Pietroso, Brunello di Montalcino
Pietroso, Brunello di Montalcino

Pietroso, Brunello di Montalcino

Tuscany, Italy 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$75.00
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Pietroso, Brunello di Montalcino

It’s way too soon to be giving out “Wine of the Year” awards, but Pietroso’s 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is on my shortlist. The consensus reaction it received here, complete with oohs and ahhs and arguments over who got to take it home (me!), was that it was the best Brunello we’ve tasted this year—and, while there’s still lots of the year left, it’s hard to imagine another toppling it from its throne.

It is bold, ripe, and tantalizingly open-knit in its youth (thanks to the exceptionally hot, dry 2017 vintage in Montalcino), and yet it has energy, varietal precision, and structure for aging. That’s no small feat these days—crafting a “big” wine that is also lively and drinkable, as opposed to blowsy and punishingly alcoholic. I admitted in past offers that I’m a bandwagon fan of this estate—my first taste of Pietroso was just a few vintages ago—but better late than never, right? The reason I’ve jumped on the Pietroso train so enthusiastically is because theirs is the kind of woodsy, angular, perfumed style of Sangiovese I strongly prefer. I don’t want a dark, chunky Bordeaux wannabe—I want a lithe, smoky Brunello that’s powerful and full of tension as well. Pietroso delivers that, and in 2017 they tacked on lots of texture and luscious black cherry fruit. It’s a knockout, and a shrewd fine-wine investment to boot!

Pietroso is a true jewel box property, with just 13 acres of vineyards across three parcels, on the western slopes of the Montalcino hill. Located just minutes outside the town of Montalcino proper, the original Pietroso vineyard covered just one hectare and was farmed by Domenico Berni, who originally made wines for home consumption but began releasing commercially in the mid-1970s. Today, Berni’s grand-nephew, Gianni Pignattai, runs the property (expanded slightly, to just over five hectares), with his wife and family. Their vineyards are planted exclusively to Sangiovese, at altitudes ranging from 350-450 meters above sea level, and the vines used for Brunello average 30 years of age.

As is clear once the wine is poured, this is unmistakably old-school Brunello—it has the medium garnet hue one should expect from the Sangiovese grape, not the inkier cast some modern Brunellos display (usually from aging in smaller, newer oak barrels). That said, it is not “old-school” in the sense of being funky or flawed; this is squeaky clean and beautifully perfumed, with a delicate kiss of oak spice complementing the lusciously ripe fruit. This wine spends eight months in used, French oak tonneaux before being transferred to larger, 32-hectoliter Slavonian oak botti for an additional 30 months. This is followed, of course, by a required period of bottle aging before release.

This 2017 displays a deep garnet/black core moving to a pink/orange rim, with perfumed aromas of red and black cherry, currants, blackberry, black plum, anise, rose petals, underbrush, aromatic herbs, and sandalwood spice. It is fuller-bodied than the previous releases we’ve showcased, with a little more heft on the mid-palate balanced by plenty of freshness and wonderfully fine-grained tannins. With 30-60 minutes in a decanter, it is uncompromisingly delicious to drink now, but it is also a surprisingly balanced wine, given the vintage conditions (a good sign for aging). Serve it in Bordeaux stems at 60 degrees with a beautiful ribeye steak, some duck confit, or, on the vegetarian side, pasta with wild mushrooms or risotto with white (or black) truffles. Come summer, elevate your burger game with a cool bottle of this at hand—that’s what cookout dreams are made of. Cheers!

Pietroso, Brunello di Montalcino


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, sweet...you name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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