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James Suckling Score: 95 Open James Suckling Score: rating modal
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For those who appreciate the vibrantly youthful, fruit-and-floral qualities in Brunello, the wines of the 2018 vintage can be a welcome change of pace. The modern trend of torrid Summers relented a bit that year, and the structure and ripe fruit that distinguish the region's Sangioveses are at enticingly balanced and vibrant levels right now. Enter the 2018 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, whose structure is well-measured against the more mid-weight fleshiness of fruit, providing only a gentle grip on the palate and letting the wine come off a touch juicier before coming to a tapered, gently drying finish. The ripe red and dark fruits (raspberry, wild strawberry, black cherry) and citrus (blood orange) come clearly from the glass, over alternating aromatic notes of dark chocolate, dried flowers (rose, lavender) and herbs (oolong/black tea leaves). The distinctive 'dusty earth' accent of Sangiovese and silty tannins contribute to a real sense of 'minerality' flowing in the 2018. This wine will evolve into the 10-year mark if you enjoy a more savory and mellow expression of Sangiovese. But right now, an hour in the decanter and grilled dishes are all this really needs!

Founded in 1970, Altesino was among the handful of wineries to join in the Brunello di Montalcino revolution that made it one of the world's greatest wine regions. The estate was purchased in 2002 by Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini, owner of neighboring Caparzo. Since then, it's become further entrenched as a benchmark Brunello producer, owing much to its variety of vineyard sites both in the north and south of Montalcino (including part of the 'grand cru', Montosoli) from which they can make a delicious, well-balanced Brunello from vintage to vintage.

JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This has fantastic intensity with concentrated hazelnut, chocolate and dark berry aromas alongside dried flower and dried orange undertones. Firm and medium- to full-bodied, with powerful yet integrated tannins. Excellent structural integrity."
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