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In Montalcino, 2018 is already being described as possibly the last "classic" vintage the area will ever experience. After the extremely hot and dry previous year, the winemakers were happy to have plenty of rain and snow at the beginning of the year. Spring was also cool and damp into June, further helping to replenish the water reservoirs. In July, a period of fine weather began, but without the heat records of 2017, allowing for even development in the vineyards.

© Consorzio Brunello

In mid-August, of all times, when many winegrowers were on holiday around Ferragosto, the rain returned. Under the warm and humid weather, the fungal pressure increased tremendously and required quick and efficient, sometimes rigorous action. Some vineyards suffered considerable losses. The rain continued until mid-September. Those who lost their nerve or had no other choice and harvested during this period ran the risk of getting watered-down wines that lacked the necessary structure and substance for first-class Brunello.

The situation was different for the wines of those wineries that could afford to wait until the end of September or even October. The late summer with sunshine, a constant breeze and cool nights compensated for the nerve-racking time before and made some grandiose results possible.

The qualitative range of the vintage clearly reflects the situation. At the lower end, there are predominantly soft and accessible, but sometimes also lean and brittle wines that lack the necessary substance and complexity for higher consecrations; in individual cases, we were even confronted with certain impurities even in highly traded wines. The broad midfield consists of predominantly already early accessible and yet well-structured wines, which in their best form combine certain depth and complexity with charm and elegance. They are a welcome change from the often bulky to powerful wines of the three previous vintages. One hears more often at present about the special storability of these 18s, but we are quite sure that the majority of the wines can already be drunk with great pleasure in five years and taste rather better than in ten or even fifteen years.

© Consorzio Brunello

At the top of the vintage are profound, concentrated and multi-layered wines with beguiling juice, elegance and the finest spice, which sometimes already give an incredible, almost hedonistic pleasure and yet also have some time to develop. They belong to the essence of what we imagine as good Brunello di Montalcino.

The picture of the '17 Riserve and Prestige wines is not entirely uniform either, only for different reasons. The extremely dry year not infrequently produced wines with a lot of alcohol and very present tannins that often dry out a little. Some of the nominal top wines lack the necessary juiciness to embed alcohol and tannins. With some of them, therefore, we have little hope that their certain brittleness will wear off with further maturity. So the base wines are sometimes - though by no means always - the better choice.

We have currently tasted around 120 Brunello di Montalcino, the majority from the 2018 vintage. We present the best wines here. As always, you will find links to all the results, the wine descriptions and the producers at the end of the lists.

Brunello di Montalcino Brunello di Montalcino 2018

Brunello di Montalcino Brunello di Montalcino 2017