Castello Tricerchi Brunello di Montalcino 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Along the northern slopes of Montalcino, near the edge of the Brunello appellation stands the impressive Castello Tricerchi. Now farmed by the 17th generation of the Tricerchi family, Tommaso and Emanuele Squarcia, the castle’s importance is paramount in Montalcino. Completed by the Tricerchi family in 1441, the fortress became a waypoint for travelers on the Via Francigena—the pilgrims way to the Vatican from France.
These days, there are less religious pilgrims along the route than there are vinous ones: Montalcino has attracted wine lovers to this corner of Tuscany from around the globe, and Tricerchi is rising to the occasion. The Squarcia family once sold their grapes to the Geografico cooperative, but since 2012 they have been working closely with famed “sangiovesista” Maurizio Castelli (of Scopetone and Mastrojanni fame), making wine in a classic style with longer fermentations with indigenous yeasts, and aging in large Slavonian oak casks. The results are sublime: a refreshing classic interpretation of Montalcino terroir from a relative newcomer on the scene—even though their family has been in possession of the castle since the 15th century!
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.