Brunello di Montalcino 2011 surprising and feminine
4 stars vintage, the most anticipated and the quickest we’ve ever seen. The grapes were sound but with very few clusters that at Casato Prime Donne have been handled with the most gentleness.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wineries are the fist to have an all female staff. This is a project born in 1998 especially for the production of Brunello when Donatella tried to find a cellar master to take care of her wines when her parents gave her two wineries, to be renovated – Casato in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti. Finding a young cellar master proved to be quite difficult; there were though many young girls, with the same title who could find no winery prepared to give them the technical management. It is quite form this episode that the idée of an all female project begins with the scope of demonstrating women’s’ ability in wine. Now 17 years later and thanks also to global warming, that has given the vineyards in Montalcino a much superior quality potential than in the past, Casato Prime Donne has progressively distinguished itself for the production of a traditional Brunello of high quality and extreme elegance. Harmonic wines then and very satisfying right from the beginning and at the same time long lasting thanks to the slow and gradual ripening of the grapes. Today Brunello from Casato Prime Donne is exported to 34 countries and it’s appreciated by the most important international specialized press.
The harvest started soon and finished immediately as the clusters were small and few. After a rainy winter the spring came along quite cold and disturbed the flowering and the forming of the fruit. Humidity contrasts in fact the pollination and this reduces the production of grapes.
As in nearly all the recent vintages, the 2011 grape harvest took place sooner than usual: practically the vegetative cycle of the vine begins sooner and finishers sooner too. In 2011 this phenomenon was accelerated even more by the very hot days in July and August when the sun dried up the leaves that shade the grapes. A grape harvest with seaside temperatures which then meant the necessity to cool the grapes once picked with a maceration with dried ice and a very delicate vinification with little pumping of the cap and few pumping overs.
Type: dry red.
Production area: Tuscany, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne.
Vintage characteristics: very rainy winter, and cool spring. Torrid temperatures in July and August, even at night. The month of September has been the hottest in the last 150 years. Early colouring and picking of the grapes by 15 days compared to usual.
Grape type: 100% Sangiovese (Brunello)
Grape harvest: From September 15th to 20th . The grapes were carefully chosen and handpicked. The choosing in the vineyard and in the cellar meant that the dried grapes were discarded. The grapes were sound although they were quite small but there was a rigidity in the skin that made a pre-maceration necessary to make them more permeable.
Vinification: in truncated cone vats open on top in the outdoor fermentation area. The vinification lasted 10 to 18 days with the most always in contact with the skins and with the use of a plunger to soak them without the use of pumps.
Ageing: first year in 5-7 hl tonneaux . These small containers are made by small prestigious workshops, with oak from France cut following the natural wood line. Second and third year of the ageing continued in 30-40 hl in Allier and Slavonian oak.
Quantity produced: 17.000 bottles.
Colour: intense and ruby red, the richness of the wine is revealed in the slow way the wine rotates in the glass and the intensity of the colour in the centre.
Aroma: net, complex, fine with hints of red fruits and jams. The spicy component will increase in time, discreet and well intermingled with the oaky notes from the barrels.
Taste: harmonious, satisfying, full, very pleasant at the beginning and very long lasting in the mouth and sapid.
Matching dishes: important meat dishes and aged cheeses.
Way of serving: Room temperature (18°C). Use balloon shaped crystal wine goblets. Open at least one hour before serving.
Home ageing: 20-25 years and more. Keep the bottles lying down in a dark and cool place. Have the corks changed in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s winery, where the procedure is certified, 20 years after bottling.