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2013 Annata

2013 was a source of concern for producers from the start. The spring in particular was cool and rainy, which noticeably delayed ripening, and it was initially unclear whether the warm second half of the summer would be able to make up for the shortfall. Harvest was correspondingly late; the consortium gave the vintage 4 out of 5 stars, which is supposed to mean "classic year" and is always a bit of a warning to be skeptical given the generosity with which consortia usually handle their vintage assessments.

Indeed, there are some simpler, tart, uncharming, sometimes even green wines, but they by no means define the vintage. If anything, the vast majority of the 2013 Brunello seems to have benefited from the conditions. The wines are leaner and often not quite as concentrated as much 2012, for instance, but finer, often more precise and elegant. Also the differences in character, it seems to us, are much more prominent this year than they were last year. Not always, but strikingly often, we prefer the '13 Brunello to their '12 counterparts, and so should anyone who prefers finesse and elegance to sheer power, especially since the wines are by no means lacking in depth and complexity.