La Serena Brunello di Montalcino 2012
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The La Serena estate has belonged to the Mantengoli family since the 1930s, but they did not start making wine until 1988, when brothers Andrea & Marcello entered the family business. What began as a one-hectare farm has since grown into nine hectares, with about six of those under vine, dedicated exclusively to Sangiovese for Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino. Andrea has always worked the vineyards in an organic way, but since the 2013 vintage his wines are now officially certified as “Made With Organic Grapes” on the label.
The estate is directly east of Montalcino in an area that has always produced highly acclaimed Brunello. Andrea’s neightbors include Cerbaiona, Casanova di Neri and even Biondi Santi’s Il Greppo estate. The estate is at 400 meters above sea level, and the soil here is similar to the Pertimali/Montosoli Cru areas, but is slightly less compact, providing wines with structure but perhaps more approachability in their youth than their neighbors.
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.