James Suckling has released his ratings on the 2011 Brunellos and Pieve Santa Restituta received two 92+ scores for their 2011 vintage Brunellos:
93 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.
96 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.
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.
97 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
95 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
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.
Specifically, in MONTALCINO – PIEVE SANTA RESTITUTA:
- 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.
Pieve Di Santa Restituta 2008 Brunello Di Montalcino Rennina
Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
In a vintage where so many wines already appear tired, Gaja’s 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina jumps from the glass with vibrant aromas and flavors. Violets, black cherries, tobacco, licorice and menthol all appear later, adding further shades of complexity. The tannins are firm yet beautifully integrated. Pieve Santa Restituta fans know than Rennina can be deceptively medium in body, yet it has a great track record for aging. Today, the wine is simply gorgeous. This is one of the few 2008s I would buy to cellar. There is little doubt the Rennina is one of the standouts in 2008.
Drinking window: 2015 – 2026
—Antonio Galloni, September 2013
From the July/August 2013 issue of International Wine Cellar:
Pieve Santa Restituta (Gaja)
2008 Brunello Di Montalcino Rennina ($175) Bright dark red-ruby. Musky aromas of dark cherry, dried herbs and iron pick up a sweet balsamic element with aeration. Supple and sweet, with flavors of dark cherry, minerals and graphite, along with a strong saline quality that lingers nicely on the brightly acidic finish. This is still a baby but holds considerable potential. Rennina is made from a blend of grapes culled from three estate vineyards (Castagno, Santo Pietro and Pian dei Cerri).
2008 Brunello Di Montalcino Sugarille ($190) Deep ruby-red. Inviting aromas of dark cherry, blueberry, minerals, and violet; the nose is much deeper and more complex than Gaja’s two other Brunellos. Begins rather stern, then opens with aeration to offer exceptionally pure and deep flavors of minerally dark berries and plums. Finishes extremely long, suave and saline with an impressive penetrating quality to the nuanced dark fruit and mineral flavors. 93 (+?)
June 2013 #207
Leave it to Angelo Gaja and his team to make two of the most impressive Brunellos of the vintage. Both wines are magnificent in 2008. As always, the Rennina is the more floral and feminine of the wines, while the Sugarille is built on a firmer structural core. In the past, the two single-vineyard designate Brunellos have been further away in terms of quality, but in 2008 they are much closer. I suspect that has to do with the introduction of new non-vineyard designate Brunello, a wine I did not taste for this article. The Pieve Santa Restituta Brunellos typically offer considerable early appeal, but they have also proven to age exceptionally well.
Pieve Santa Restituta 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina
In a vintage where so many wines already appear tired, Gaja’s 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina jumps from the glass with vibrant aromas and flavors. Violets, black cherries, tobacco, licorice and menthol all appear later, adding further shades of complexity. The tannins are firm yet beautifully integrated. Pieve Santa Restituta fans know than Rennina can be deceptively medium in body, yet it has a great track record for aging. Today, the wine is simply gorgeous. This is one of the few 2008s I would buy to cellar. There is little doubt the Rennina is one of the standouts in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2026.
Pieve Santa Restituta 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille
The 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille is also exceptional. Firm tannins support a core of dark, expressive fruit in a wine that impresses for its depth, richness and concentration. Black cherries, tar, licorice, smoke and incense emerge over time as the Sugarille shows its typical brooding personality. Layers of fruit continue to build to the huge, enveloping finish. The Sugarille is another wine clearly built for aging. As is typically the case, the Sugarille is more tannin and vibrant than the Rennina. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2026.