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2011 Biondi-Santi - Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

ITALY / TUSCANY /
abv 13.5%
    • Variety
      Sangiovese
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    SKU: 45393-2011
    • Rating: 94

      Dark red. Musky nuances give way to brighter red fruit, licorice and herbal aromas. Rich and dense, with flavors of red cherry and minerals lifted by hints of orange peel and bergamot, not to mention noteworthy but harmonious acidity. Finishes long with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering hints of violet. This strikes me as a slightly readier to drink version of Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi, but as always, it improves greatly with aeration so decant at least six hours ahead for maximum enjoyment.
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  • The Biondi-Santi estate defined Tuscan wine culture in the 19th century, beginning with Clemente Biondi Santi. The terroir on the estate was uniquely acclimated to growing Sangiovese grapes, and Clemente perfected his techniques in his time on the estate. Before his death, he taught his nephew, Ferruccio Biondi Santi, everything he knew about crafting Sangiovese. This proved essential years later, when phylloxera wiped out many crops in the region. Biondi Santi used his knowledge of clones to isolate one that was phylloxera resistant.

    In the process, he created one of the most popular clones used today, and one that produces grapes which cellar far longer than Sangiovese of the past. He produced his first bottle of Brunello di Montalcino in 1888, and since then, this vintage has become one of the most iconic in Tuscany.

    Biondi Santi releases both an Annata, or normale bottling, and a Riserva bottling, making both only in good vintages and the latter only in great. While the Annata derives from vines between the ages of ten and 15 years, the Riserva derives from older vines between 25 and 80 years of age. Both the Annata and the Riserva undergo fermentation in traditional Slavonian oak for 18 days, followed by aging in large oak casks of 800 to 7,000 liters for a period of two to three years, and the Riserva is released six years after the harvest.

    The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to ancient vines that grew wild long before modern times. Sangiovese is the variety of the region's best-known wines, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti. In recent years, “Super Tuscans"—blends including non-native Bordeaux varieties—have gained in popularity and acclaim. The region's Mediterranean climate, with its warmer average temperatures, provides ideal conditions for the development of rich, structured, and age-worthy wines. 

    Sangiovese is Tuscany’s star variety and the primary grape in Italy’s renowned regions of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. It is high in both tannin and acid, producing well-balanced wines with medium body and aromas of red cherry, strawberry, fig, plum, and dried herbs. Sangiovese is late-ripening, and therefore requires the warm climate of Tuscany to grow. Wines from Sangiovese are typically aged for a period of time in oak to soften the tannins and add flavors of spice. With bottle age, the best wines develop meaty and gamey aromas. For the best expression of this variety look to producers Biondi-Santi, Valdicava, and Soldera.

    Sangiovese is also used in “Super-Tuscan” blends alongside other international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These styles originated from experimental winemakers wishing to produce wines that did not fall under local requirements, and have since risen to global prominence. The best of these pioneering estates include Ornellaia, Gaja, and Sassicaia, and are recognized today as some of Italy’s finest wine producers.

    Sangiovese pairs best with local Tuscan cuisine, particularly herb- and tomato-forward dishes including pizza and pasta marinara, as well as rich, roasted meat, cured sausage, and hard cheese.

    Collector Data For This Wine

    • 195 bottles owned
    • 32 collectors