An early tasting note for the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino by Fattoria dei Barbi winemaker and owner Stefano Cinelli Colombini:
The grapes were harvest during the first 10 days of October and they were healthy, with well evolved skins that weren’t too thick. The berries were extremely well balanced, flavorful and intensely aromatic. Fruit more than anything else. The seeds had hardened perfectly and were crunchy with a toasty flavor. The color of the wine is already very rich and intense despite the fact that the solids are still suspended in the wine (the solids are lighter in color and they diminish the perceived intensity of the color in the wine).
Malolactic fermentation hasn’t taken place yet and so the acidity is still high and there are still some vegetal notes in the wine but they will disappear obviously. There’s already a note of ripe black fruit and in the mouth, you can taste the ripe tannins of the skins and seeds along with overripe sweet California prunes. The glycerol level is so high that it leaves rings in the glass and it even gives you the impression that there is still sugar to be converted even though the lab analysis doesn’t show any. The wine is hot even though the alcohol isn’t as high in most great vintages.
You can taste the sweetness of perfectly ripe grapes and there are floral notes on the those, although they will disappear unfortunately with time. The intensity of the color and the richness of the glycerol are remarkable. It’s rare to see them at such levels in Brunello. But this remains an entirely classic wine: It may give us something more than Brunello usually does but it will still be Brunello.
Here are just a few numbers I will share at this point (since the wine is still very young). Total polyphenols: 3018 (mg/l gallic acid equivalent), anthocyanins 632, color intensity 14.229.
For a Sangiovese that was grown on mid-to-high level hills in Montalcino, these numbers are very, very interesting. But if they had to ask even Napoleon whether or not he would achieve true glory, we can only imagine what lies in store for the 2016 Brunello! It’s a truly great wine but we will see what happens. Please: In four years, let’s taste it again because enough is enough with the stars given to liquids that were just grape must only a short time ago. My dear friends, remember that we sell great wines that have evolved (not by chance) for four years in our cellars. It’s not as if we sell Brunello nouveau for two euros a bottle! Brunello becomes his majesty Brunello only after it has completed its aging and not when it’s only six months old.
Stefano Cinelli Colombini