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“Sublime Vineyards” & “Genius” Winemaking - A 96-Point Valdicava Brunello - 01/13/2018 - Italy

James Suckling recently wrote a profile on the Italian producer Valdicava, in which he extolled the many virtues of this legendary estate. Having garnered numerous 100-point ratings over the years, the reputation of Valdicava is well established. Despite this, Valdicava flew under the radar for many, but rightfully, interest in this Tuscan estate has been on an upward trajectory over the past several vintages. Given how well the 2012 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino is showing, we expect a similarly enthusiastic response. A perfect example of what the highest expression of Sangiovese should be, this miraculous 2012 perfectly strikes that ideal balance between modernity and old world traditionalism. Expressive, dynamic, and relentlessly persistent, is it captivating in every sense of the word. Given the increased demand for Valdicava’s wines and often $100-plus price tags, it is advisable to purchase on pre-arrival whenever possible, thus securing your desired quantities and best pricing. This 2012 has a very long future ahead, so you’ll want to pick up multiples to explore its evolution over the coming decades.

Also available from this historic Brunello vintage are the following in-stock selections:

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2012 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino (Pre-Arrival) 96 $79.99 View
2012 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino 92 $29.99 View
2012 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino 93 $29.99 View
2012 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino 93 $34.99 View
2012 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino 93 $34.99 View
2012 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino (Previously $50) 93 Price: Hidden View
2012 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 94 $39.99 View
2012 Abbadia Ardenga "Piaggia" Brunello di Montalcino 95 $39.99 View
2012 Armilla Brunello di Montalcino 95 $39.99 View
2012 Castello di Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino (Elsewhere $55) 94 Price: Hidden View
2012 Cortonesi Brunello di Montalcino 92 $44.99 View
2012 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 95 $44.99 View
2012 Cordella Brunello di Montalcino 95 Price: Hidden View
2012 Cortonesi "Poggiarelli" Brunello di Montalcino 95 Price: Hidden View


2012 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino (Pre-Arrival) ($79.99)

96 points James Suckling: "I like the ripe-fruit and smoked-meat aromas to this. Subtle and complex. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a long and chewy finish. Needs time to soften. Very structured for the vintage." (11/2016)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Valdicava represents its own school within the greater Brunello philosophy. This estate (under proprietor Vincenzo Abbruzzese) crafts contemporary and modern wines with noticeable density and ever-present aromatic intensity. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino reveals a dark and inky appearance with bright ruby highlights that break through the background darkness with brilliance. The nose is generous and robust with dark cherry fruit, plum, Indian spice, mocha and espresso bean. These elements are stitched together with seamless transitions. Despite that grand approach, Sangiovese's prickly and often nervous personality shines through nonetheless. The variety adds delicate berry nuances and bright acidity that give this wine profound depth. This is a very well-made wine that promises a long aging future. (ML)" (02/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator: "A rich, dense and muscular version, this reveals plum, black cherry, leather and tobacco notes, with a hint of chocolate on the finish. The assertive tannins need time, but already, with air, this is pulling together. (BS)" (04/2017)

2012 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99)

92 points James Suckling: "A fresh and silky-textured Brunello with light cedar, berry and chocolate character. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a hazelnut aftertaste." (12/2016)

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 28, 2018

Here is an easy to drink Brunello at a great price and perfect for tonight. This is plush and rounded with gentle depth to the flavors and aromas of ripe cherry fruit, wild flowers, damp soil and tar. The mineral laced finish is long, fruity and flavorful.

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 05, 2018

This is a wonderful Brunello that is drinking well now. It has nice bright red fruit flavors that are balanced out with mineral notes. It is dry with a nice balance to it. I tasted it with a number of other wines and the Baccinetti La Saporoia stood out in the crowd. Best with hearty foods.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 31, 2018

If you are looking for a great Brunello to start drinking while you continue to age those 10s, the 2012 Saporoia is showing really nicely. Flavors of ripe cola berry and plums, hints of violets, mint and black tea, with delicious savory umami and herbal notes. I love the richness and drinkability afforded by the riper style of Baccinetti and it should age quite nicely over the next few years.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

Since so many of our customers are regularly in search of value-priced Brunellos (and we are as well!) we wanted to make mention of Baccinetti's outstanding 2012. Since tasting it over a year ago, this wine is really showing beautifully. It opens with attractive scents of forest berries, dried florals and spice and offers captivating flavors of black cherries and red fruit with ripe tannins and mild acidity that bring it all together. It's a tremendous value Brunello that we highly recommend.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2018

This Brunello is coming from the user friendly vintage of 2012 this "puppy" is good to go or I should say drink. This is full-bodied wine with silky and soft caressing tannins and intense fruit (black cherries and plum) with hint of mineral flavors and was very well-crafted. I would give this a couple hours of decanting and serve with a winters hearty stew.

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2012 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99)

93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of plums and fresh thyme follow through to a medium to full body, chewy tannins and a lightly austere finish. Needs time to soften. Drink in 2020." (11/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Underbrush, leather, sun-baked soil and chopped herb aromas emerge from this structured red. Loaded with personality, the palate delivers juicy layers of ripe Morello cherry, crushed raspberry, baking spice and pipe tobacco flavors, framed by firm, chewy tannins. It's a full-bodied wine that will reward several more years of cellaring. Drink 20192032. *Cellar Selection* (KO)" (01/2017)

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 14, 2017

There is something charmingly special about Poggiarellino. Ive tasted these wines back to 1997 vintage and Ive always found these wines to be true Brunello, through and through. Theres the beautiful acid line, the cherry liqueur notes, savory undertones, and that deadringer mocha tone that only Poggiarellino has. The 2012 continues to express all these elements, with additional touches of earthiness and rustic tannins. The 2012 is totally approachable in the near term and an exceptional complement to food. Poggiarellino continues to be my favorite Brunello producer and the 2012 has only served to reaffirm the exceptional quality of this traditional producer.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 06, 2017

This user friendly 2012 has big and bright fruit that hit you first, black cherries cassis and ripe strawberries and then the terroir takes on the rest of this wine, giving it a long finish that lingers long on the palate. Drinks very well young and will over the next couple of years.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 28, 2017

We've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this wine ever since our memorable visit to the estate in 2016. Although we loved the 2011 for it's ripe fruit and immediacy, the 2012 delivers more on all fronts. The wine's hallmark Sangiovese aromas of earthy red fruits, sandalwood and dried florals burst from the glass while rich extract of red fruit and plum abound on the palate with smooth tannins and fresh acidity that carry it to a long finish. It possesses just the right balance of ripeness and structure that's impossible to resist.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

Poggiarellino is a tiny estate, this years total wine production is 583 cases, yes thats tiny and it is only by chance and spending a lot of time in Montalcino on the ground that chance meetings can happen. Thats why K&L is so unique we bring tiny gems that would be lost to the market or somewhere else at 50% more expensive. In the 2012 vintage there is a powerful statement of place and for Poggiarellino and that is manifested in the marasca cherry that wild and gamey Italian cherry that sends surreal aromatics, it's haunting, inviting, and seductive, its that incredibly complex aroma that you adore it in your Manhattans. On the palate you sense the ripeness of the vintage, not over-ripe but definitely with a hint of chocolate and plums it is a dense aromatically and like the vintage that richness is balanced by excellent structure underneath, this vintage shows far more complexity, layers of spice, distinct mineral components and a truly dramatic and long-lasting finish where the spice and mineral go on forever than the really drinkable 2011. In the mouth the wine is electric- it has a real, vibrant core that drives the wine the length of your palate with a lush, dense coating yet it never hesitates to be forceful and compelling. This is a wine that is capable of aging 15-20 years easily yet balanced and rich enough to drink now!Drink from 2017 to 2030

2012 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

93 points Decanter: "Pale shade. Autumn leaf and pressed rose petal on the nose. Very dense, soft round palate with chunky tannins. Cherry jam and hints of green walnut. Some grip in the finish." (06/2017)

92 points James Suckling: "A little earth but this show pretty floral and berry character. Hints of walnuts and meat. Full to medium body, a solid depth of fruit and a flavorful finish. Tangy at the end." (11/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Tenuta di Sesta 2012 Brunello di Montalcino presents evolved aromas of dried fruit, leather, spice and pipe tobacco. The wine opens to a dark garnet color with reddish colors that resemble brick or terra-cotta. These characteristics give the wine a savory and rugged quality that will appeal to those who love the tastes and flavors of aged Sangiovese. Despite the wine's untamed personality, it does offer subdued finesse in the mouth. This wine gives you the typicity of Sangiovese as well as the elegance of an aged Italian classic. (ML)" (03/2017)

92 points Vinous: "Good deep red. Captivating, nuanced nose offers red cherry, blood orange, roast coffee, underbrush, and licorice. Sweet and subtle, with wonderful inner-mouth perfume to the slightly balsamic flavors of menthol, dried herbs and spices. Showcases noteworthy lift and length on the refined finish. (ID)" (03/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers good grip and intensity, with leather, dusty cherry, tobacco and earth flavors. Balanced and open, with chalky tannins lining the finish. Best from 2020 through 2033. (BS)" (10/2017)

90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with tobacco, dark spice, forest floor and leather aromas. The palate offers dried black cherry, licorice and clove flavors, set against tightly wound, taut tannins. It still needs a few years to come together. (KO)" (04/2017)

Staff ImageSharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 05, 2018

This wine is the reason why I am currently in the midst of an Italian wine phase. When all of the elements of a great wine come together like they do in this bottle, it really is a beautiful thing. This has plenty of finesse and approachability with a dusty red fruit profile bearing characteristics of crushed stone and earth, leather, wild herbs, and well-integrated tannins. It makes me want to cook myself a four-course meal, complete with an elaborate table setting and indulge in its elegance. Outstanding.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2018

Everyone just about flipped out for the 2010 Brunello, but I have to say I'm enjoying the 2012s MUCH more at this stage in their development than I did the 2010s. I love the bold richness of a great Brunello, but the best must always have an Italian elegance that's difficult to accurately describe without experiencing it directly. For me the 2010s lacked some of that quality and replaced it with a striking baked fruit theme that stretched across nearly every producer. The 2012s are a return to a calssic elegance after the ultra hot 2011 vintage. Tenuta Di Sesta has really outdone themselves with this wine. Full and textured. Clearly youthful, but so lifted and open. Dense dark red fruit on the nose. Hints of cranberry, dried hibiscus, fresh unsweetened cherry compote. The palate is mouth filling and unctuous, but not heavy at all. An absolutely diamond smooth tannin and a fabulous base of earthy spice balance out that ultra seamless red fruit. Not even an implication of oak spice or vanillas, just perfectly elegant Montalcino for a ridiculously low price. If you consume this anytime in the next 5 years allow for a minimum 1 hour decanted. This one loves air.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 05, 2018

I love this winery in most vintages, but for me the 2012 vintage is drinking particularly well. There is a great marriage of savory notes, black cherry fruit, and olive in this wine, that is irresistible. I'd highly recommend a good decant (1-2 hours) before enjoying, so that you can access all the layers of flavor present here. Don't think that the goodness ended with the 2010 vintage in Montalcino, this beautiful 2012 is so elegant and well-balanced, that it would be hard to point to a better wine for the price.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 31, 2018

The Tenuta di Sesta Brunello is one of the best, ready-to-drink values in fine reds right now! Its showing beautiful, concentrated flavors of cranberries, raspberries and plums; orange peel and mint with a smokey savory edge and just a hint of saline. Incredible complexity, depth and balance for what amounts to a bargain price in the world of Brunellos.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2018

Big wine, little price!!! Do not let the price let you think that this is a lesser wine. This is a Great 2012 Brunelli that will develop over the years. If you open this wine in the next couple of years, give at least four to five hours decanting.

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2012 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

93 points James Suckling: "A dense and rich Brunello with so much fruit. A wealth of blackberry and black cherry character. Dried mushrooms, too. Full and layered with plenty of tannins. Powerful. Goes on for minutes. Savory and intriguing. Drink or hold." (10/2017)

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 08, 2017

An absolutely delicious wine from an elegant and balanced vintage to decant tonight or lay away. This is rich and ripe with an earthy nose of baked soil and an intense middle of ripe and savory cherry fruit in a round and approachable style.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 09, 2017

My colleagues discovered the wines of this producer several years ago and they have remained customer favorites since. We met up with Gaetano Salvioni in 2016 during our Italian travels and were reminded why. His 2012 Brunello hits all the right notes with wonderful savory red fruit, exotic spices and an overall freshness, depth and length not normally found at this price.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 06, 2017

Albatreti is a new find ( Our third vintage for you) to Greg & I and we thought that we must share this with you! You will find a lot of Tuscany in this glass that is ripe and fleshy with cocoa, spice, black fruit and density, full-bodied and broad on the palate with complex layers of earth and some good tannin structure on the finish. This is a wine that is very user friendly now and has the aging potential of 5 to 10 or more years. This is the ideal match for red meats and roasted poultry or just a BIG glass all by itself after a long day from work.

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2012 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino (Previously $50) Price: Hidden

93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of ripe strawberries and spicy tea follow through to a full body, chewy and polished tannins and a succulent finish. Balanced and pretty. Better in 2019." (11/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh, alluring aromas of wild berry, pressed violet, dark baking spice and a whiff of new leather all come together in the glass. The firm full-bodied palate offers ripe black cherry, mature plum, cinnamon, licorice and a hint of tobacco. Chewy tannins and bright acidity provide support and balance. (KO)" (05/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Frescobaldi family is becoming an ever more important force in the Montalcino territory thanks to recent land and winery investments. The Castelgiocondo 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is a soft and supple expression of Sangiovese. This oak-driven wine offers a generous bouquet that is based in part on dark cherry and primary fruit, and in part on spicy tones of toast and smoke. That said, this estate has very much redefined its use of oak and the results show much more balance and purity compared to wines made one decade ago. The brightness of the acidity also comes as a surprise given the warm vintage. That freshness is essential to the wine's aging potential. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good full ruby-red. Perfumed red cherry, herbs and sandalwood on the nose. Enters fresh and juicy, then mountingly tannic with the red cherry and herbal flavors kept under wraps by a strong tannic cloak. This brooding, very youthful Brunello finishes long and crisp, but needs plenty of time to soften and come around. (ID)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 11, 2017

This excellent 2012 Brunello from Frescobaldi represents a more modern approach to the category and is one of the best examples of the style. It's bigger shouldered and denser in weight than average, which translates to a concentrated palate that's smooth and polished with loads of delicious black fruit flavors. Aging in newer French oak adds a pleasant touch of well-integrated oak as well.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 22, 2017

The nose of this wine is plumy, riper, with hints of French oak that give the wine sweetness in the nose followed by an earthy drift that reminds you the wine is from Tuscany. On the palate the wine has a density and richness, full-bodied, shows polished tannins that add to the sleekness of the wine. The flavors are plumy, spicy and show more fruit driven character than earth. The finish is polished, long and has hints of sweet vanillin highlighting the flavors.

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2012 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99)

94 points Wine Spectator: "You can almost smell the countryside in this expressive red. Wild herb, underbrush, cherry and smoke notes weave throughout this supple red. Firms up on the finish while remaining fresh and resonant. Best from 2020 through 2035. 2,500 cases imported. (BS)" (06/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Fattoria dei Barbi 2012 Brunello di Montalcino offers a clear and bright quality of fruit. This wine really hits the high notes better than most others in its class. Stefano Cinelli Colombini and his team have done a fine job with this Brunello annata. Beyond the dark cherry and cassis are elegant tones of dried herb, tar and rose petal. The bouquet reaches harmony and finesse. In fact, you'd hardly know just how warm this summer growing season was because the fruit appears not to have suffered one bit. The tannins are delicate and silky. (ML)" (02/2017)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Earthy aromas suggesting leather, forest floor, tilled soil and dark spice take the lead in this Brunello, punctuated by a balsamic note. Firm and full-bodied, it delivers succulent Marasca cherry, star anise, mint and pipe tobacco, framed by tightly wound but refined tannins. Drink 20202032. *Editors' Choice* (KO)" (04/2017)

91 points James Suckling: "Ripe and savory Brunello with plum, spice and grilled-meat character. Full and chewy. A little rustic now but will come into its own in three or four years." (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good bright red with pale rim. Racy aromas of spicy red berries, sour red cherries and rhubarb on the nose. Crisp, bright and juicy, with an enticing easy-going sweetness characterizing the fresh and tasty red berry and mineral flavors. This medium-bodied wine is quite tangy and penetrating today with fresh acids but avoids coming off as hard; an excellent showing. (ID)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 06, 2017

The hot, dry 2012 vintage has been bringing us more full bodied, riper Brunellos that are very unique to the vintage. With the use of irrigation, Barbi was able to combat the dry heat and keep the great structure we love from Brunello- making this wine still quite ageable. If enjoying now, I would decant the wine for at least an hour. Right after opening the wine is reserved and retrained but it opens into gorgeous fresh fruit and spicy aromatics.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 20, 2017

Barbi has always been one of my favorite of the more classic style Brunello producers and I am especially impressed with their 2012. There's a freshness and vibrancy that shines through some very bright and savory red fruit in this medium-bodied gem. The tannins are ripe, the acidity is balanced and the wine is wonderful now and will drink nicely over the next few years.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 13, 2017

This wine is full-bodied wine with some tannin structure and intense fruit (black cherries and plum) and a hint of mineral flavors and was very well-crafted. I would give this a couple hours of decanting and serve with a blackened Tri tip or a pork loin fresh off the Que.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 13, 2017

This wine is gorgeous, Fattoria dei Barbi is one of Montalcinos classic wines, and for me it defines the classic style in Montalcino. The nose is full of a tight wild cherry, plumy swirl interspersed with leather, spice and Tuscan brush that is wildly attractive. On the palate the wine has a density, a smooth muscle power, supple, and where Barbi sometimes comes across a little gritty this vintage shows a bit of sweetness rounding off the edges. The flavors are stunning, so focused, saturated, and really show a great combination of place and vintage while being extraordinarily well balanced. The finish is long, alive and seems to lift in the back end regaling one with that ultra complex Sangiovese wild cherry spice that goes on and on. This wine is remarkably drinkable now yet will age easily up to 20 years from the vintage, I really love this wine.

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2012 Abbadia Ardenga "Piaggia" Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Here's a delicious red that opens with appealing ripe plum, blue flower, tobacco and baking spice aromas. Velvety tannins and fresh acidity provide structure and balance, while while juicy black cherry, raspberry compote and licorice flavors envelope the palate. Drink 2019-2032. *Editors' Choice* (KO)" (04/2017)

93 points James Suckling: "I like the dried fruit to this red with blueberry and cherry undertones. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Polished and pretty. Very well done. Drink or hold." (02/2017)

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 29, 2017

Ardenga may not be well known here in the States but they produce terrific Brunello. Their 2012 captures the best characteristics of the vintage; lush fruit combined with excellent freshness and structure. Ardenga boasts irresistible, concentrated cherry and plum fruit that packs a mid-palate punch and a lengthy finish. Pleasant grippy tannins add another dimension to the overall appeal of this wonderful red from the hills of Montalcino.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 22, 2017

The nose of this wine is savory, dried wild cherries, salty plums and hints of leather. On the palate the wine expands, it has a lush, supple feel that caresses the fine grain tannin as it rolls across your tongue. The flavors are true to the nose, showing the savory ripeness, oyster shell, and the word the Italians use macchia, what they call the flavor of the wild scrub; it shows up frequently in Brunello. The wine is supple, broad and mouth-filling in a gentle way; it shows great length and acidic structure while the tannic structure is exceptionally well integrated, while the dried cherries and dried flowers show up in the final moment of the finish. Abbadia Ardenga may not be the Brunello producer on the tip of your tongue yet, but as their wines slowly become available in the US youll be glad they have finally arrived.

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2012 Armilla Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "You could get lost in the enticing fragrance of this wine thanks to wild berry, blue flower, baking spice, chopped herb and saddle leather aromas. The smooth, elegantly structured palate is just as inviting, doling out juicy black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon and white pepper flavors. Polished tannins and fresh acidity lend balance and support. An impressive effort from this wineryone of Montalcino's little known gems. (KO)" (04/2017)

91 points James Suckling: "Dried berries and figs come through on the nose here, underlining the hot growing season. Full body, round and ripe tannins and a dusty finish. Hints of lemon peel. Better in 2019." (02/2017)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Here's an interesting wine from Armilla. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino opens to a darkly saturated color and richly intense perfumes of dark berry, dried cherry and spice. The mouthfeel is thickly textured and robust. Yet, the wine also offers a refreshing point of acidity that ultimately gives it a more buoyant and approachable personality. This is a great wine to pair with hearty winter foods by the fireplace. (ML)" (03/2017)

Vinous: "Bright dark red. Dark red cherry and plum aromas with scents of gingerbread and botanical herbs on the nose plus slightly warmer notes of coffee and tobacco. Juicy pure red cherry and saline flavors, this is rather chunky in weight but has a supple texture and a medium-long finish. (ID)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

Armilla has definitely released what we think is their best wine to-date. Their 2012 Brunello exudes elegance and subtle texture enhanced by delicious strawberry flavors and bright acidity. There's no shortage of personality to this wine and it certainly showcases the wonderful red fruit their region of Montalcino is known for.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 18, 2017

I was immediately smitten with this Brunello. Straight out the gate, it exudes old timey charm with restrained aromas of red fruits and dried mandarin peels. Flavors are also red fruited, with a light textural feel, layered, subtle flavors, and an overall airiness to the wine that makes it drink well young, though I feel like the impeccable balance at this young age may well allow for some solid mid-term cellar potential. A new name, but one that I will be sure to remember: Armilla!

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

The nose is full of ripe, plumy fruit highlighted with bits of clove and wild flowers. On the palate the wine is full, rich and has a smoothness to it that is just short of lush, sort of a plus size supple, here more savory flavors emerge, porcini, leather and salty plums. The wine is really well balanced and rich tannins and acid are in perfect harmony, the best wine Ive ever had from this estate. Armilla is located on Montalcinos western slope near the hamlet of Tavarnelle, close to Fossacolle, Gaja, Soldera and Caprili.With just over 6 acres of vineyard, planted in 1982, they make 566 cases of Brunello a year, their first vintage was the release of the 1997 aged in 25hl Slavonian oak barrels for 30 months.

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2012 Castello di Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino (Elsewhere $55) Price: Hidden

94 points James Suckling: "Here is a full-bodied Brunello with lots of dried fruit, orange peel and hints of spice. Full and velvety. Rich and opulent finish. Yet always in form. Drink in 2020." (12/2016)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Castello Romitorio delivers yet another excellent set of wines from Montalcino. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is hearty and dark with enough grit and concentration to pair with classic Tuscan cuisine including steak, game meat or smoked cheese. The mouthfeel is textured and rich. Vibrant fruit and dark tones of black currant, plum, spice and pipe tobacco characterize the bouquet. This is a contemporary Brunello that also flaunts its Tuscan roots and it authentic personality. It delivers on all of the promises you'd expect from a complete and classic Brunello. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Medium-dark red. The enticing nose of violets and red berries is complicated by hints of minerals. Then bright, juicy and firm, with noteworthy acidity providing clarity and cut to the fresh red berry and sour red cherry flavors. Long and vibrant on the finish. (ID)" (03/2017)

90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of toasted oak, espresso, underbrush and a balsamic note take shape in the glass. The fresh firm palate shows dried sour cherry, cranberry, roasted coffee bean and a hint of star anise set against close-grained tannins that grip the finish. (KO)" (05/2017)

90 points Decanter: "Rich, weighty nose with notes of dark plum, cherry and rose-petal. Firm, chewy and robust with lingering smoky, bitter cherry flavours, yet with an overall feeling of elegance. Drinking Window 2020-2028." (08/2017)

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 22, 2017

Wild cherry, plum, dried flowers, bits of spice highlight the nose that is forward, direct and persistent. On the palate a textural richness is the first thing you notice, bold, supple yet firm, the tannins are very fine grain and disappear into the background. The wine still has good acidity and freshness with a bit of lift in the finish, while the flavors show more of a savory fruitiness highlighted with bits of citrus and leather. Ive been tasting Castello di Romitorios wines for decades, and for the first time I was really surprised, their wines used to show lots of wood and that usually is a bit off putting for me, but this vintage was a revelation.

2012 Cortonesi Brunello di Montalcino ($44.99)

92 points Decanter: "Intense yet elegant, maturing black fruit aromas, heightened by notes of undergrowth, dried roses and oriental spices. Medium-bodied in the mouth with layered yet refined tannins, mobilising to a long, spicy finish. Drinking Window 2021-2030." (08/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a fine expression of sweet cherry fruit, along with tobacco, wild herb and leather flavors. Precocious, with more impact up front than on the finish, yet with a good tannic structure and freshness. Best from 2019 through 2030. (BS)" (06/2017)

91 points James Suckling: "A little lean with berry, coffee and nut character. Medium body, firm tannins and a savory finish. Drink or hold." (12/2016)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella sees fruit sourced from the northern side of the appellation where the winery headquarters are located. The wine is savory and rich, with dried fruit and earthy tones of underbrush and autumnal leaf. It offers lean consistency and moderate acidity (which is low on the Sangiovese scale). The warm vintage has crafted a wine that is better suited for near or medium-term consumption. Smoke, tobacco and crushed mineral add pretty contours to the finish. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good bright medium ruby-red. Aromas of raspberry, green tea, licorice and violet. At once smooth, sweet and nicely delineated, with good floral lift to the red berry and lightly saline flavors. Finishes with sweet tannins and sneaky concentration and length. (ID)" (03/2017)

90 points Wine & Spirits: "Flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate and licorice feel warm and ripe, belted together by firm tannins and lifted scents of violet. Balsamic notes add to the impression of sweetness, yet the wine finishes on a dry and mineral note." (04/2017)

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

The nose is classic wild cherry with bits of leather and hints of vanilla. On the palate the wine shows depth and richness while more savory flavors take over, salted plums, porcini and a bit of cherry. A very long finish, well balanced where the savory components still show their presence. This winery has changed its name from La Mannella to the family name of Cortonesi, it has been a generational change as son takes over for father. The winery is located in the on the Versante Senese, the slope under the town of Montalcino facing Siena.

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2012 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino ($44.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark spice, ripe berry, forest floor, Mediterranean brush and new leather aromas lead the nose on this powerfully structured wine. On the full-bodied palate, baking spice, licorice and pipe tobacco notes accent a juicy black cherry core while firm, velvety tannins provide the framework. Drink 2020-2030. *Cellar Selection* (KO)" (04/2017)

94 points James Suckling: "Wow. I love the texture and beauty of this young Brunello. Medium to full body with a dense and tightly compacted palate. Dried cherry light cedar and chocolate. It goes on for minutes. Gorgeous now. Excellent acid fruit balance, but will improve with age." (12/2016)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is a beautifully finessed and elegant wine. It offers a very pleasing sense of balance in which no one characteristic overpowers the next. A dark ruby appearance gives the wine an open and inviting personality. The bouquet produces a subtle medley of wild berry, blueberry, underbrush and toasted almond aromas. The mouthfeel is lean, but it also shows polished and silky persistence. If you don't have the patience to wait, it tastes great even at this early stage. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good full red. Youthful, concentrated aromas of saline red berries and orange blossom. Then sweeter, with densely focused flavours of red cherry, smoky plums and milk chocolate, complicated by a strong mineral nuance. Displays noteworthy savory nuances on the finish and puts on considerable weight in the glass. (ID)" (03/2017)

91 points Wine Spectator: "A tight, leafy, balsamic style, delivering strawberry, cherry, underbrush, wild sage, tobacco and iron flavors. Though tannic, this is more fluid than its peers, with a lingering aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2033. (BS)"

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2012 Cordella Brunello di Montalcino Price: Hidden

95 points James Suckling: "Fascinating aromas of dried oranges, blackberries and black truffles follow through to a full body, fine and integrated tannins and a flavorful finish. Very well-crafted. Made from organic grapes. Drink or hold." (02/2017)

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2017

Love these user friendly 2012 Brunelli, This is very concentrated and has a impressive nose for the vintage, with loads of ripe fruit, Full-bodied and very velvety, with beautiful soft tannins and great fruit, full-bodied, this wine boasts excellent length.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

This wine comes from the northeastern quadrant of Montalcino near the town of Torrenieri, here the soils are denser and have more clay which give wines of richness and breadth. The nose of this wine is bold, lots of sweet plumy fruit with a bit of tomato leaf. On the palate the wine is rich, dense and full bodied showing wild plums and earth while accented by hints of vanilla. The finish pulls it all together and bits of wild mushroom and saddle leather emerge to couple with the deep fruit. This is a fairly new winery the vineyards were planted in 1998 and sold until Maddalena Cordella took over and released her first wine with the 2010 vintage.The wines are aged for 24 months in 25hl Slavonian oak

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2012 Cortonesi "Poggiarelli" Brunello di Montalcino Price: Hidden

95 points James Suckling: "Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dark Indian tea follow through to a full body, chewy and powerful tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Generous and structured. Try in 2020." (11/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This special vineyard site is located in the southeastern quadrant of the appellation known for more opulent and structured wines. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Poggiarelli lives up to this billing. The bouquet bursts open with immediate intensity. Bold cherry, blackberry, spice, clove and black truffle rise to the top. The mouthfeel shows mid-weight consistency with fine texture and mild freshness. (ML)" (03/2017)

92 points Vinous: "Good bright medium ruby-red. Aromas of raspberry, green tea, licorice and violet. At once smooth, sweet and nicely delineated, with good floral lift to the red berry and lightly saline flavors. Finishes with sweet tannins and sneaky concentration and length. (ID)" (03/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator: "A charming mix of cherry, strawberry, tobacco and underbrush flavors, this turns lean and tense toward the finish, offering firm, dusty tannins, echoes of tobacco and a touch of leather. Best from 2021 through 2035. (BS)" (06/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "Montalcino Nord. Healthy rusty blackish ruby. Perfumed. Fumy, cindery nose as though there were some char in here. Massive tannins at the moment. Certainly lots of freshness but a rather pruny sensation. Wait! 16.5+/20" (03/2017)

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

Chocolate covered blueberries, healthy loam, Dr. Pepper, and strawberries on the nose, which all come together harmoniously on the palate. Perfect tannin structure, supportive acidity, and a long and delicate finish. This is a beautifully unique Brunello that is sure to spark a conversation.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

This is a bold and vibrant Brunello that will especially appeal to those looking for Sangiovese with ample intensity and length. "Poggiarelli" boasts penetrating red and black fruit flavors that carry on to a lengthy finish thanks to some solid acidity. It's aged in medium-sized French barrels yet the oak is perfectly integrated allowing the fruit to shine.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 18, 2017

Cortonesi, née La Manella, produces this particular bottling of Brunello from a well regarded site in the Southeast corner of the denominazione. The wine is brawny, salty, savory, black fruited and built, though there is still a quality to the wine that makes you salivate and reach for another glass. I like the style, and with any meat finished with rosemary and sea salt, I imagine I would like it even more. Bravo! A fine Brunello.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2017

I am Lovin on the 2012 Brunelli, beautifully layered, expressive wine bursting with sweet ripe strawberries, black cherries intermingled with subtle earth and toasted oak notes, minerals and a hint of bitter chocolate on the on the finish, round and ripe tannins and a long aftertaste and really well sturture. Great for gifts, or the Holiday table.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

The nose is full of dark fruit, spiced blackberry, hints of baking spice, and some Tuscan brush. On the palate the wine has real depth of flavor, darker fruits, more saturated flavors then the savory portions sweep forward, wild mushroom, rosemary, coriander. The tannic structure begins to show, fine grain and in balance and supports the supple richness where more wild cherry and blackberry flavors come to the front spiced with bits of savory earth. The wine comes together in the finish showing lots of complexity, a rich mid palate and long balanced finish. I think this is the best wine this winery has made, it comes from a plot in the south eastern portion of Montalcino.