Since the 2010 vintage in Brunello di Montalcino, it seems all new vintages are measured against it; 2011 did not hold a candle to it, 2012s were good, ripe, but overall less complex. The 2013 vintage presents something different, it has been described by some as a natural successor to 2010. Ian d’Agata of Vinous Media says ‘it is undoubtedly one of the better years for Brunello in some time – along with 2010, 2001, 2006 and 2004 in that order… The 2013 Brunellos are far better balanced than the overrated 2011s, and they are deeper and more penetrating than the 2012s.’ The Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino have awarded it four stars, just behind the aforementioned vintage. The 2013 vintage is one of elegance, combining and improving on riper styles, by adding freshness and harmony. It is a very fine vintage, although not quite 2010 in our opinion, the 2015 vintage will carry that banner. With the 2014 vintage following, the 2013 is the natural straddle between 2010 and 2015, a vintage to stock up on, very impressive and extremely appealing.
As always, we start our Brunelo di Montalcino coverage with one of the finest: Cerbaiona di Diego Molinari Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Cerbaiona). This is a perennial strong buy in any vintage, a towering superstar in Brunello and as always, a sell-out wine. We released the 2012 last year and it has already risen 20% to £600, such is the demand and lack of supply. Cerbaiona is one of the finest expressions of Sangiovese and is one of Italy’s most collectible wines. It is rarer than hen’s teeth; this boutique Estate only make 350 cases of Cerbaiona each vintage. As such, it is hard to source with age and offers vintage premium. It is becoming considered the Rousseau or Le Pin of Brunello and prices continue to rise.
Over the last two years it has entered a new slip stream, with the average case price of the last 10 years rising 25%. The 2010, for example, received 100 points from Antonio Galloni and 98 points from Monica Larner and it has already more than tripled in price to £1,650 per case of six. The lower scoring 2003 trades at £900, furthermore, the 96 point scoring 2001 has already reached £1,350 per case of six, so buying early pays off. We are delighted to release the 2013 today for £650 per case of six. This a brilliant proposition as always and although yet scored by any major critic, we can expect it to match and push the envelope of quality seen from the 2006 and 2004:
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Cerbaiona is a manor house, which dates back to the 17th century, a stunning location with a small private chapel and renaissance garden, sited on a high embankment. The small Estate, Cerbaiona, lies on the north-eastern shoulder of Montalcino commune, benefiting from a 400 metre elevation, incredible exposure and the magical galestro/alberese clay soils. The site is famous, as are the towering Maremma cypress tress, which remains a landmark in Montalcino. In fact, Cerbiona’s terroir has been well known for centuries, long before Brunello di Montalicino became a great appellation, the Estate defining this corner of the village.
The Estate entered a new era in 1977 when it was purchased by Diego Molinari, a former pilot. Diego focuses his attention relentlessly on the 3 hectares of vines, he does not use pesticides or fungicides. In many respects he is the garagiste of the Montalcino: in 1980 he produced only 70 cases, this figure has only increased fivefold since. All this goes a long way to explaining why this is truly special and hugely sought after. In 2015, Diego, aged 84 sold Cerbaiona to a group of investors led by Gary Rieschel, an American winecollector, and Matthew Fioretti, the Estate’s new manager who runs all aspects of Cerbaiona.
Cerbaiona is entering a new era of excellence and global renown, a wine of harmony, complexity, combined with intense power. It speaks of terroir, where its natural gifts shine through to winemaking, which once again, like most truly great wines is minimalistic. The tiny harvest is picked by hand, the grapes are moved to a vintage wood press, before fermentation in cement tanks. It then spends four years in cask and at least six month in bottle. Its majesty is due to the 3-ha vineyard, which is adorned with love and nature’s gifts. It is a giant in Brunello di Montalcino, yet with so little to go around, likely to follow its upward price trajectory.