The cream always rises to the top! Hard work pays off! The star player always performs best in the clutch. Adversity makes you stronger. All of these “sayings” remind me of the Gianni Brunelli’s Brunello di Montalcino, especially the extraordinary 2015!
Thirty years later, after becoming one of Siena’s most successful restauranteurs, Gianni and his wife Laura are able to reclaim his family’s small 5 acre farm and vineyard (Le Chiuse di Sotto) just north of Montalcino. In 1987 the couple begin producing olive oil and Brunello to serve in their famed restaurant Le Logge. In 1997 they purchase an 11 acre vineyard site south of Montalcino at Podernovone. The learned couple understand the importance of being able to blend the best components of Sangiovese from the cooler and warmer climes and diverse soils. Over the years Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino gains great notoriety for its highest standards, and becomes known as quintessential Brunello for its wild cherry and mineral complexity. THEN in 2008 Gianni dies suddenly of a heart attack leaving Laura to carry on his legacy. And yes she does! She hires a top agronomist, Laura Bernini, to manage the vineyards and forego herbicides and pesticides. Laura continues the couple’s traditional approach in the cellar with the advice of one of the region’s top enologist Paolo Vagaggini. Native yeast are only used for natural fermentation, and the wines are aged in medium-sized Slavonian casks. And yes, the restaurant continues to flourish too!
I have met Laura only twice. Once in San Francisco at A-16 two years ago, and then last February in Montalcino. Her 2015 Brunello was at the top of my list after tasting at the Benvenuto Brunello. Each time I have been so impressed by not only her dynamic personality and obvious dedication, but mostly her passion! Kerin O’Keefe, Italian editor for Wine Enthusiast, says it best in her reference book “Brunello di Montalcino” – “These are simply gorgeous, delicious Bruenellos made with careful attention and the utmost respect for nature that require not only full-time dedication and supervision, but, to use another of one of the most abused words in winespeak, passion.”
Looks at how the critics have all weighed in on Laura’s most successful 2015 Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino!
“The 2015 Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto team is on a roll, and these last few vintages have really hit it out of the ballpark. Their latest release, the charming 2015 Brunello di Montalcino, is one of the stars of the vintage. This wine exudes the warmth and sheer exuberance of the growing season, which was beautifully warm and sunny. Yet it also stays true to the promise of Montalcino that strives for elegance, poise and longevity. This is a classic interpretation that offers a very precise and pure window onto the Sangiovese grape, with its tight aromas of wild cherry, medical herb and pressed blue flowers. The wine is a blend of fruit from both sides of Montalcino, the north side and the southeast. Between the two sites you get a mix of schist, sand, clay, tufo and Galestro soil. That’s pretty much the whole rainbow from the appellation.” 2021 – 2040 – 96 points, Wine Advocate (ML) Jan 2020.
“The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino opens with a bouquet that is dark and captivating, reminding me of picking ripe strawberries right off the vine, as its pretty, dark red fruits mingle with earth tones and hints of floral stems, then spiced orange and sweet minerality slowly develope in the glass. On the palate, it floods the senses with textures like fine velvet, yet not heavy in any way, instead guided by brisk acids and minerals, carrying fleshy dark red fruits with hints of savory herbs and spice. As the textural experience comes to a close, it reveals a coating of round tannins, with sweet red fruits, spices and pretty floral tones lingering on and on. What a gorgeous expression of vintage character complemented by this house’s classic style. Even in its youth, the 2015 Gianni Brunelli will have a lot of fans, but it should also do well over the next ten to fifteen years in the cellar. drinking window: 2022 – 2036. – 96 points, Vinous Media (Antonio Galloni/d’Agata)
“Beautiful intensity, but also focus to the nose of this Brunello. Wild strawberries, tar and cherry kernel vie to be heard above a chorus of forest floor and tobacco. The palate has wonderful compression, herding vibrant cherries and chewy tannins into shape; there’s balance, focus and depth, all in one package. Drink from 2023.” – 95 points, James Suckling.com (Sept 2019)
“In 2015, Laura Brunelli finished a much-needed new cellar that has enabled greater precision in the winemaking and helped lower the estate’s carbon footprint. It is a pleasure to finally try this wine from bottle after tasting the components from botti. It has all the plump, fleshy fruit demonstrated during ageing but has also preserved and fused the captivating scents of sweet garden herbs, dark summer blossoms, tomato and earthy truffles. Mouthwatering red plum and black raspberry round out the palate and the tannins are pliable. It’s just about ready to go and there’s at least a decade of enjoyment to come.” – 95 points, Decanter (MM)
“Rose, new leather, wild herb and darkskinned-berry aromas emerge from the glass on this fragrant red. Polished and balanced, the elegant, medium-bodied palate reveals Marasca cherry, star anise and ground clove framed in refined tannins and fresh acidity. It’s already accessible but promises good mid-term aging.” – 94 points, Wine Enthusiast (KO) May-2020
“This elegant red delivers cherry, iron, leather and tobacco flavors, backed by a vibrant structure. Balanced, with firm, well-proportioned tannins and a long, mouthwatering finish. Best from 2022 through 2040. 650 cases made, 200 cases imported. 93 points, Wine Spectator (BS) June 2020