A Beautiful Brunello
North of Montalcino, Tuscany, lies Innocenti Vini. This is a small winery with just seven hectares of vines and an annual production of around forty thousand bottles of wine. The views from the cantina are just marvellous but the wines are even better.
At the time of our visit the 2015 Brunello had just been released, according to the rules, on the first of January and it was a stunner. Made from 100% Sangiovese, the grape of Tuscany, it is a beautifully-structured wine with a wonderful nose, a long finish with well-balanced tannins and acidity having spent five long years maturing in oak. TThis is a wine that is only at the beginning of its life and it will continue to mature and develop complexity over the next twenty five to thirty years so truly a collectors’ item. But if you want this, do not wait - Gianni only produces around fifteen thousand bottles of Brunello a year and not even every year. In 2014 it rained and it rained. The results were fat grapes with thin skins. Now, the skins provide the colour and essential tannins for the wine and so bad was the harvest that Gianni just said the quality was not good enough so no Brunello that year!
As well as a Brunello, they also produce a Brunello Riserva that has to spend six years maturing before it can be released and, again, this is a wine that Gianni will only produce if he thinks the harvest is good enough so look out for the 2015 and 2016 Riservas.
Alongside the Brunello, they also produce the Rosso di Montalcino which many say is its younger brother but, make no mistake, this is a fabulous wine in itself. Released from the first of September of the year following the harvest, this does not pack the punch of its elder brother and is more refreshing and fruity with berries, plums, and a hint of cedar. It has a fairly long finish, is well-structured, and is dry and earthy on the nose. It accompanies pasta and meat such as pork beautifully and is a wine that I will choose above Brunello when it suits the menu.
Last, but definitely not least, is the speciality of the house. Vignalsole is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon matured for twelve months in barriques of French oak and then a further twelve months in the bottle. This is what is known as a Super Tuscan which is a term used for a wine made outside of the traditional rules. This wine has the deeper red colour and pepperiness that come from Cabernet Sauvignon and appeals to a more international taste with its vanilla notes from French oak.