The Biondi-Santi 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is initially a reticent wine and one that does not immediately subscribe to the overstated abundance and exuberance of the vintage. Give it time. I wrote this review after several tastings over several days so I could ensure a more accurate account of the wine's elegant reveal. Contemplative and exceedingly nuanced in personality, with wild berry, underbrush, ferrous earth and candied orange peel, this has everything to look forward to in terms of its future evolution in the bottle. It displays a pretty ruby color that borders on garnet and polished copper. A silky, mid-weight palate is accented by beautifully managed and silky tannins (this aspect of the mouthfeel is extraordinary), bright freshness and long-lasting fruit momentum. The alcohol is a bit more powerful in this release (at 14.5%), but the effect is supple and smooth nonetheless. I tasted bottle number 256.
Bottle number 01231.
Day one: Poured from a freshly opened bottle without decanting or aeration. Lustrous ruby with a deep glow. 'Expressive' is probably not the word for a young Biondi-Santi Brunello, but compared with the 2016 this is more open and a little bit more forward on the nose. All things being relative. Perfumed, deep and composed all at the same time. Hints of iron, but changes all the time. Cool and focused deep red fruit that is completely dry. Long nerve of vibrant acidity and a thick layer of powdery tannins. Long, austere and embryonic.
Day two: Enticing, concentrated nose of cherry and sweet raspberry. Great depth of fruit without being overtly rich. Laurel and mineral hints and with a layer of finely ground tannins. The fruit closes up a little on the finish. The acidity is slowly absorbed in the core of the fruit. Still embryonic and with tannins that taste a little of bitter walnut.
Day three: Richer and denser than on the last two days. Expressive, dark-fruit nose. Focused, pure and concentrated on the palate and the tannins are no longer bitter or powdery and perfectly in tune with the fruit. Amazing balance achieved over three days.
Walter Speller - Feb 2022
The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva pulls you close to the glass with a deep and seductive display of black raspberry preserves complemented by sweet sage, dried roses and pipe tobacco. With further coaxing, it gains in volume and lift, taking on hints of mint and camphor. This greets the palate with undeniable elegance, casting velvety waves of violet-tinged wild berries and sweet spices across a motivating core of juicy acidity, as a subtle coating of round tannins forms toward the close. While structured and incredibly long, energy remains high, as nuances of cherry pits offset by sour citrus and hints of cedar fade. It’s amazing to experience such energy and purity from a young Biondi Santi Riserva. As pretty as the Annata released last year was, I worried that the extended aging for the Riserva might rob the wine of some of its fruit; instead it is the complete opposite, as this contains the depth and complexity of the best wines of the vintage. I can’t wait to see how the 2015 matures over the next several decades. EG
The 2015 Riserva was born during the brief period between Franco Biondi Santi’s death and subsequent acquisition by luxury company EPI in 2016. Looking to make more accessible wines, Franco’s son Jacopo started picking on 21 September. By the estate’s historic standards, this is relatively late. The outcome is a generous and weighty expression that is less bracing than usual. It coats the mouth without being heavy and is hemmed in by firm, steely tannins. Sweet tobacco and bay leaf punctuate ripe red cherry and lead to a pleasant bitter twist on the finish. Drinking Window 2024 - 2039
Tasted by Michaela Morris (at Chiostro Museo di Montalcino, 20 Nov 2021)
Part of Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016 vintage report and top-scoring wines
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