Brunello di Montalcino 2010 is being heralded as the greatest Brunello vintage ever and demand has been feverish this month; James Suckling comments, ‘the market is apparently on fire. Wine lovers are rejoicing in the incredible high quality of the vintage, and rightly so. The 2010 vintage is a new benchmark for Tuscany’s iconic wine, producing reds with wonderful intensity, structure, and energy. The wines are so balanced and ripe they can be enjoyed now, with incredible richness and depth on the palate. Vintages like this come along once or twice a lifetime and collectors should focus on these superbly priced, critically acclaimed wines. As Suckling concludes, ‘The 2010 vintage made great wines. There is no doubt about it. This is why you have to buy some.’ To read our Brunello di Montalcino 2010 vintage report please click here.

Frescobaldi is one of the most important wine estates in Italy. Famed for their imperious Brunello di Montalcino, Castel Giocondo, they have expanded into Friuli and the Veneto. In 1995 they entered a joint venture with Robert Mondavi, producing wines of international notoriety such as Danzante, Luce Della Vite and Ornellaia. In 2004 they acquired Mondavi Constellation Brands and in 2005 they acquired 100% control of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. In 2010 they have used all of their knowledge and savoir faire to produce something remarkable, a 97 point scoring Brunello di Montalcino, one of the top wines of the greatest ever Brunello vintage.

The Frescobaldi family were one of the foremost banking families in Florence, which extended to great cloth work ‘Arti’. Their immense wealth and power allowed them to finance ventures for European royal families, including Edward I, as well as becoming receivers of customs in the UK and financing the Crusades. Their family also produced several literary figures, these include Dino Frescobaldi, the poet and Leonardo Frescobaldi the historian. They began producing wine of great esteem in 1308 and were able to boast an incredible client base. They traded their wine with the renaissance main Michelangelo and supplied wine to Henry VIII; there are surviving contracts in the family archive which are signed by the King. He certainly enjoyed a glass of wine, amongst other hedonistic pleasure and I am sure he would be thrilled by this vintage.

The village of Castelgiocondo from which the wine is eponymously named, overlooks the historic estate of the Frescobaldis in Montalcino. This was an ancient stronghold, built in 1100 to defend the road leading to Siena, it is well worth visiting for its history and splendour. The property was one of the first to produce Brunello di Montalcino in the 1800s and this history is celebrated on the label of Castel Giocondo by the fresco of candottiere, the Sienese by artist Simone Martini. The fresco depicts Guidoriccio da Fogliano, the commander of the Siena troops who led the attack on the Montemassi castle in 1323, this coincides with the Frescobaldi’s wine beginnings.

The estate is cited in the south west of Montalcino at the perfect altitude of 300 to 400 metres, with perfected soil drainage and sunny favourable south west exposure. The soil is rich in sand, with calcium presence, it remains PH Neutral. As in Bordeaux the best sites were secured by the pioneers of the age and the terroir here is ideal for wine-making. Castel Giocondo is the perfect expression of Brunello di Montalcino and results from severe selection, the grapes are sourced from the best parcels in the vineyard.  The wine is produced from an obdurate selection of 100% Sangiovese.

The first release price is exciting, at £165 per case of six bottles in bond or £27.50 a bottle, there is apparent vintage premium and such this offers a strong investment opportunity:

VintageJS ScorePrice (6s)POP


Castel Giocondo is highly acclaimed and the 2004 vintage was rated 15th best wine in the world by the Wine Spectator and in 1997 the 8th best. The 2010 could be the greatest ever vintage, James Suckling certainly affirms this with his score. The 2010 is so ripe it can be enjoyed now, yet develop and improve for more than two decades in bottle. One can expect layered aromas of blackberry, sour cherry, sweet violets and, sweet spices; black pepper and clove. It already displays tobacco leaf, roasted espresso bean and vanilla. The tannins are super ripe and it has a velvety mouth-feel, the balance is sublime. This is astonishing value for money and a wine to own – it will sell out very quickly indeed!

Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2010, 6×75 – £165 IB or £212.76 incl duty and VAT  

James Suckling – 97 Points
Aromas of warm stones, dark fruits and walnuts follow to a full body, soft tannins and a savory finish. This shows ripe fruit and salty undertones that give it a wonderful juiciness. It’s dense and tight now but will give so much pleasure in the future. Best ever from here. Drink or hold

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