In it for the Long Game

Brunello di Montalcino may be one of the highest regarded wines from Italy, but before you open that bottle, you may want to consider waiting a few years. 

While the bottle you just bought might be lovely now, it might be even better in a few years if given a longer period to age. According to the Montalcino region’s DOCG regulations, Brunello di Montalcino must be aged for five years prior to being brought to the market. A “young” bottle of Brunello will be at least five years old by the time it gets into your hands, but the tannins and acidity may still dominate the wine’s profile. A younger wine will have bright red fruit flavors like cranberry, cherry and raspberry, with some hints of more develop notes like vanilla and licorice.   

Brunello is the ONLY Tuscan wine that’s not a blend. It’s 100% made up of a special clone of Sangiovese called Sangiovese Grosso, which is truly the best of the varietal. Carpineto’s 2015 Brunello di Montalcino is a great example of a wine that could be enjoyed now, but will be even better in a few years. This wine spends three years in oak barrels, followed by a bottle finishing period of at least six months. Although you can certainly enjoy this now, I’d recommend grabbing a few bottles of this one and storing them in your cellar. 

2015 was a fantastic vintage for Brunello, making this the perfect bottle to hold onto. As this wine ages, the color of it will go from an intense ruby red, to picking up more garnet hues with time. The wine will develop more tertiary notes like toasted hazelnut, espresso, dried fig and candied cherry, and the tannins will become more velvety and smooth. 

Whether you’re opening a young Brunello di Montalcino now, or opening one that’s 10-15 years old, it’s important to let the wine breathe for plenty of time prior to serving it. Giving some breathing time for at least a few hours will allow proper aeration and development of its full flavor profile.

No matter what way you swing it, this is a wine worth waiting for.