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Brunello

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.

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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.

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Sugarille

Pieve Santa Restituta’s top growing site, Sugarille.

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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.

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Rennina

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

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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.

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Wine Advocate: 97 Points for 2015 Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

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Monica Larner of Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded a score of 97 points to Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino 2015.

“The more muscular and fruit-forward of the two Brunelli made by Pieve Santa Restituta is the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille. This is a darkly saturated and rich wine that pours from the bottle with dark fruit, plum and black currant. Velvety in texture, tactile and generous, this is a long-term wine to set aside in your cellar. Only 6,000 bottles were made. You’ll want to give it time to relax and take on more volume with age. Truth be told, like the Barbaresco wines from Gaja that have changed stylistically going from a more extracted style to a streamlined approach, these two wines from the family’s Montalcino property seem to have evolved along similar lines. Sugarille has gone from being more flashy and contemporary to understated and classic in this newest incarnation.”

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Wine Advocate: 96 Points for 2015 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino

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Monica Larner of Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded a score of 96 points to Pieve Santa Restituta 2015 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino.

“The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is beautifully balanced and elegant. The wine is successfully streamlined and focused on the nuanced characteristics of the otherwise warm and sunny 2015 vintage. Rennina is often considered to be the more lithe and graceful of Gaja’s two Brunellos (the other being Sugarille that is also reviewed here). The bouquet opens to pretty berry nuances, blue flower, lavender, grilled herb and powdery licorice. Despite the more delicate approach, Rennina delivers ample power in the mouth with fresh acidity and tight tannins. I’d suggest opening this bottle at the 10-year mark.”

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Wine Spectator: 95 Points for 2015 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino

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Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator has awarded a score of 95 points to Pieve Santa Restituta 2015 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino. 

95 points
“Aromatic, evoking wild herb and balsamic notes of juniper, thyme and pine, along with flavors of black cherry, plum and iron. Firmly structured and fresh, offering a long, complex aftertaste. Unfolds pleasantly and maintains balance. Best from 2023 through 2043. 550 cases imported.”

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Wine Spectator: 94 Points for 2015 Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

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Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator has awarded 94 points to Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino 2015

“A concentrated, muscular red, featuring a dense matrix of tannins that squeezes the black cherry and black currant flavors today, with tar and iron notes chiming in. Finishes on the gruff side. Overall, this is balanced and long. Be patient. Best from 2024 through 2043. 450 cases imported.”

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Wine Spectator: 2013 Rennina Awarded 93 Points

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93 points: Pieve Santa Restituta 2013 Rennina (Brunello di Montalcino)

This is fragrant, offering cherry, leather, floral and spice notes. On the palate, this remains fresh, with persistent flavors and fine harmony. Dusty tannins pull everything together on the finish. There’s plenty of energy here. Best from 2021 through 2035.”- Bruce Sanderson.

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Wine Enthusiast: 94 Pts for 2013 Rennina

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94 points: Pieve Santa Restituta 2013 Rennina (Brunello di Montalcino)

This perfumed Brunello offers enticing scents of pressed violet, rose, talcum powder, wild berry, eucalyptus and a whiff of exotic spice. On the structured palate, firm fine-grained tannins provide support for dried black cherry, licorice, vanilla and a hint of espresso. Drink from 2023 through 2033.”- Kerin O’Keefe.

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Wine Enthusiast: 96 Pts for 2013 Sugarille

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96 points: Pieve Santa Restituta 2013 Sugarille (Brunello di Montalcino) – Cellar Selection

Underbrush, new leather, wild herb and dark-skin berry aromas meld with balsamic whiffs of eucalyptus. The full-bodied firmly structured palate evokes raspberry compote, black cherry marinated in spirits, tobacco and star anise set against a backbone of close-grained tannins. This will age for decades. Drink 2023–2043.”- Kerin O’Keefe.

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WS: Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille 2013 Gets 94 Points

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Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille 2013 – 94 Points

“A mix of sweet plum, cherry, bouillon and graphite aromas and flavors, all backed by a solid structure, this is dense and tightly wound, with terrific balance and a long, focused finish. Best from 2022 through 2036,” – B.S.

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Brunello di Montalcino 2012

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Appellation: Brunello di Montalcino D.O.P.

Grape variety: 100% Sangiovese.

The quality obtained in 2012 from several vineyards has not been quite up to our standards. Therefore, following a long established tradition, we decided to sell in bulk part of the wine produced and to sacrifice the bottling of Rennina and Sugarille for a better BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO 2012. This is the only wine released from the Pieve Santa Restituta winery in this harvest.

Climate and harvest: The weather trend of the 2012 vintage featured a mild winter season combined with a dry springtime and a warm summer. Beneficial rainfalls came by the end of August 2012, leading to a positive decrease of the temperature. This helped the vines in their physiological cycle and thus the regular ripening of the grapes. The harvest began on September 10 and ended on September 29. There has been a 10% production loss compared with previous years. The Brunello 2012 displays intense color, good structure and bright acidity.

Vineyards:  A small part of the grapes from the Rennina and Sugarille vineyards are blended with those from the nine-hectare Vineyard in Torrenieri, in the north-eastern area of Montalcino. The soil in Torrenieri is a mixture of clay, tufa and sand while thesoil in Rennina and Sugarille is clayey-calcareous.

Winemaking method: The grapes from the different vineyards ferment and macerate separately for around three weeks. After 24 months of ageing in oak, the wines are blended and then aged for another six months in concrete vats. First vintage produced 2005.

Tasting notes: The Brunello 2012 shows a deep garnet color. The bouquet features layered notes of spices and balsamic herbs such as anise, clove, and juniper. In a second moment the fruit opens up with notes of black cherry and ripe plum. Final hints of hazelnut and fresh almond. The palate shows dense savory notes of tar refreshed by precise and sweet tannins. Overall, the medium structure and the balance featured in the Brunello 2012 lead to great drinkability combined with serious ageing potential.

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Outstanding Reviews for 2011 Sugarille, Rennina from International Wine Report

In a new tasting report on 2011 Brunello, Sugarille and Rennina have received outstanding reviews from International Wine Report:

GAJA Brunello di Montalcino ‘Sugarille’ 2011
94 Points
The 2011 ‘Sugarille’ Brunello di Montalcino is a absolutely seductive showing. It instantly opens with alluring aromas of black cherries and blackberries woven together with spices, floral, hazelnut and even hints of licorice which all come together and burst from the glass. This possesses a rich, polished texture with remarkable overall balance and depth as it expands beautifully onto the long lingering finish. In terms of style, this leans more to the modern side, but without question a well-made wine and extremely impressive Brunello from Angelo Gaja which will age gracefully for years to come. (Best 2018-2031)

GAJA Brunello di Montalcino ‘Rennina’ 2011
93 Points
The 2011 ‘Rennina’ Brunello di Montalcino presents a completely modern style, with loads of ripe dark fruit. As this instantly opens, it releases aromas of black cherries and blackberries woven together with spices, floral, leather and even hints of white truffle and vanilla all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this is full-bodied with a polished, yet muscular backbone and notable depth as it heads into the long finish. When tasting the 2011’s from Angelo Gaja side by side, I found the ‘Sugarille’ to be the more complete wine of the two, however ‘Rennina’ was the more expressive wine at this stage. (Best 2016-2029)

The International Wine Report’s full 2011 Brunello report is available online here.