Brunello 2012 was recently proclaimed a ‘Rockstar vintage’ by James Suckling. It is the spiritual successor to the already-legendary 2010s, whose prices have rocketed since release, often doubling in the higher-scoring wines. Both 2010 and 2012 received the coveted 5* star rating from the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, an accolade awarded to just seven vintages since 1990. This promises great things for the region, given how the 2010s have flourished. This vintage for Brunello is especially promising for its incredible value given their power, intensity and ability to age with supreme grace. As other critics have not yet reported on the vintage, we have positioned ourselves before the expected surge in popularity in order to find some low-priced gems such as the La Magia.
Suckling has raved that “The palates are rich and dense” in 2012 “with an underlying crispness and linear thread from start to finish.” La Magia displays the vintage character with elegance. At an impressive 96 points and just £150 per 6×75 in bond, La Magia holds some of the best value we have seen in this campaign. This is their highest-scoring offering to date by some margin and we are delighted to be able to offer it 12% below the next cheapest physical vintage, as demonstrated in the table below.
Fattoria La Magia is a small Estate, producing just over 2,000 cases of their Brunello in 2012. They remain relatively undiscovered with very limited availability across Europe. While the 2012 out-ranks even their 2010, this fledgling reputation has kept the release price down. At a staggering 19 POP score (Price-Over-Points), the 2012 stands head and shoulders above any of its previous vintages, not to mention its better known-peers in Brunello. We consider anything POP score under 30 a must-buy, so we are very enthusiastic about La Magia.
The Estate consists of 52 hectares and its crown jewel is a 15-hectare parcel of Sangiovese. Around 400-450 metres above sea level and facing south-east, the sandy soil contains a good portion of lime and clay which aids water retention, while the volcanic influence contributes a wonderful minerality. Vinified in a combination of steel tanks and large oak casks with 30 days maceration on skins, the wine is aged for three years in large 500-litre French oak barriques. This slow fermentation and maturation builds an incredible depth of character and intensity that has come to define their wines.
History of the Estate
The Estate was founded in the early 1970s by Harald Schwartz from the Alto Adige, who was bewitched by the area’s stunning beauty, situated on the slopes of the extinct volcano, Monte Amiata above the Romanesque abbey Sant’Antimo in the Val d’Orcia. In 2011, Harald passed the baton to his son Fabian, who studied at the Istuto Agrario San Michele all’Adige, the most prestigious oeneological college in Italy.
Although the Estate seems to be named after the Italian word for ‘Magic’ – which is rather appropriate – the property’s title is actually more humble. Situated on an ancient Roman road dating back to the Etruscan era, it likely stems from the Tuscan dialect term “Magione”, a resting place for wayfarers and pilgrims, evolved from the French “Maison”. Today they continue this reputation of serving the community with full biodynamic certification, running entirely on renewable power from photo-voltaic solar cells since 2008, and commissioning contemporary artists to design their labels with each new vintage since 1982.
La Magia is a hidden jewel in Brunello di Montalcino and the 2012 release is one of the best value reds you will see this year.
La Magia Brunello di Montalcino 2012, 6×75, £150 IB – 96 Points, James Suckling
Incredible purity of fruit to this red with plums, cherries and berries. Full body, ripe and silky tannins and a fantastically long finish. Love the bitter-orange undertone to this. Drink in 2020.
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