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Brunello di Montalcino 2018: Awarding elegance

A mosaic of vines, forests, olive trees and winding gravel roads, in Montalcino there’s no such thing as monoculture. But there is one hero grape variety – Sangiovese, and its ability to interpret the land and vintage.

Winemakers in the region play a nourishing role in the variety’s development to become ‘Brunello’, the local name for the Sangiovese Grosso clone. ‘The magic of the job is seeing the work done during the season transformed during harvest,’ explains Alessandro Marini, winemaker at Tenuta Luce.

Winemaking decisions – from fermentation temperature and selection of yeast to size of oak and percentage new – form a part of the final product, but in Montalcino, vintage and Sangiovese’s expression of that year, within its terroir, is what forms the DNA of the finished wine.

Scroll down to see 15 top-scoring Brunello di Montalcino 2018s from DWWA 2023

A challenge for growers, 2018 was cool with rain persisting into June and August, followed by a mild September. ‘At first, I was complaining because I didn’t like the vintage,’ explains San Felice winemaker Leonardo Bellaccini, awarded a Bronze for his Campogiovanni 2018. ‘But in the end I was so pleased. 2018 is the story of the black swan.’

The fresh vintage has created ‘wines which are more feminine and delicate, offering verticality and immediacy that we sometimes don’t have’ says Marini. ‘It’s more on the elegant side than I’m used to for the area, and showing very well now,’ adds Bellaccini, who is currently completing his 40th vintage in Tuscany.

Deemed ‘elegant’ by its winemakers and the Decanter World Wine Awards judges alike, this testing vintage has, at its best, delivered wines of considered and welcoming charm, without the burden of excessive ripeness and sense of fierce structure which sometimes characterised the 2017s.

Below, discover a selection of top-scoring Brunello di Montalcino 2018s, with more to try at awards.decanter.com

Brunello di Montalcino 2018: Awarding elegance

Mastrojanni, Vigna Loreto 2018

Best in Show, 97 points 
POA £ Petersham Cellar
Warm, welcoming scents around a core of ripe plum. The palate is deep, with the plum transmuting into the mellower but less precise fruits of maturity; tannins prominent but well- rounded, and the acidity more buoyant than you might expect from the aromas. Excellent mid-term Brunello. Alcohol 14.5%

Collemattoni 2018

Platinum, 97 points 
POA £ Lea & Sandeman
Haunting notes of black cherry and plum bathed in a smoky, vanilla toast core and complemented by a refreshing seam of acidity. Powdery tannins coat the mouth and persist through to the long, cigar-infuse finish. Alc 15%

Tenuta Luce 2018

Platinum, 97 points 
£92.50 (ib)-£155 Burnett & Herbert, Cru, Maisons Marques et Domaines, Richard Kihl
Delightfully pure damson, cranberry and baked redcurrant fruit which glimmers its way along the palate and infuses nicely with the earthy tannins and warming mocha character. Crisp and lifted towards the end with a bright finish. Alc 15%

Banfi, Vigna Marrucheto 2018

Gold, 96 points 
£84.99 Bon Coeur US$120 Stirling Fine Wines, Winedeals, Zachys
Beguiling black cherry, plum and strawberry fruit suffused with smoky charred oak and almonds with a bracing acidity, ample tannins and a mesmerisingly long finish. Alc 15%

Capanna, Nicco 2018

Gold, 96 points 
Charismatic aromas of dark forest cherry and leafy earth with a wondrous display of enigmatic oak, which enriches and enfolds beautifully and will enable long ageing. Alc 14.5%

Castiglion del Bosco, Campo del Drago 2018

Gold, 96 points 
Powerful black cherry, red berry and earthy floral notes with a succulent underbelly of plum sauce and cola spice. Incredibly youthful and fervent with fine-grained tannins and a salty finish. Alc 14.5%

Val di Suga, Poggio al Granchio 2018

Gold, 96 points 
£61-£70 Amathus Drinks, VinumTerra US$129 Wilson Daniels
Myriad crushed flowers, spiced damson and bramble fruit with a contrasting meaty pancetta note, a surge of earthy tannins and a bitter coffee finish. Alc 14.5%

Banfi, Poggio alle Mura 2018

Gold, 95 points
£54-£88 Hedonism, Majestic, Ocado
A smouldering complexity of dark cherry fruit and aromatic violet florals with a weight of grippy tannins and ample structure, suited for long ageing. Fabulous. Alc 15%

Padelletti 2018

Gold, 95 points 
POA Lea & Sandeman
Stylish rose petal, black cherry and baking spice with a sleek tar note and a drive of youthful and embellishing oak on the firmly structured palate. Alc 14.5%

Pietranera 2018

Gold, 95 points 
US$45-$53 Empire Wine, Gary’s, Sparrow Wine & Liquor, Van Wyck
Heightened ripe red cherry and plum notes on the nose with abundant youthful oak and a smattering of black tar. Densely concentrated wine showing immaculate tannins and a lipsmacking finish. Alc 14.5%

Musico 2018

Silver, 94 points 
Classic, Old World style showing evolved notes of forest floor, game and leather. Long on the finish and well structured for ageing. Alc 14%

Ridolfi 2018

Silver, 94 points 
£40.83 (ib) Corney & Barrow US$45 Saratoga Wine Exchange
Attractive floral aromas supporting red cherry and spice. Moderate concentration with an elegant touch of roasted coffee. Alc 14%

La Togata, Notte di Note 2018

Silver, 93 points 
Floral and fresh fruit on the nose with some cedar wood notes. Grippy tannins and some cocoa notes on the finish. Alc 14.5%

Lisini 2018

Silver, 93 points 
£37.50-£48.17 (ib) Bowes Wine, Crop & Vine, Cru
Strawberry liquorice on the nose with herbal notes. Juicy and refreshing palate, modern in style but promising years ahead. Alc 14%

Tenute Donna Olga, Le Cacce 2018

Silver, 93 points
US$39 Wines from Italy
Black cherry and baked fruit on the nose, drying Earl Grey tannins on the palate with crisp acidity and good length. Alc 14%

Search all DWWA 2023 results

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