The Magical Brunello 2016 Vintage
We’ve been hearing whispering for the last two years of how great the 2016 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino is. Now that it is released, we know it is a classic vintage that lives up to and often exceeds expectations. 2010 is the vintage that usually is on wine lovers' lips when talking about Brunello, but moving forward 2016 will be talking about with the same degree of infatuation.
After a successful 2015 vintage which the likes of James Suckling hailed to be a “fairy-tale vintage”, 2016 followed suit upping the ante to be the best vintage since 2010, with many believing it matches the legendary vintage, if not surpassing it in quality and flair.
The growing conditions in 2016 were perfect with many vignerons making their best wines ever. A cool spring with even rainfall throughout was followed by a uniformly hot and dry summer that allowed for the grapes to grow well balanced. In contrast to 2012 and 2013 which were great vintages and can be drunk young, 2016’s are more muscular and vibrant needing further time in bottle before being drunk. Montalcino can have diverse differences between North and South, but across the board all of the wines from the region are excellent.
Eric Guido of Vinous highlights that the 2016’s certainly live up to expectations describing the wines as “dark yet radiant, expressive, nearly explosive at times, yet pure, poised and structured”. Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate highlights that the 2016’s are “expressed more amply in terms of linearity, complexity and depth” than the 2010s and going as far as calling these “career-defining wines” for both producers and the region as a whole.
A summary of what the critics are saying about the Brunello 2016 vintage:
- “Do the 2016s live up to our expectations? Oh, yes; they certainly do.” Eric Guido, Vinous
- “If I had to think of one way to universally describe the majority of wines from the 2016 vintage, I would offer that they are like a well-muscled black stallion in its prime. They are dark yet radiant, expressive, nearly explosive at times, yet pure, poised and structured. These are wines that capture your imagination; and no matter how youthfully tense they are today, you simply can’t help but revisit a glass over and over again; because in many cases, the aromatics alone are intoxicating. I frankly cannot remember the last time I tasted young wines from Montalcino that possessed such symmetry from start to finish. The best part is that this success was widely spread throughout the region; and while there was a mix of the bad, the good and the otherworldly, finding a solidly performing bottle of 2016 Brunello di Montalcino won’t be difficult for any consumer.” Eric Guido, Vinous
- “Very few of us in the press and trade have tasted through the range of new wines, yet there is a visceral awareness and intuitive expectation of great things to come: Brunello from 2016 and Brunello Riserva from 2015 are poised for long-term success, they will undoubtedly be remembered as important highlights on a long timeline of vintages. These are career-defining wines for many estates and for the appellation as a whole.” Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
- “I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that the 2016s are better than the 2010s. That was another iconic vintage that enjoyed similar pre-release excitement. At this stage, I’d put the two vintages on similar standing, with 2010 defined by the sheer purity of the fruit and 2016 expressed more amply in terms of linearity, complexity and depth. Both vintages are engineered for safekeeping under lock and key in your cellar.” Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
We are certain that buying nearly any Brunello 2016 won’t disappoint in the years to come and recommend that a handful of cases should be added to any cellar. With a wide array of producers available, one of our favourite Brunello producers from 2016 is Il Poggione who’s wine is truly world-class scoring 97-points, but comes at a price that all fine wine lovers can afford. Our full details on Il Poggione can be found here.
If you are looking for a specific producer that we are not listing, then please do be in touch and we will help source a case for you. We are reachable on firstname.lastname@example.org