95 Points for Sugarille, 94 for Rennina from Wine Advocate

Great reviews just in from the Wine Advocate!

2011 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille
95 points
A bit closed at first, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille sees fruit harvested from a five-hectare cru site with galestro limestone soils and all-southern exposures. Despite the initial shyness of the bouquet, this wine ultimately shows a more profound and elegant approach in this warm vintage. It just takes a little longer to get there. The nose offers a full spectrum of fruit, floral and earthy tones that speak so highly of this all-Sangiovese appellation. The wine is smooth and rich in terms of density with beautiful firmness at the bac

2011 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina
94 points
The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is made from a blend of fruit from three different vineyard parcels. The sites total 25 hectares, with 15 located next to the church, or the Pieve, after which this estate is named. The sites have southwest exposures and different soil types. That flexibility explains the smooth and seamless bouquet offered by this wine. Compared to the single vineyard Sugarille expression, Rennina is more open and immediate. The wine presents fleshy and beautifully plump aromas of red cherry, dried blackberry and exotic spice with tobacco and chocolate at the back.


Notes on the 2011 Vintage and Wines

Weather conditions
The 2011 vintage began in typical fashion, with rainfall and temperatures around average through the springtime. This steady weather trend continued into the summer, punctuated by some heat spikes in July and then even more in the middle of August, driven by warm winds. The flowering and the setting of the berries was standard. The vegetative development was regular until July, when the vigor of the plants slowed due to the warm temperatures and the dry Scirocco winds. The spring rains and constant attention to the different management needs of each soil type helped counterbalance the effects of the heat. The harvest began on August 31 and ended on October 10.

Leaf coverage was maintained, but those grapes too exposed and suffering dehydration were eliminated. The strict selection in the vineyards along with overall low yield led to a 30 percent drop in quantity. The grapes showed freshness and bright aromas; fine structure, silky body and juiciness are the key features of this vintage.

gajpievstares-nvlabel300dpi-300pxBrunello di Montalcino 2011
The grapes for Brunello 2011 come from both the vineyard named Deserti, in the area of Torrenieri – located northeast of Montalcino village – and from a selection of Rennina and Sugarille vineyards that surround the church of Santa Restituta, southwest of Montalcino village. Deserti vineyard has northwest and southwest exposures, and its soil is a well-balanced mix of sand, clay and tuff. The area is windy and characterized by significant night-and-day temperature variation.

The 2011 Brunello opens with a bouquet of wildflowers and red berries, followed by fresh balsamic notes, notably sweet licorice and thyme. The palate is very clean, with flavors of fresh plum and red cherry, well integrated wood aromas and silky tannins.

Rennina 2011
Rennina is a blend of three vineyards:
1. Pian dei Cerri, with a southeast exposure and high amounts of galestro (a type of sedimentary schist);
2. Castagno Vecchio, with a southwest exposure, mainly sandy-stony soil and less clay;
3. and Santo Pietro, with a southwest exposure, clay and tuff soil with sporadic traces of sand.

All these vineyards surround the Santa Restituta Church. This area is historically called Rennina, and the wine take its name from it.

The Rennina 2011 displays an open floral nose, rich in dog-rose and pansy flower notes with a hint of aromatic herbs and spices, in particular juniper and white pepper. The juicy palate features of fresh red fruit, acidity and alcohol are well balanced. Firm and fine tannins lead to a fresh finish.


Sugarille 2011
From the homonymous south-exposed vineyard, 1 km from Santa Restituta Church. This is the historic vineyard of the estate, mentioned in the church inventory dated 1547. The soil of Sugarille is quite different from the rest of the estate – deeper and more compact, displaying a calcareous and marl composition and a significant presence of galestro.

This is the most compact and austere of the three Brunello from Pieve Santa Restituta, and Sugarille is the wine that requires the longest ageing. Intense notes of resin, sweet tobacco, ink and a final hue of flint make way for a concentrated palate of meaty aromas, black cherry and spices. Rich and long finish, with perceivable but elegant wood notes.


Pieve Santa Restituta Receives 93-Point Score by James Suckling

James Suckling has released his ratings on the 2011 Brunellos and Pieve Santa Restituta received two 92+ scores for their 2011 vintage Brunellos:

gajsugarille-nvlabel300dpi93 points: Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille

A powerful red with chewy tannins and hints of cedar and wood. Full-bodied, tight and tannic. I like the tannin tension. Needs two or three years to soften: Try in 2017.

92 points: Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina

A wonderfully polished, fruity red with cedar, berry and chocolate-powder aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, silky and delicious. Drink or hold.


Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille 2010 Scores 96 pts by Spectator

gajsugarille-nvlabel300dpi96 points: Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille 2010

The core of black cherry and plum is shaded by vanilla, coconut and sweet spice notes in this intensely flavored yet fluid red. Long and beautifully integrated at this young stage, with tobacco, leather and mineral details emerging on the aftertaste. Needs time. Best from 2019 through 2036.—B.S.


Wine Advocate Rates Pieve Santa Restituta 2010 Brunellos with 96+ Points!

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.

gajrenn-nvbottle300dpi97 pts – 2010 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina

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


Antonio Galloni Rates Pieve Santa Restituta 2010 Brunello with 94+ Points

gajrennina-nvlabel300dpi95 pts: Pieve Santa Restituta 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina

The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is distinctly powerful and savory in this vintage. Iron, smoke and tobacco open up in a wine that is constantly changing in the glass. Initially quite reticent, the 2010 blossoms with air as the aromatics release and the tannins start to soften. There is a lot going on in this striking, highly nuanced Brunello from the Gaja family. If opened young, the 2010 needs a lot of air. I would be tempted to cellar the 2010 for at least a few years given the personality of the vintage and the wine’s track record for evolution in bottle. Drinking window: 2018 – 2030 –ANTONIO GALLONI

94 pts: Pieve Santa Restituta 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille

The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille is darker, richer and more voluptuous than the Rennina. There the flavors are dark and assertive, with notable mid-palate richness and overall volume that flows through to the finish. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and cloves all fill out the wine’s broad-shouldered frame nicely. Hints of mocha, chocolate, spices and black-fleshed fruit add the final layers of nuance. Here, too, readers will have to be patient, although my sense is that the Sugarille will open up before the Rennina, which is quite unusual, but reflective of where both wines are today. Drinking window: 2018 – 2030 –ANTONIO GALLONI


2014 Harvest Report – Montalcino-Pieve Santa Restituta

During 2014 vintage we noticed several similarities in the climatic trend of the four areas in which we operate: Barbaresco, Barolo, Bolgheri and Montalcino. Generally speaking:

  • The vintage was distinguished by mild winter and a warm spring.
  • Summer time brought a high level of unpredictability to the weather, with abundant rainfalls above average. In such a kind of condition, punctual and frequent preventive interventions were crucial to keep the quality level of the grapes.
  • To allow the perfect grape ripening, we increased and hastened the leaves thinning. Meanwhile, the natural grassing of the soil was crucial to contrast any kind of water scarcity in the vineyards.
  • A strict green harvest and a stronger selection of the grapes made the difference.
  • Summer months were characterized by a cool climate and strong differences between day and night temperatures. This led to a slow and regular phenol maturation of the grapes and allowed the correct thickening of the skins.
  • Grapes’ health conditions were good; they went regularly through the fermentation, also thanks to the appropriated level of alcohol.
  • The grapes had a good thickness of skins; this allowed the development of a nice aromatic complexity and brought the correct color intensity.
  • In terms of quantity, there was a 20-35% general decrease in relation to the 2013 harvest.
  • We will make a further selection in the cellar which will allow us to obtain good quality wines, with peaks of excellence.


  • In Montalcino, the climate trend was different from the last 20 years, more similar to the ’80s: presenting mild winter, humid and warm spring and a not-too-hot summer.
  • The abundance of rainfalls during winter and springtime cooled down the soil temperature. This led to a slowing down of the vegetative growth of the vines. The blossoming came with a delay of almost two weeks in comparison with previous years, thus avoiding the scattered summer hail storms.
  • The first part of September was characterized by light Tramontane winds and presented a mild and dry weather. The winds helped in maintaining the health conditions of the grapes and slightly hastened the ripening. For this reason, the harvest began on 22 September and ended, without any interruption, on 7 October.


The lime-rich, rocky subsoil of the Pieve Santa Restituta estate helps to define the balance of red fruit, minerality, and tannin in the winery’s Brunello di Montalcino.


Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grosso.

Vineyards: With the 2005 vintage, for the first time in its history, the Gaja family decided to produce a classic Brunello di Montalcino without single-vineyard designation, blended from the estate’s top growing sites in Sugarille, Santo Pietro, Castagno, and Pian dei Cerri.

Fermentation: Four weeks in stainless-steel vats.

Aging: Twelve months in barrique (first-, second-, and third-passage casks), 12 months in botti (large thirty-year-old casks).

Vineyard notes: The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino marked the first release of this label. The growing sites in the southwestern subzone of the appellation impart structure and polished tannin to this wine.




Pieve Santa Restituta’s top growing site, Sugarille.


Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Sugarille

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grosso.

Vineyard: Sugarille.

Fermentation: Four weeks in stainless-steel vats.

Aging: Twelve months in barrique (first-, second-, and third-passage casks), 12 months in botti (large thirty-year-old casks).

Vineyard notes: According to archives found at Pieve Santa Restituta, the Sugarille growing site was already devoted to the cultivation of grapes for wine by the mid-16th century (1541). The name Sugarille (SOO-gah-REEL-leh) is derived from the Latin suber (sughero in Italian), meaning cork oak, possibly because cork trees were found there. Here, in the estate’s top growing site, white rocky soils (poor in nutrients and rich in calcareous clay), excellent drainage, south-western exposure and ventilation arriving from the Tyrrhenian sea to the west create the ideal conditions for a long-lived, structured expression of Sangiovese Grosso.




The “Castagno” (chestnut tree) vineyard at Pieve Santa Restituta.


Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grosso.

Vineyards: Santo Pietro, Castagno, Pian dei Cerri.

Fermentation: 4 weeks in stainless-steel vats.

Aging: Twelve months in barrique (first-, second-, and third-passage casks), 12 months in botti (large thirty-year-old casks).

Vineyard notes: The designation Rennina (rehn-NEE-nah) first appears in the High Middle Ages and is derived from the late-Roman name of the estate, Fundus Rescianum, denoting a state-owned farm. Since the Gaja family’s acquisition of the historic estate in 1994, three growing sites have been devoted to the cultivation of Sangiovese Grosso grapes for the production of Brunello di Montalcino: Santo Pietro (St. Peter), Castagno (Chestnut Tree), and Pian dei Cerri (Turkish Oak Flats). Here, lime-rich subsoils, southwest exposure and ventilation arriving from the Tyrrhenian sea to the west deliver a well-balanced Brunello di Montalcino, defined by its characteristic red fruit notes, minerality and polished tannin.