Brunello di Montalcino: The 2001 Riservas


The 2001 vintage in Montalcino continues to provide a number of superb wines. The best Brunello Riservas have expressive aromatics, vibrant, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and the ability to continue to improve with bottle age. Readers will also find a number of wines that offer rewarding drinking today. Of course Montalcino is home to an extraordinarily diverse variety of terroirs, microclimates and winemaking styles, all of which are reflected in the wines. For an in-depth discussion of these points readers may want to re-visit my introduction to the 2001 Brunello vintage on this site.

To qualify for Riserva status Brunello must spend a minimum of three years in oak as opposed to the two years that is required normally. Whether the extra year of oak is beneficial to the wines is highly debatable. Some of these Riservas are clearly more complex than the normal bottlings, yet in many cases the Riservas offer a relatively small step up in quality but are priced considerably higher than the normal bottlings. A handful of estates also demonstrate a tendency to overdo their Riservas, which results in overblown wines lacking finesse and elegance. Lastly, there appears to still be plenty of 2001 non-Riserva Brunello in the marketplace as well. Readers should be opportunistic about acquiring those wines when the price is right. 2001 is a very complete vintage for Montalcino. The finest 2001 Brunellos are sure to provide much pleasure, especially at the dinner table, where the wines will offer their greatest pleasure.

-- Antonio Galloni