Angelo Gaja and his family have released two masterpieces from their Montalcino cellars (after skipping the 2009 vintage). These are amazing wines that stand out in a blind tasting thanks to their infinite extract, density and all-round excellence. They follow an elaborately developed house style that applies to Gaja’s efforts in Piedmont and Bolgheri as well. These two Brunellos are more marked by the “Gaja” touch than the Montalcino signature. The personalized winemaking style overrides the territory-driven typicity. But no matter: These wines are simply delicious.
An outstanding surprise, the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino is a monumental wine. The Rennina single vineyard is said to be more feminine compared to the bolder fruit sourced in the nearby Sugarille cru. But in the 2010 vintage, you definitely get a compelling sense of power, density and extraction. What distinguishes the wine is the delicate mineral signature that appears through the thick texture of the fruit. It’s like background music that gives cozy ambiance to an elaborately furnished ballroom. I consider the 2010 Rennina a masterpiece and, again, I just don’t know how Angelo Gaja does it. He is the winemaker with the Midas touch. Truth be told, the wine does lack territory-driven typicity. But it’s just so darn good, it hardly matters. It will continue its evolution for 10-20 years. Congratulations. – MONICA LARNER
96 pts – 2010 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille
The Gaja family’s 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille opens to striking intensity and beauty that is apparent even as you pour the wine from the bottle. The wine’s appearance is dark and so perfectly saturated with dark garnet and ruby highlights. On the nose, it shows infinite aromas of dark fruit, plum, dried figs, licorice, grilled herbs, cola and so much more. The complexity is outstanding. The Sugarille single vineyard delivers power and structure that gives this wine such a firm presence on the palate. But you also get a great sense of the quality of fruit that was harvested in 2010. Angelo Gaja skipped the 2009 vintage. But this vintage makes up for the loss with its long aging potential. This is an amazing wine to put way at the back of your cellar for ten years or more. What a delight. – MONICA LARNER