Montalcino, 2011 vintage

Comments apply to all wines coming from the town of Montalcino, not just Brunello. However the star ratings from one to five given below are those given by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino specifically for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.

2011 **** (four)

2011 Growing season | Normal winter with cold periods, rain and some snow. ‘Warm spring [with rain] meant budburst was two weeks early. Rainy summer restored the normal growth cycle. Blast of heat from mid-August through to the harvest. No drought stress to speak of due to water accumulated through the first part of the summer. But in the run-up to harvest acidity levels plummeted,’ says Richard Baudains (2017). Riccardo Campinoti of Le Ragnaie told me ‘2011 was really hot with a heat spike in August which meant the vines little time to adjust, drying out the fruit and causing burning.’ Marco Sassetti of Il Palazzone says ‘2011 was characterised by heat and in fact we dropped a lot of fruit at our low-lying vineyard after the hot winds at the end of August. We waited for rain and ended up picking relatively late. As in 2009, our high altitude vineyards are showing a lot of grace. This was the first year we fermented in wood and I am loving the results. It’s early days to see the full character of this wine but I am hopeful that some difficult decisions we made pre-harvest will pay off.’

2011 Wine style | ‘The wines are soft, round, with smooth glossy textures, but without the structure for the long haul. Riserva wines are not always completely convincing,’ says Richard Baudains (2017). Francesco Leanza of Salicutti describes 2011 as a vintage for elegant wines. ‘Riper, softer wines than usual but the best are balanced,’ (Ian D’Agata 2016 Decanter Italy). The Rosso di Montalcino wines were variously described as being very forward, ripe and jammy. Clear differences between the cooler north and the hotter south.

2011 Production | The vineyard area comprised 1,920 hectares for Brunello and 512 hectares for Rosso producing 71,456hl of Brunello and 25,567hl of Rosso respectively.