James Suckling (of Wine Spectator fame) said “If you ever wanted a Brunello di Montalcino for your cellar to age for decades, then buy the 2016 vintage when the wines come out in the market in January 2021.” He also declared it (along with it’s less ageworthy predecessor) to be the greatest vintage of all time.
But with all these critical accolades – are the 2016s really worth it? Here’s how Vinous framed it: “But now the big question is: Do the 2016s live up to our expectations? Oh, yes; they certainly do.”
But what’s really behind the critical fascination is not the quality – though it’s overflowing – it’s their belief that they’ve never tasted a vintage in their lifetimes that has this sort of aging potential. This vintage is one of those rarest of occurrences, where the forces of nature perfectly aligned to create wine of historic proportions.
So the question with the 2016s isn’t quality – it’s going to be price and access to these highly-sought after bottles. I’ve got a few very interesting things coming down the pipeline (including some direct imports opportunities) but none is more exciting than today’s Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino 2016
99 Points, James Suckling
The complexity and beauty to this is really something with cherry, walnut, tobacco and cigar-box character. Sweet cherries. It’s full-bodied and deep with super intensity and power. Layered and beautiful. Really refined tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation gives this added character. Goes on for minutes. Try after 2025.
94 Points, Wine Advocate
The Castiglion del Bosco 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is a fruit-forward expression with soft cherry, blackberry, tilled earth and a touch of sweet spice. This wine is made in an especially accessible style that prizes ripe fruit and oak aging (in both barrique and botte). Fruit comes from a 52-hectare vineyard with galestro schist and clay. The tannins are more evident here compared to the 2015 vintage; however, this wine is almost ready to go with beef tagliata topped with porcini mushrooms.