53085_1997 Item# 53085