Sangiovese * 75cl * 14.5% ABV * Tuscany, Italy
Renieri have a 128 hectare estate in the southern portion of Montalcino, yet only 30 hectares of this estate are planted with vineyards. Yields are carefully controlled here – averaging around one bottle per vine, roughly 1kg of grapes per vine – and much of the vineyard was replanted in 1998, to improve the overall vine health of the vineyard. Sangiovese is the mainstay grape of the estate (and the only variety allowed in Brunello di Montalcino), but typically for a high quality Tuscan estate, there is Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah planted too.
The winemaking takes place in an underground cellar, a necessarily wise choice for the scorching Montalcino summers, and is also gravity fed to ensure grapes remain gently handled after harvest. The wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks with pumping over during the ferment to extract colour from the skins, followed by a maceration on the skins for a further 3 to 4 weeks. This makes a big-boned style of Sangiovese, which isn’t known for either its ability to produce deep colours or for dramatically full-bodied wine: however, Renieri Brunello di Montalcino, like most Montalcinos, comes in at a healthy 14% alcohol.
The Brunello di Montalcino has a two-part ageing process: firstly, 24 months in small oak barriques, then a further 24 months in the enormous old oak botti casks. These are the traditional casks for ageing Brunello di Montalcino and add the more rounded, soft-yet-full style that’s typical of this style of Sangiovese.