There’s a reason the Montosoli hill garners the reputation that it does. It’s a small parcel of land north of Montalcino that possesses optimal terroir for fine wine. The composition of the soil, which is a combination of marly limestone and Albarese, along with unique exposition and microclimate contribute to producing grapes of exceptional character. It was 1975 when Altesino first used the word Montosoli on their Brunello and bottled the Cru separately. Since then, the world has taken notice.
The Baricci family has been farming Montosoli for over 5 decades. What was started in 1964 by Nello Baricci has now been transitioned to the able hands of his grandsons, Francesco and Federico, who have taken over the brunt of the operations.
The Baricci farm is very small. Although comprised of six single vineyard plots, in aggregate, the estate includes only 5 hectares of vineyards and a small olive grove. Production is hands on and the south by southwest exposure of the vineyards typically allows for harvest during the last week of September. Nello is quick to point out that given the overall warming climate, this is about 2 weeks sooner than it was decades ago. Care is taken at every step of the process. No herbicides are used and green manure techniques along with green harvesting are routinely employed to ensure that only the best grapes are used for the family’s wines. As Nello taught his grandchildren and repeatedly quips, ” good wine comes from great, wise and patient work in the vineyard, not just in the wine cellar. What you receive from the earth comes from all that you gave to the earth”. I won’t argue with that.
Today we’re reviewing a wine that we haven’t checked in on since I first tasted it back in 2014 at the Slow Wine – Vinitaly road show. The link to that article is noteworthy because it illustrates the severe change in color between that wine – which was likely sent from Italy for Slow Wine, and the wine in the picture below. I do not think the wine could have aged this rapidly in 3 years. Therefore, I suspect this bottle was somehow subjected to less than optimal conditions before I bought it.
I decanted the wine about 45 minutes prior to dinner, grilled flank steak with crusty bread, broccoli rabe and sautéed porcini. A heavy sediment was removed. The wine is a dark ruby that fades notably to brick and umber at the rim of the bowl. The smell of the wine is now highly reductive, with balsamic notes, chestnut, and worn leather surrounding a warm, brandy like core of cherry fruit. The nose is too dominated by that balsam note. It detracts noticeably in my opinion. On the palate, the wine is filled with warm cherry notes, hints of bourbon, and mushroom. The tannins have fully resolved and the palate feel is smooth, rich and elegant in a rustic sense. This is hard to judge because I do think it’s been “abused” a bit somewhere down the line. I have 1 more bottle left that I’ll drink sooner rather than later because I’m not convinced that this simply isn’t aging well. It’s good, but it’s no longer where it was. 90 points. About $45 upon release.
Buon fine settimana!
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