Rosso di Montalcino is often referred to as Baby Brunello. Made from 100 percent Sangiovese and often from the same vineyards as its famous brother, Brunello di Montalcino, it costs just one-third the price. See our reviews of over 60 Rossos from the 2009 and 2010 vintages at www.iwinereview.com. In this article, we highlight our 10 favorite Rossos of these two exceptionally good vintages. Of course, with just one year in barrel or tank, Rossos are lighter in body and lack the earthy complexity of Brunello, but they have a special charm all their own. Much more information on Rossos and Brunellos can be found in our just released Report # 31 Brunello di Montalcino.
Argiano 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($26) 91+ Ready to drink now, the elegant Argiano Rosso offers spicy red fruit and round tannins
Biondi-Santi 2008 Rosso di Montalcino ($75) 91 Although it’s the oldest Rosso we tasted, the Biondi-Santi needs still more time in bottle. It’s exceptionally pure with dried cherry and mineral notes and is in a style we find especially attractive.
Campogiovanni 2010 Rosso di Montalcino ($30) 91 The Campogiovanni Rosso is fruit-forward and almost ready to drink. Aged 12 months in Slavonian oak, this Rosso is more complex than many.
Canalicchio di Sopra 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($30) 91 Full of red fruit and spice, this elegant wine is ready to drink now. The 2010 vintage, which we tasted at Vinitaly, is also superb.
Capanna 2010 Rosso di Montalcino ($27) 91 Packed with sweet red fruit on a concentrated palate, The Capanna Rosso needs a few more months in bottle to show its best. However, the equally good 2009 vintage is ready to drink now.
Collelceto 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($30) 91+ The Collelceto Rosso is light bodied and especially elegant with integrated tannins and excellent balance. Enjoy now.
Fattoria dei Barbi 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($25) 91 This wine is especially aromatic and softly textured, with pure red plum flavors and gripping tannins.
Ferrero 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($22) 91 The Ferrero Rosso offers bright red fruit, pure flavors on the palate, and an elegant mouth feel.
Il Poggione 2010 Rosso di Montalcino ($30) 92 The 2010 Il Poggione Rosso is a real Baby Brunello, delivering red cherry and vanilla oak aromas and flavors on a soft, lush palate. Approachable now. The 2009 vintage is a bit more reserved at the moment and could use more time in bottle.
Le Macioche 2009 Rosso di Montalcino ($40) 91 The Le Macioche is another Baby Brunello with deeper color and flavor than the typical Rosso.
Uccelliera 2010 Rosso di Montalcino ($30) 92 The 2010 Rosso offers fresh fruit and loam married to chalky tannins. It’s young, elegant, and will benefit from time in bottle. On the other hand, the 2009 is more evolved, ready to drink, and almost as good.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler