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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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Jeb Dunnuck Reviews New Releases from GAJA

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Jeb Dunnuck has published a special report reviewing the new releases from GAJA.

Highlights from Dunnuck’s report include:

“This article looks at the new releases from the Gaja family and includes their flagship Barbaresco and Barolo releases as well as their releases from Pieve Santa Restituta and Ca’Marcanda.”

“Looking at the Gaja releases, these come mostly from the 2017 vintage, which was a challenging, scorching hot year that made reaching full phenolic ripeness difficult. The 2017s possess lighter colors, more streamlined textures, and present, firm tannins.”

“The Pieve Santa Restituta estate was acquired by the Gaja family in 1994 and is located in the southwest portion of Brunello di Montalcino, a region known for producing structured, concentrated wines. I was able to taste their Brunello Rennina and Brunello Sugarille, both showing beautifully yet with distinctly different styles. While the Rennina comes from a handful of vineyards and shows an upfront, expressive style, the Sugarille comes from a single site of more white, rocky, limestone soils and is a darker, more black-fruited expression of Brunello. Both wines show the ripe, sunny, sexy style of the vintage nicely.” 

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Jeb Dunnuck: 96 Points for 2015 Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

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Jeb Dunnuck has awarded a score of 96 points to 2015 Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino.

“A darker, more smoky, black-fruited effort than the Rennina, the 2015 Brunello Di Montalcino Sugarille offers up awesome roasted herbs, licorice, graphite, and woodsmoke aromatics, full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and a terrific sense of elegance that comes through with time in the glass. This is another layered, perfectly balanced wine from the team at Gaja that’s going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years.”

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Jeb Dunnuck: 96 Points for 2015 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino

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Jeb Dunnuck has awarded a score of 96 points to 2015 Pieve Santa Restituta Rennina Brunello di Montalcino.

“Coming from a handful of vineyards, the 2015 Brunello Di Montalcino Rennina has a gorgeous, classic bouquet of ripe black cherries, redcurrants, dried earth, baking spices, and a hint of licorice. Beautifully balanced on the palate, with full-bodied richness and plenty of oomph, it offers silky tannins, a solid spine of acidity, and just flawless balance. This rock star Brunello is going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and deliver two decades of prime drinking.”

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Wine Advocate: 95+ Points for 2016 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino

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Monica Larner of Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded a score of 95+ points to 2016 Pieve Santa Restituta Rennina Brunello di Montalcino.

“The Pieve Santa Restituta 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina (with 15,000 bottles produced) offers intensity and beautifully concentrated fruit. The bouquet reveals layers of wild cherry, rose, blue flower and candied orange peel. However, if you are expecting a more subdued Rennina, that’s not what you get in this classic 2016 vintage. The wine is buzzing with energy and vitality, with a lifted and an especially brilliant set of aromas. You might also detect a hint of fresh peppercorn or coriander seed that gives the wine a veil of the exotic.”

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Wine Advocate: 95 Points for 2016 Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

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Monica Larner of Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded a score of 95 points to 2016 Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino.

“The Pieve Santa Restituta 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille opens to the dark, fruity intensity that defines this five-hectare site with schistous clay galestro-rich soils. Sugarille always shows more heft and density, and this impression is amplified in a balanced vintage such as 2016. But with the memory of the 2015 vintage fresh in my mind, I feel that this edition is slightly lither and more streamlined in terms of mouthfeel. The tannins are direct and linear, but the fruit padding is lessened compared to the slightly warm 2015 vintage. In most cases, I prefer 2016 to 2015, but in the case of Sugarille (a 10,000-bottle release), I give a tiny upper hand to the older vintage thanks to its increased complexity and richer textural fiber.”

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Vinous: 96 Points for 2016 Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

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Eric Guido of Vinous has awarded a score of 96 points to Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino 2016. 

“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille is a sleeping giant. Cool-toned, poised yet wonderfully elegant, it lifts from the glass with a gorgeous display of lavender and purple-tinged florals before giving way to crushed stone, blackberries and a hint of sour citrus. It’s silky and soft with a dense core of primary fruits, which creates a monolithic feel today yet tempts the imagination with what’s to come. Brisk acids, salty minerals and fine-grained tannins combine, adding clenching grip yet also further depths, tapering off to hints of tobacco and spiced orange. Its scale is large, yet so is its potential, as this well-muscled Brunello is geared for the cellar and sure to make a lot of people happy over the next ten to twenty years.”

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Vinous: 94 Points for 2016 Rennina Brunello di Montalcino

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Eric Guido of Vinous has awarded a score of 94 points to Pieve Santa Restituta Rennina Brunello di Montalcino 2016.

“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is a dark and youthfully understated beauty. A gorgeous display of tobacco and savory herbs gives way to tart cherries, currants, brown spice and earth tones, gaining further richness the longer it spends in the glass. It’s seamless, elegant and silky in feel, with layers of ripe red fruit offset by dried citrus, as notes of black tea, licorice, hints of olive and saturating minerals settle in. There’s so much going on here; yet beneath its polished elegance, a layer of fine tannins penetrates deeply, making for a dry and structured finale.”

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James Suckling: Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina 2015 Awarded 99 Points and #47 on Top 100 Wines of 2020

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Influential wine critic and Italian wine specialist James Suckling has recognized Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina 2015with a score of 99 points and the #47 position on his Top 100 Wines of 2020

Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Rennina 2015
99 points
#47, Top 100 Wines of 2020

“Extremely perfumed and pretty with dried berry, orange peel and fruit tea on the nose. Full-bodied, extremely tight and refined with superb tannin quality that shows polish, finesse and beauty. It goes on for minutes on the palate. One for the cellar. Best wine ever from here. Needs three or four years to come together.”

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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.”