Like many of us I am suffering from pandemic malaise – lacking motivation to complete a wine post. Several articles were started, then my interest faded and “non sono finito” (none are finished). But now, I’m hopeful that we are progressing to a new normalcy. After avoiding all retail stores for three months including a hiatus from my PT job in wine retailing, I visited my co-workers at wine store and my wine passion has new life.

Picking Sangiovese Grosso at Siro Pacenti

Every few years mother nature bestows a superb vintage on a wine region. 2015 is one of these special years in Tuscany (Toscana) and it was the best vintage since 2010. In fact, 2016 is another great vintage, maybe better than 2015. On average great vintages occur 2 or 3 times a decade. For example, Brunello and Tuscany had exceptional vintages in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

Montalcino hilltop village

During my October visit to Tuscany, I visited Montalcino to taste the highly anticipated 2015 Brunello di Montalcino. Brunello, one of Italy’s most prized wines, is released 5 years after harvest and produced in small quantities. Brunello can only be produced in the small hilltop village of Montalcino (population 6,000) from Montalcino’s vineyards of Grosso, a Sangiovese clone.

I had appointments at several Montalcino producers but my visit at Siro Pacenti was special. That morning James Suckling had announced 100 point scores for 11 Brunello wines from 2015 vintage and the winery was ecstatic – Siro Pacenti Vecchie Vigne 2015 was awarded 100 points! I have  included Suckling’s review but wine is not yet available in USA and will cost $80-$90.

Many 2015 Brunello wines are now becoming available in US market and the hype of a great vintage will inflate prices.  A more affordable Brunello ($45) that I added to my cellar is Caprili, ready to drink now (with decanting) though I will age a few years in cellar.

Caprili Brunello 2015

Vinous Media 95 rating says “Vibrant red. Minerals and violet complement lively red cherry and raspberry aromas on the incisive nose. Then enticingly fresh and well-balanced, with captivating violet inner-mouth perfume to the steely red and black fruit flavors that linger impressively. The delicately peppery finish features polished if youthful tannins and noteworthy purity of fruit. Knockout 2015 Brunello, one of the top half dozen of the year.”

James Suckling Score: 100/100 says “This is very intense on the nose with blue fruit, cool stones, brambleberries and blackberries. Wet earth, too. Full-bodied and extremely dense and powerful with a super center palate of fruit and ripe yet compact tannins. Lightly chewy and expressive. Superb transparency and integration. Goes on for minutes. One of the best Brunellos I have tasted in my career. Try after 2021, but already amazing.”

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy
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