Another case of wine memories of days of yore, while I was tasting wines at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source. I guess in the early days when I was self-educating myself about wines France and Italy were the two major points of interest for me, probably for the majority of wine drinkers back then, with Germany and Spain also in the running. I had finished high school and college before the 1976 wine tasting that changed the world. Growing up, in my old neighborhood, the odds of having a wine was low, but if we did, the wine was Italian. As a student, most of the Italian wines were much more affordable, and I am not even talking about the fiascha bottles of Chianti, those curious bottles of wine that had a rattan/wicker wrapping around the bottle that eventually became a candle holder. The basketry work, probably cost more than the wine that was in the bottle.
I had a chance to try Societa Agricola Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli DOCG 2016, and most of the time the wine is usually referred to as Altesino. The Palazzo Altesi which still overlooks the estate was built in the Fifteenth Century. Altesino has been owned by the Gnudi Angelini family since 2002. In 1975, they were one of the first to introduce a Cru wine, a single vineyard wine, in Brunello di Montalcino, as well as in Italy. Altesino has about fifty hectares of basically all Sangiovese, the grape of the region, and referred locally as Sangiovese di Montalcino. The Montosoli wine spends at least two years in casks, plus three to four months in French barriques, for a total of four years of aging, and then another four months in the bottle before release. This wine traditionally will age for twenty to thirty years and this is the latest release of this Cru wine. The wine had a beautiful ruby color with a floral nose with blackberry and balsamic notes. The wine offered rich dark fruit, some pepper with rich tannins and a wonderful long count finish, that just called for another taste.
I mentioned memories, because I have written about the Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG since their 1996 vintage, and if I had earlier, which may be possible, the label was lost. Brunello di Montalcino was the first region to get the DOCG designation. Most of my memories of this wine has been in restaurants. The basic Brunello di Montalcino is aged for four years, with a minimum of two years in large Slavonian Oak casks. The wine is a beautiful garnet color and an enticing nose of cherries, red fruit, and lavender. A big chewy wine, is the best way for me to describe it, and it will hold its own for a good twenty years. A really solid wine, but over the years, I have learned to expect the best from Altesino.