Brunello di Montalcino 2011
Following an all-time great vintage like 2010, winemakers in Montalcino faced a more challenging growing season in 2011. Despite the conditions, there were a number of estates who excelled in 2011, producing extremely well made wines.
Overall, the growing season started out with warmer than average winter temperatures, which led into cool early summer months with some warm days sprinked in. In late August heat increased dramatically, with a sudden spike, this vast change resulted in quick ripening and rapid increases in sugar levels, which forced many into earlier than normal harvests to prevent over ripening.
"2011 was a strange year, with a fresh and cool summer until the august 20th and then we had about 3 weeks of 35-40 °C , so the ripening was really fast and we started to harvest the Tenuta Nuova on the September 12th (10 days earlier than usual)". - Casanova di Neri
"2011 lead with a dry spring and a very hot summer with little rain. September was sunny and warm. The harvest was with little anticipation at last days of September." - Az. Agr. Lisini
As far as the quality of wines across the board, there doesn't seem to be a specific sub-area (North or South), which drastically excelled over the other. Although, some estates in the North, situated at higher altitudes, benefited with a bit of relief with cooler night time temperatures, which allowed them to maintain a higher level of acidity.
Luca Belingardi, winemaker at Poggio Villa Salvi stated "During the warm season we had the help of the altitude; we are situated up to 480 metres and this allowed for us to have cooler tempratures during the nights".Estates in the south were not quite as fortunate, they received the full-brunt of constant high temperatures during the day and night. That being said, the quality really depends on individual estates and winemakers and how they adapted to the swift temperature changes and managed their vineyards throughout the entire season.
As far as some individuals who thrived in 2011, Biondi-Santi and Poggio di Sotto certainly lived up to their reputation, making a beautiful, classic, age-worthy Brunello. While Casanova di Neri made gorgeous wines with remarkable depth and complexity. Il Poggione, Altesino, Lisini and Poggio Villa Salvi also made absolutely stunning wines which were among the very best in 2011.
"The wines, after a long aging in wood have achieved a perfect balance between a fine complex aromatic structure and an elegant and velvety tannic body". - Tenuta Vitanza
Generally speaking, 2011 is an above average vintage, with wines that will be accessible early on, as well as the potential for some to age up to a decade and even beyond.
Below are the wines from our latest tasting of 2011 Brunello di Montalcino.