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Brunello di Montalcino Vineyards

The View of The Critics on The 2018 Brunello di Montalcino Vintage

2018 Brunello di Montalcino.

We are starting to see releases of the 2018 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany’s world-renowned 100% Sangiovese wines. But what is the style of the vintage, and what can we expect in relation to the previous years?


The overall headline comes courtesy of James Suckling: 2018 Brunello di Montalcino is ‘cool and classic.’


Kerin O’Keefe joins in the praise, adding ‘For Brunello fans who love fragrant wines with energy, elegance and balance, you are going to love the soon-to-be-released 2018s. I haven’t been this excited by a recent vintage since the classic 2013s were released five years ago.’

Eric Guido over at, assesses the overall quality spectrum. ‘At the top level, many of the 2018 Brunellos come across as quite Burgundian in nature, where a combination of vividly dark, ripe fruit, balanced acidity and refined tannins add a brilliant dimension that shines already today yet promises a steady and prosperous evolution over time. At the lower level, and sometimes in the midrange, the wines often remind me of Beaujolais or a lighter-styled Rosso. They are charming and fruit-forward, like a basket of fresh berries, followed by a delicate and often-semisweet expression on the palate, but lacking the depth of concentration and tannic structure to mature over time.’

With the freshness and more classic style of the vintage, there is also more terroir transparency than in the preceding warm vintages, something that is being increasingly exploited with the production of more single vineyard Brunello wines. There are individual sites that have really shone in 2018 and are worth a special effort to seek out, with wines from around the hill of Montosoli doing particularly well.

Despite the good quality of the 2018 vintage, there are some producers that have opted not to produce Riservas and will put all fruit into their ‘straight’ Brunello.


There has been a lot of discussion around the Riserva category of late. Certain vintages are not suited to that extra year in the cellar (whether in oak, or in bottle) but the shrewd decision must surely be to focus on the non-Riserva category in a cooler year such as 2018. Another year in oak may not benefit the overall balance of these wines.

Valdicava has decided not to bottle a 2018 at all, but this is not a situation that is mirrored across the region. In fact, Guido nails it when he calls 2018 ‘a question of both location and producer… conditions in the north drastically differed from those in the south.’ It is a year to be carefully selective, but this careful selection will surely reward the savvy buyer.

2018 comes on back of the 2017 vintage, a year marked by extreme heat, and critical opinion on the majority of those ’17 Riservas starting to hit the market is muted to say the least.

For O’Keefe, there is plenty to like about the best wines, both in the immediacy and for the future. ‘Most of the 2018s are going to be drinking beautifully right out of the gate, thanks to their refined tannins. But don’t let this fool you: these are not lightweights. While they don’t have the massive structures that have become common in Brunello recently, many are full-bodied while others are medium-bodied, and the best have the vibrancy and intensity to age well until 15-20 years after the harvest, while some will age even longer.’

Vinum will be keeping tabs on all the key releases, but if you are specifically interested in securing the wines of certain estates, please do let us know at [email protected]

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