BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA
What is it and what differentiates it from Brunello di Montalcino? For years I’ve been trying to understand what it is about Riserva that justifies its fame and price. At Le Chiuse, Riserva has been made since the time of my maternal great-great-grandfather Tancredi Biondi-Santi and his quest for a wine that would last over time, almost eternally. My mother Simonetta, after she inherited Le Chiuse, worked with my father Nicolò to combine production of Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino with that of Riserva, starting in 1995. For the Riserva they used the smallest grape bunches from the oldest vineyard to obtain a wine of character that would endure over time. I grew up in that environment. When I began presenting the wines of Le Chiuse around the world, a frequent comment about the Riserva was that it was being tasted too early, before it could express its best. I noticed people striving to give a specific identity to Brunello Riserva to distinguish it from Brunello “annata” instead of just price. That inspired me to seek a way to convey the authentic identity of Brunello Riserva, though what may seem to be an obvious solutions—using grapes from a select vineyard or adapting a special winemaking style—would make no sense at Le Chiuse. That’s because our vines registered for Brunello are all in the same micro-area, constituting a sort of unique vineyard, while our philosophy of winemaking is viscerally linked to tradition, excluding innovations or a more modern approach. The answer turned out to be the simplest and most natural: to give time to a wine that asks for time. That’s why, following experience, we decided to postpone the release of our Riserva from the sixth to the tenth year after the harvest, extending aging in bottle from one to almost five years. To do this, we enlarged the cellar to a depth of seven meters below ground level to create a perfect natural environment for aging. This allows us to present a Riserva of greater balance and complexity without, however, altering our philosophy of wine or the expression of our terrain. The time lapse between the release of Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino is now repeated between Brunello “annata” and Brunello Riserva, giving rise to three distinct voices all in the same chorus. Brunello Riserva Le Chiuse from 2010 is the first vintage designated as Riserva DIECIANNI.