There are few regions as close to my heart as Brunello di Montalcino. The opulence, the complexity, the age ability, and the sheer magic that the very best examples reveal to their drinkers. I have always been a massive fan of the Gaja Brunello wines ever since I enjoyed the 1996 at a tasting with Gaia Gaja many years ago at Theo Randall’s restaurant. But Since 2007/8, the wines have really started to reach new heights of quality.
The 2012 vintage marks another change in the production of Gaja Brunello with all the wines being vinified in 500 litre tonneau instead of the usual mix between large barrels, barrique and tonneau. This move, Giovanni insists, will give the wines greater elegance, purity and textural finesse.
2012 was indeed a warmer, dryer vintage producing rich, opulent wines with higher alcohol and massive extract. Hence the decision was taken to christen the new oak tonneau in this vintage and blend all the Cru’s into just one estate wine. So like Gaja’s Barbaresco 2012 which included all three Cru’s, the Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello 2012 is a super cuvee that includes the fruit harvested from Rennina and their excellent five-hectare Cru site of Sugarille with galestro limestone soils and all-southern exposures. Suckling has already called the 2012 Brunello vintage “A Rock Star Vintage”… so expect big, dense, showy wines.
Tasting Note: The 2012 is a dark, dense seductive beast. Richly fruited with a lush, fragrant bouquet, there is a lot to this wine which reveals the profound, complex notes of a warmer, more exotic vintage in Montalcino. The nose offers up black cherry, kirsch liquor, cherry blossom perfume, and vanilla and licorice stick. There is a massive textural concentration and opulence immediately evident. This might be a first date but it’s not a wine shy to reveal all its assets. Vibrant layers of raisined black cherry, cranberry and forest strawberries emerge in a luxurious, opulent, hedonistic expression. But the wine never looses is varietal typicity of cherry stone fruits, licorice, aniseed root, dark damson plum spice and sweet tannins. Along side all the textural palate richness is a vibrant, fresh, cherry acidity that moves in parallel to the rich, harmonious fruit. A very generous wine that finishes broad and long with the most pretty bruleed, aniseed and white toast finish. Drink from release and over 8 to 10 years.
(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)