Berry Bros – Highly Recommended for Your Cellar Plan: 2016 Brunello di Montalcino, La Serena
Following the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino offer that you may have seen this morning, as a valued Cellar Plan member I wanted to make a personal recommendation, to ensure you don’t miss out on this outstanding vintage.
The 2016 vintage in Brunello is a historic one, offering near perfect growing conditions and some of the best wines in memory from the region.
“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…..I frankly cannot remember the last time I tasted young wines from Montalcino that possessed such symmetry from start to finish.”
Eric Guido, Vinous
It is clear to all who have been lucky enough to taste the wines from 2016, that this is a vintage that deserves a place in the cellars of all wine lovers. Please do let me know if you’d like a case or two.
Local lad Andrea Mantengoli and his family have been farming Cantina La Serena since 1988. The seven-hectare property sits close to neighbours Cerbaiona on the north-eastern shoulder of Montalcino, blessed with atypically white tuffo limestone soils. Proudly organic, Andrea sees his estate as a complete farm: he takes pride in the health of his spelt, grain, olives, honeybees and vineyards. They all benefit from each other’s ecosystem and biodiversity – as does the quality of his grapes and wines. The 2016 vintage suited his organic approach: he only had to use minor biological treatments throughout the growing cycle. His naturally low-yielding vines arrived at harvest with perfect berry weight, potential alcohol, acidity, phenolic ripeness and complex aromatic compounds. Due to the scarce rainfall prior to harvest, the vineyards were healthier, with a greater presence of natural yeasts – which aided spontaneous fermentations.
The tuffo soils give the wines a mineral poise which is rarely found in Montalcino. In weaker years, this gives the wines power; in ’16, these traits are intense and exhilarating. He nurtures his vines the smartest way possible, yielding a transparent vista of his beloved farm and great terroir. Andrea pairs the organic approach with some modern practices. He uses gravity-fed tanks and steel as well as both large Slavonian barrels and smaller French barriques for ageing. This yields a compelling expression of Sangiovese – first and foremost terroir-driven, but with a contemporary shine. Like Andrea himself, his Brunello is full of energy and is fiercely Tuscan.
2016 Brunello di Montalcino, La Serena
£180 per case of 6 bottles in bond
“Lovely ripeness on the nose, spicy, herby, red cherry fruit, hint of beef blood. Serious and savoury on the palate, spicy red and black cherry fruit, with lovely crisp acidity and fine and ripe, yet quite grippy tannins. A lovely wine, but this will need some time. Drink 2024-2040.”
Chris Pollington, Private Account Manager
“Natural fermentation in steel is followed by 30 months in mixed wooden barrels of 20-40 hectolitres – akin to traditional Brunello or top Barolo producers. This is a complete Brunello, exaggerated by the perfect vintage; it’s ripe and shiny with charming power. The palate is full, with plum-soaked richness, zesty cranberry flashes, firm velvet tannins and electric mineral grip. Drink 2024-2040.”
Davy Zyw, Italy Buyer
“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is a pretty and sweetly spiced effort that places purity and balanced ripeness above all else. Dusty cherry and flowery perfumes are complemented by notes of cinnamon, cedar and a grounding hint of undergrowth. It’s silky yet lifted, seeming even juicy at times, while ushering in red fruits laced with candied citrus. Mint leaf and hints of tobacco linger through the youthfully tannic finale, along with a subtle hint of heat. The 2016 comes across as front-loaded and ready to please, but it needs a few years in the cellar to come fully into focus. Drink 2022-2030.”
90/100 points – Eric Guido, Vinous, November 2020
“Lovely depth of fruit to this young Brunello with tile and tar undertones, as well as bark. It’s full-bodied and layered with soft tannins. From organically grown grapes. Drink after 2022.”
94/100 points – James Suckling, November 2020