~ The Salvioni family ~

It began with Umberto Salvioni who acquired a small parcel of land near Montalcino and began making wine so that he could serve it to his friends.  His son Giulio extended that notion of friendship and created the modern day La Cerbaiola winery in order to produce limited wines of absolute excellence.

Surrounded by forest, the 20 hectares of La Cerbaiola look out over the Val d’Orcia from an altitude of 420 meters just to the southeast of Montalcino.  Here the air is clear, a slight breeze rustles the leaves, and on the hillside opposite the outlines of Pienza, three small vineyards that comprise a total of 4 hectares labor to produce Sangiovese for Brunello.  All of the work in the vineyard is carried out by hand, with hard pruning to obtain low yields of fruit and careful selection during the manual harvest. Production is deliberately limited to no more than 10,000 bottles per year when Brunello is made.

~ The La Cerbaiola estate is non descript. If you’re not careful, you can drive right past it ~

Following the grape harvest, fermentation and racking takes place in stainless steel tanks in the cellars located just beyond the vineyards, out in the country. Once malolactic fermentation is complete, the future wine is aged in 20 hectoliter oval Slavonian oak casks in the cellars beneath the family home.  According to Giulio Salvioni, “this is so we can watch the wine age in our sleep!”

~ Oval botte in the Salvioni Cellars ~

The 2012 Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino is a wine of stunning purity, elegance and power.  The flavor arc here continues to impress as this wine eclipsed its previous showing during my coverage of the 2012 vintage.   Bright violet on the palate with a deep ruby core, the wild red berry, pipe tobacco, fresh herb and crushed earth character leap from the glass of this dynamite wine.  On the palate, the wine is juicy and full bodied with lots of fresh flavors echoing fennel, cured meat, wild berry, tobacco and roasted nuts. Simply stunning.  Pure and long on the palate this finishes with substantial tannins but with such mouthwatering freshness that it’s hard to call them impeding. One of the wines of the vintage.  98 points.  About $95-$120.

~ Among the best Brunello consistently made but that quality and rarity comes at a price. Still, this is hard to resist. ~


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