Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2015
The 2015 vintage of Pian delle Vigne shows an intense ruby red color to the eye. The nose is complex, one of impact, characterized by notes of ripe red fruit and of violets accompanied by aromas of dried flowers, cocoa, cherries under spirits and spices such as oregano e marjoram. The palate is elegant, rich, and complex, with supple and succulent tannins. The freshness of certain sensations, first perceived on the nose, are felt once again during the tasting of the wine.
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Underbrush and baked plum aromas mingle with whiffs of new leather and camphor. It's medium in weight and well structured, delivering dried black cherry, licorice and tobacco set against taut, fine-grained tannins.
The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Pian delle Vigne was tasted (after a double decant) among the other wines from the Chianti Classico appellation made by Marchesi Antinori. That's a change because I usually taste this wine in a peer group of fellow Brunelli. You'd be forgiven for forgetting how different Sangiovese from these two geographically close (but philosophically distant) wine regions ultimately tastes. This expression from the warm 2015 vintage is loosely knit and less fine-tuned. It offers a broad-brush interpretation of the grape, with textured blackberry, spice, tar and earthy aromas. There is a touch of heat or extra ripeness in this wine that tends to flatten out the more nuanced details of the grape.
A lean, savory version, whose cherry, iron, tobacco and underbrush flavors play into the dusty tannins, pushing the fruit to the background. The aromas are the best feature. This doesn't offer the fruit of the best in the vintage, but is solid.
The Antinori family of Florence, one of the world's oldest and most distinguished wine producers, has lived in Tuscany since the 14th century and celebrated its 625th anniversary as wine makers in 2010. The current company president, Marchese Piero Antinori, believes in the tradition that the primary role of wine is to accompany food and enhance the dining experience. In Florence, the Antinori family has led a "Renaissance" in Italian wine making by combining long traditions, a love of authenticity and a dynamic innovative spirit.
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 that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards 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.
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.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.