Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino
Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino

Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino

Tuscany, Italy 2018 (750mL)
Regular price$70.00

Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino

Our hats go off to Lisini: This estate is part of Montalcino’s Old Guard, but they’re still plenty spry and ready to take on all comers. Having been mightily impressed with their intense 2017, we were even more excited about the elegance and typicity of this 2018. Quite simply, this is a benchmark producer at the top of its game—one of a handful of must-have Brunellos for anyone who’s serious about Sangiovese and not just label-chasing. Although Brunello di Montalcino is billed as one of the world’s most age-worthy red wines, the reality is that very few—and especially not the sappy, chunky, “modern” styles that were all the rage in the ’90s and 2000s—actually deliver in their old age. Lisini delivers. The wines capture the nerve and woodsy perfume of the Sangiovese grape and are aged in large Slavonian oak casks, leaving the more extracted, chocolatey, “international” style to others. This is as classic as Brunello gets, and it will serve you well for at least a decade to come. Stock up!

Lisini has all the street cred one could ask for: The estate was one of the 20 founding members of the Brunello di Montalcino consorzio (producers’ association), which was created in 1967. Elina Lisini, who ran the estate for decades before her passing in 2009, was the first (and only!) female president of the consorzio, in 1970, working with estate vineyards that were first planted in the 1930s. The property, which covers about 150 hectares of land in total, is located in the southwest corner of the Montalcino DOCG, near the hamlet of Sant’Angelo in Colle; the 24 hectares of vineyards open up toward the south, as is typical here on Montalcino’s “back slope,” yet while conventional wisdom says that wines from this part of the zone skew richer and burlier, Lisini’s perfumed, fine-tuned wines have always defied that characterization (much like those of Soldera and Poggio di Sotto, which are also on Montalcino’s south side).

Over the years, Lisini has worked not only with longtime consulting enologist Franco Bernabei (whose many famous collaborations also include Felsina and Fontodi) but with the late Giulio Gambelli, a legendary Sangiovese specialist who worked with Lisini for a time (not to mention Soldera and Montevertine). Today’s wine is sourced from vineyards reaching to altitudes of 350 meters, with marly clay soils, and is aged in Slavonian oak casks ranging in size from 20 to 50 hectoliters. It spends a rather long time in those casks (42 months) before bottling, then undergoes further aging in bottle before release, so even though this 2018 is the “current” edition of this wine, it has already undergone a significant amount of aging.

The 2018 is an elegant rendition that can be enjoyed now, provided you give it some time in a decanter first—otherwise, it’s clear that the long-term potential is there, and not because it’s so massive and tannic, but because it is beautifully balanced. In the glass, it’s a deep, opaque garnet red moving to pink at the rim, with heady aromas of dark woodland berries, black cherry, plum skin, bay leaf, grilled meat, oiled leather, and lots of smoky underbrush. Within the world of Brunello di Montalcino it would rank as medium-plus in body, with terrific freshness and, in this vintage, very fine-grained and polished tannins. Decant this wine 60 minutes before enjoying in Bordeaux stems at 60 degrees, both now and 10+ years from now. There’s a lot of delicious, refined drinking ahead of this wine, so get yourself cooking and pulling some corks. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another red at this price point that brings so much to the table. Enjoy!

Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino

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