~ The winery of Sasso di Sole ~

“Respect for the land is the only way to obtain a great wine.”

For generations, the Terzuoli family has farmed their 10 hectares of vineyards in the north east corner of the Brunello zone near Torrenieri.  Located within the Val d’Orcia park and part of the Unesco World Heritage system, the estate is divided into seven distinct vineyard parcels.   The plots lie between 280-302 meters above sea level and enjoy optimal southerly exposure and the rocky sloped hillsides allow for excellent drainage.  Soils are peppered with shale, rocks and minerals which date to the pliocene age.

~ The vineyards of Sasso di Sole rise over sloping hillsides ~

Current proprietor Roberto Terzuoli is meticulous at every stage of his craft.  From repeated green harvesting to vigorous final selection, the family is committed to producing wonderful wines at various price points.  After hand harvesting, the grapes find their way to the new barrel aging cellars where traditional methods are employed.  Rosso and Brunello are vinified in stainless steel and then aged in combination of 35 and 5o hectoliter Slavonian oak barrels.

I have written many times about the difficulties of the 2014 vintage in Italy so it was with some trepidation that I began tasting the newly released 2014 Brunello at Benvenuto last week.   In a few cases, which I’ll write about in the coming weeks, I was pleasantly surprised.  But in no case was I more impressed then while tasting the subject of today’s article.

~ Winemaker Roberto Terzuoli presented several wines last week. Here he is with his Brunello Riserva ~

The 2014 Sasso di Sole Brunello di Montalcino is an absolutely wonderful wine.  I tasted it last week for the first time somewhere in the middle of the 64 wines I tasted that day.  It stood out.  At the end of the day, I caught up with Roberto and simply said: “I came back to taste your Brunello again because I think it’s one of the best wines here.”  He poured instantly. It still stood out.  Then ever the gentlemen, he handed me a bottle:  “this is for you and your family”.    I don’t advocate holding 2014 Brunello and as good as this is, I won’t back off that, so at the first sign of an appropriate dinner I popped the gracious gift.

Medium ruby, with violet reflections, the wine is a healthy vibrant color.  Expressive on the nose, with little effort you can easily discern aromas of crushed berries, fresh flower petals, pipe tobacco, shaley mineral and sweet fennel seed.  On the palate, the wine is solidly medium bodied with ripe, juicy flavors of red berries, soft brown leaf tobacco and lingering spices.  Elegant and graceful, the wine is fresh and lively but still displays a moderate amount of structure that balances it all out.   Roberto mentioned that in his corner of Torrenieri they were simply not that affected by the rains which dominated the vintage.  He said “we had a little, but not like in other places.”   Indeed fortune smiled on the land of stones and sun and the Terzuoli’s made the most of it.  93 points, a wonderful effort and a great value around $31.  Drink now.  Find this wine.

~ A lovely Brunello that if served blind, would likely fool some people as to the vintage. Producer over vintage! ~


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