Time to Buy: 2021 Brunello di Montalcino

2019 Brunello di Montalcino


In any vintage, no matter how challenging, some winemakers will manage to make compelling wine. But there is no question that when Mother Nature gives a wine region perfect weather through the end of the harvest, all winemakers in the region will shine, and the best will make wines that are exceptional.


Perfect seasons are becoming more rare. Volatile weather patterns are challenging winemakers in most areas of the world. Alternating patterns of heavy rains, heat, and drought make for challenging conditions to deliver outstanding wines year after year.


The DOCG region of Brunello di Montalcino is no exception. 2015 and 2016 especially were very good years. 2017 and 2018 brought challenges. The 2019 vintage is turning out to be an exceptionally good year, very likely the equal of 2016. So if you like Brunello di Montalcino, this is highly important, because the 2019 Brunello di Montalcino wines are just now being released, beginning in January of 2024, four years after the vintage was first sent to barrel. Such is the aging requirement for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. (The 2019 Riserva wines will be released one year later, beginning in January 2025 – 5 years following harvest.)



The hills of Montalcino, as seen from Altesino Winery


And here’s why you should start buying now: The years following 2019, from 2020 through last year’s 2023 harvest, were not exceptionally good. Combinations of high heat – the Sangiovese grape does not do well in high heat – or excessive rains were present in each year. So it will not be until 2029 that the 2024 vintage will come to market – assuming it is a good year!


Here’s a graphic view of the vintage-to-purchase window:


Vintage: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Quality: excellent fair fair excellent Hot Vintage Hot Vintage Hot Vintage Rains, Reduced Yields TBD
Release: Jan’21 Jan’22 Jan’23 Jan’24 Jan’25 Jan’26 Jan’27 Jan’28 Jan’29

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