When I arrived at Montalcino’s ‘Benvenuto Brunello’ tastings of the new releases, I was not expecting to taste many Riserva. Sabina Sassetti at Pertimali echoed many of her peers’ reasonings: ‘We only produce Riserva in the best vintages, which generally correspond with those that the consortium awards five stars’ – 2017 was granted four stars.
While the torrid, dry vintage did yield concentrated wines with substantial structure, fully mature flavours and dry tannins did not bode well for lengthy cellaring. ‘2017 isn’t a vintage for ageing; instead, it is for drinking soon,’ concurred Bernardino Sani at Argiano. The focus for many estates was on making the best possible annata Brunello.
Scroll down to see all 17 recommended Riserva and late-release Brunellos
So, it was to my surprise that a generous set of Riserva were on display – 35 in total – yet after tasting through them all, I can honestly say that only a small handful truly distinguished themselves.