2018 La Fiorita, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy.
The deep garnet hued 2018 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino is beautifully floral, mineral toned and elegant in the glass, well portioned and vinous on the medium/full palate that displays classic Sangiovese flavors led by black cherry, plum, red currant, blood orange and raspberry fruits, sandalwood, pipe tobacco, bay leaf, anise, crushed flowers, roasted herbs and a touch of Mission fig. The seamless essence of this wine is faithful of the house style here with well integrated and satiny underlying tannins and a lengthy finish that is Brunello through and through, and for such a young wine, it really impresses and should fill out further still, an excellent pure pleasure effort from Natalie Oliveros and her exceptional team at La Fiorita. For this Brunello, the grapes are macerated for between 18 and 30 days for maximum color and flavor extraction with hand pilage and pump-overs, keeping the cap fully wet and with cool temps to capture all the deep fruit and perfume here. The American born Natalie Oliveros, is originally from northern New York, but with an Italian family, and her Calabrese “Nonna” or Grandma, according to Oliveros, made sure she knew her heritage and she was introduced to wine and winemaking at a young age, with her family making wine in her basement. After an interesting career in films, she now runs one of the best modern Brunello estates, making a beautiful collection of wines, with more grace than power, including her regular bottling of Brunello di Montalcino, that in years like this rival wines that sell for twice the price or more.

The La Fiorita Brunello is from three distinct vineyards, Collosorbo (South), Pian Bossolino (East) and Giardinello (West) that are set on the complex mineral rich soils here including calcarous-red and grey clay, clay loam-galestro, and sandy clay loams, all which, along with the warm climate and mix of exposures add to the whole, giving fruit intensity, stony/chalky character, balanced acidity and heightened aromatics. The normal Brunello here at La Fiorita is fermented with 100% de-stemmed and carefully sorted Sangiovese Grosso grapes with separate lot fermentation in Slavonian oak vats before being aged 3 years in a combination of traditional large French oak casks or “Botte” (26 and 37 HL), then typically matured an extra year, 2 months in concrete and 10 months in the bottle before being released, as per the DOCG requirements. La Fiorita is a relatively young winery and as the winery notes, in the early 2000s, parallel to her adult entertainment career, Natalie was introduced to Roberto Cipresso, a famous winemaking consultant and co-owner of La Fiorita, and they started to collaborate on a series of Italian wines, which she marketed and sold with some success. Now, Natalie is the main Owner of La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino, and she has a top team around her, including Luigi Peroni, the Estate Manager, who has 20 years of experience here and Vincenzo Pirrone, a very talented young and upcoming winemaker that has really lived the fortunes here with a series of fabulous wines in recent years, including these 2018s! I highly recommend the La Fiorita Brunello bottlings, in particular this one and Oliveros’ Rosso di Montalcino, both, elegantly styled, offer big bang for the bucks.
($70 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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