The 2015 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino is quite simply one which approaches an unprecedented level of perfection for this iconic appellation, both in the textbook growing season as well as the flawlessly crafted wines.

There is an extraordinary quality of concentrated fruit, precise varietal characteristics, and a stunning level of balance almost entirely across the board. The critical acclaim so far has been unanimously exuberant with James Suckling having been the first to publish his thoughts on this “fairytale vintage” which he considers “a historical year for Brunello di Montalcino that nobody should miss,” entering it into the sanctified league with the appellation’s greatest ever; 1997, 2006, 2007 and most recently, 2010. The Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner was the next to follow suit with her praise of the “picture-perfect 2015 vintage” and its wines which she feels have “consistently high quality delivered across the board.” In short, if you have long been a fan of the extraordinary wines of the Brunello di Montalcino region, 2015 is an essential vintage to stock up on in volume for any and every producer of note. Conversely if this is a region that is still relatively new to you, there is simply no better time to acquaint yourself with these fantastically rewarding wines, which offers some of the best value buys of any fine wine region in the world at virtually any price point.

THE GROWING SEASON

While the most significant aspect of the 2015 growing season was certainly the persistent heat and sunshine which graced the summer months and ripened the grapes to perfection, of equal importance are the other notable factors of the season which provided the crucial levels of balance, freshness and complexity. The rainy winter and spring helped to build the necessary reserves of water to keep the vines from shutting down in the hot and dry summer. Veraison (or the moment when the grapes stop growing and instead begin to ripen on the vines) occurred particularly early, allowing an extended amount of hang time for the grapes to develop wonderfully ripe and fine-grained tannins as well as remarkable levels of complex flavours and aromas. Although the summer days were intensely hot, the evenings were sufficiently cool enough to allow the acidity and freshness to build, and the dry autumn that led into the harvest allowed producer’s ample choice of when to begin picking once peak phenolic ripeness had been achieved.

THE WINES

The 2015 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino is one that has been well marked by the sunshine of the vintage, and there is no over-looking its impact in the vividly rich colour and intensely concentrated fruit and aromatics. However, what pushes this vintage from simply being excellent and instead being one of its best ever is the incredible consistency and versatility found in nearly every wine produced. As Larner noted, “these wines are united by the energy, exuberance and radiance” as well as having “softly textured, abundant and accessible characteristics that make them beautiful to drink straight out of the gate or […] into your cellar for safekeeping.” In fact, it is this charm and accessibility that sets them apart even from the blockbuster 2010s, which were more austere in their youth requiring a certain amount of patience before they will be truly ready to enjoy. There is no such requirement with the 2015s, where the choice of when to pop the cork is truly yours to make.