The Lisini farm covers 154 hectares near Sant’Angelo in Colle in the southern part of Montalcino. Originally focused on grains and exceptional extra virgin olive oil production, once the popularity of Brunello di Montalcino began to take hold, the focus of the Lisini family became premium wine production. Today, the estate is dominated by the Sienese tower that serves as the winery and business offices and which dates to the early 1300s. The heart of the estate is 20 hectares of vineyards devoted to Sangiovese Grosso.
I enjoy Rosso di Montalcino, but in the past I’ve been somewhat critical of the wine as a general type. There are variables that effect the value imparted to the wine drinker and the producer you choose will greatly impact your level of satisfaction. What am I talking about? First, there’s the notion that these wines are “baby Brunello”. I abhor that term. If you go into the experience thinking that this is a scaled down Brunello, you will likely be let down. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is required aging limits, grape yields, younger vines and the fact that grapes destined for Rosso may not even be grown in the allowed Brunello zone. Secondly, some wineries don’t treat making an excellent Rosso as a primary goal. They simply produce Rosso from their residual grapes that were not high enough quality for their Brunello. Wineries need cash flow after all and this is a way to get it. Finally, price. Rossos vary greatly in price with some around $19 and many rising close to $30. At the higher end of the spectrum, I begin to balk hard. Today we’re looking at a wine that is made for all the right reasons. And it shows.
Before the 2015s were done fermenting, I had winemakers calling and emailing to tell me how excited they were about the vintage. They hate using terms like “vintage of the decade” etc. but they were already stating that it would prove to be better than the heralded 2010. That was high praise at the time and now as some of the 2015s are hitting the market, we’re getting the first glimpses of that prophecy.
The 2015 Lisini Rosso di Montalcino is a medium ruby colored wine with violet reflections in the core of the glass. We did not decant the wine. In the glass, the wine is highly aromatic. Pleasing aromas of fresh flowers, ripe berries, sandalwood, and tobacco notes are noticeable. Freshness is the key here. Juicy ripe wild berries, herbs and soft vanilla notes frame the core of flavors on the palate. Refreshing and lively, this medium bodied wine has enough tannic structure to cellar 2-4 years, but it is very attractive now. Lisini’s Rosso is aged in large barrels for 6 months prior to 6 additional month bottle aging. As I mentioned above, the value here should be personally determined as this Rosso can creep close to $27. Still, in a year with quality as high as this and the ability to cellar the wine for 2-4 years, I can accept the tariff. We paired the wine with chicken parmigiana and broccoli rabe with no complaints. 89 points. About $25. Find this wine.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be spotlighting more 2015 Rossos. Also, next month we’ll be attending and reporting on Benvenuto Brunello as we welcome the 2013 Brunello and the 2016 Rossos. So stay tuned!