Brunello from a founding Montalcino producer, a testament to the traditional style of the region.
Brunello di Montalcino is the most prestigious appellation in the world for Sangiovese. Grown around the picturesque hillside Tuscan town of Montalcino, Brunello was one of only three wines to be given DOCG status back in 1980 and remains one of the great wines of Italy today - though the appellation and style has changed greatly since it’s inception. The appellations boundaries have been expanded by the authorities to allow for an increase in production, leading to a greater range in grape quality and style. This combined with the on going divide between modern and traditional producers has created a broad range of styles, from the elegant and ethereal to rich and brooding.
While both sides of the Brunello debate offer a unique drinking experience, I tend to side in favour of the traditional producers. I find that the best of them have an incredible ability to combine the robust tradition of what a region represents, while adapting to the changing conditions of the vineyard and marketplace.
The steep, narrow, loose dirt and gravel road can make getting to the winery a slightly precarious task, depending on whether you’re driving a 4x4 or a hatchback. The Il Paradiso di Manfredi winery wraps around the family home with terraces of Sangiovese Grosso vines running just a few meters from the family’s front door. It’s a start-to-finish family run operation, which fastidiously upholds the tradition of the region influence by Manfredi Martini, himself, a founding member of the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino in 1967. The wines are naturally farmed, and they a part of the “triple A” (a group of natural wineries that adhere to a set of guidelines to ensure they are consistent with the natural winemaking philosophy).
Il Paradiso di Manfredi is a testament to the heights that traditional Brunello can reach; the wines show restraint, elegance and spice. A departure from classic approach of reserving the select parcels for the Brunello or Riserva, the winery only produces one base wine each vintage. The winemaking team then uses time in oak to designate the wine as Rosso di Montalcino (12 months), Brunello di Montalcino (36 months) or Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (48 months) for the annual production around 10,000 bottles. The grapes are sourced from the family’s property located at around 330m altitude on the Northeast slopes of Montalcino, 2.5ha of grapes divided among the terraced vineyards. The wines are made using indigenous yeast used to ferment the juice in glass lined concrete tanks. The wines are bottled by gravity with minimum SO2 additions.
The Wines and Critical Reviews
2015 Il Paradiso di Manfredi - Rosso di Montalcino - Bootleggers Price $90
2015 is turning out to be a beautiful vintage around the world, and the Montalcino was no exception. The 2015 Rosso is surprisingly approachable in its youth, showing ripe raspberries and sour cherries, underlying spice, with bright acidity and a savoury finish. The wine is full of life and a pleasure to drink. A baby Brunello.
2010 Il Paradiso di Manfredi Brunello di Montalcino - Bootleggers Price $180
The 2010 Brunello is a beautiful, balancing the ripeness and fruit weight of the vintage with firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity. It shows and ethereal boutique of dried roses, ripe red fruits and the signature chinto spice character of traditional Brunello. It’s a testament to what a producer of the this style can do in a great year. If your going to open a bottle anytime soon, idea strongly recommend decanting an hour or so before.
*back vintages and larger formats are available. Please contact us for further details.
My favourite pairing
Classic - Bistecca Fiorentina, a thick t-bone steak from the local cattle served with a simple salad or grilled veggies.