Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – The Best of Old World and New
In the heart of southern Tuscany, forty kilometers south of the City of Siena, far from heavy traffic routes and the main industrial areas, the landscape of Montalcino has remained unchanged and mostly wild. The area is legally protected from over-development and property speculation leaving the historical charm and magical appeal of the area unchanged. In 2004, UNESCO declared this unique cultural environment a World Heritage Site.
In the eastern hills of Montalcino sits the elegant 14th century-built Palazzo Altesi, home to the Altesino winery. Though the weight of history of Brunello has encouraged conservatism among some Montalcino wine producers, Altesino has always been a leader, unafraid of innovation. The estate pioneered the practice of aging in small French oak barrels, which combined with other methods results in a wine that is neither wholly New World nor Old. Altesino became the first Montalcino estate to introduce the concept of cru wines, made with a special selection of grapes from a single vineyard. Its Montosoli Brunello, named after the prestigious vineyard, was the first of these wines and is still considered among the region’s finest. (Altesino was also the first to offer Brunello futures, wine purchased before its release, with its 1985 vintage.) The resulting wine was a marked improvement over those produced by traditional methods, with softened tannins and better balance.
Made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso, a superior clone of the varietal, and hand-harvested from the Altesino, Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Macina, and Pianezzine vineyards, the Brunello di Montalcino 2015 is an example of the finesse and elegance inherent to Montalcino's best vineyard sites. In the glass it is ruby-red which will become garnet with age. The bouquet has aromas of violet, wild berries, tobacco, chocolate, and vanilla. On the palate it is medium-bodied, complex with moderate acidity and tannins, and velvety. The wine is just entering its drinking window and will age well for the next 15 years. The 2015 vintage in Tuscany was outstanding, btw, and we will be getting as much as we can. Altesino has established itself as one of the best producers of Brunello and is another example of a top producer from a top region developing a style that successfully straddles old and new world.
Wine Advocate, 95 pts. - "The Altesino 2015 Brunello di Montalcino shows beautiful depth and latitude, with broad fruit aromas of dark cherry and cassis that recall the warmth and golden sunlight of the vintage. The wine is deceivingly streamlined in terms of mouthfeel, but that slim and buttoned-down backbone supports a broad range of flavors and sensations, from lavender essence and camphor ash to moist soil and toasted spice. All of these elements are delivered with impressive harmony and unity, and I expect that this wine will continue on a slow, steady and satisfying aging trajectory over the next 10 years or more. Fruit is sourced from across 21 hectares of vines with tufaceous limestone soils and Alberese rock, which contributes to the freshness and balanced structure of the wine. The wine was bottled in June 2019 (with 150,000 bottles made), and this wine was released in January 2020." 1/20
James Suckling, 95 pts. - "Terracotta, earth, iron filings, cedar and leather make for an undergrowth-driven Brunello 2015, which doesn't fall short in the fruit department either, where there are red plums and red cherries. The tannins are neatly stacked, one on top of the other, with tidy acidity drawing in vibrant fruit and keeping it taut throughout. Balanced and stylish. Drink in 2023."