Altesino Brunello

~ These old bottles of Altesino fared just slightly worse than mine! ~

Tasting notes are blips in time. One impression of a wine that can be influenced by company, food and atmosphere.  But trends are important. Longevity, track record, consistency and reliability are important. Altesino marks time and

In the heart of southern Tuscany,  just 40 kilometers south of Siena, the landscape in and around Montalcino has remained largely unchanged for decades.  With roots dating to the 15th century, Altesino has stood as a sentinel of Montalcino since the Tricheri family founded the estate.

During that time, Altesino has pioneered much.  They were the first winery in Montalcino to employ barriques in their winemaking.  They were the first winery to bottle a grappa.  Additionally, their Cru Montosoli was the first wine to spotlight a specific vineyard.

Altesino wine cellar

~ The new section of Altesino’s barricaia. Part of the estate’s cellars lie under the 15th Century Palazzo Altesi. However, carved into the hillside behind the winery is a new, naturally cooled cellar ~

Like many producers, Altesino owns vineyards throughout the Brunello zone.  This “spread” allows them to manage the vagaries of each vintage carefully.  Exposure, soils and elevation vary across their six vineyard parcels which total approximately 50 hectares.  As a result, the estate Brunello displays a trademark house style.  Furthermore, its this very consistency that is a hallmark of Altesino’s quality.

Altesino vineyard map

~ The area of Montalcino with Altesino’s vineyard plots denoted. All of the vineyards are planted exclusively to Sangiovese with the exception of the northernmost “Altesino” vineyard which includes Cabernet, Merlot and white varietals for the estate’s Vin Santo ~

It’s been about 18 months since I last tasted the subject of today’s article.  Here’s one of the last things I said about the wine then: “the 2015 boasts impressive aromatics and a long, sweet, ripe fruit finish.”   Ding! I look at this comment now and reflect on the recent tasting and think, spot on!

The 2015 Altesino Brunello is a deep ruby in the glass with violet reflections.  Almost without coaxing, the aromas rise from the glass effortlessly.  Crushed berries, hints of vanilla, fresh lavender and toasted spices mingle together attractively.  On the palate, the wine is seamless, silky, elegant and racy.  The masculinity of the vintage seems deftly tamed.  Ripe flavors of crushed cherry, Christmas cake spices and tobacco leaf are concentrated from beginning to end.  Long, juicy finish.  I loved this then.  I love it now.  Under $50, this is also a rather nice value considering you can cellar it for a decade if you like.   95 points.  Find this wine.

Altesino Brunello

~ The 2015 is drinking beautifully right now (still) even if the label on this specific bottle was rather abused ~

Stay tuned for my review of the 2016 which will be forthcoming in my current vintage coverage.   Salute!

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