Today we offer the 2013 Brunello di Montalcino from Le Chiuse. Call it traditional or call it delicious wine, you choose. Poised, harmonious, layered Brunello is what ends up in your glass. Le Chiuse’s Brunellos have the legs to be cellared for a long time, yet they have a drinkability as young wines that is just so enticing. With 3years in large mostly older oak of 2-5,000L the sophistication from careful maturation pre-bottling shows. Crack it and decant it a few hours before devouring it. If you can hold off for 5 years you’ll be rewarded, wait 10-20 years and you’ll be in a very happy place.
Like Chianti, Sangiovese is at the core of Brunello, specifically the Sangiovese Grosso clone. Brunello has an incredible diversity of styles, the ‘modern style’ tend to be clinical, often oakey, to my mind lacking harmony. The ‘traditional’ employing old large oak show delicacy and restraint, even when blessed with some incredibly powerful fruit.
Le Chiuse is undoubtedly a traditional producer, yet they clearly understand hygiene. There’s no Brett in these babies. The Brunellos I’ve tasted from them to date have been beautiful wines.
The Le Chiuse holdings originate through hereditary title, passed down from ancestors, Jacobo Biondi and Clementina Santi. Wine production starting toward the end of the 19th century.
For most of its life, the fruit of the vineyard was destined, through lease, for Biondi-Santi’s Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. Upon the death of a family Fiorella in 1986, the Le Chiuse holding, right in the heart of Montalcino, passed to her daughter Simonetta Valiani. With her grandfather love for the lands and passion for making wine, Simonetta started to produce wine “Brunello Le Chiuse”. Together with her husband Nicolo’ Magnelli she restored the farm-buildings, the chapel, built a new underground-cellar and planted new vineyards. To maintain the wine typicality the new vineyards are implanted with wild feet all grafted one by one with the old vines stocks (60/70 years old).
The estate consists of 18 hectares, including vineyards, olive groves and forest situated on the north-northeast side of the Montalcino hill at 300 meters above sea level and on the south-east slope at 500 meters above sea level.
There are five Sangiovese Grosso vineyards on the property with respective ages of 26, 16,14,10 and 2 years old. Together, the vineyards occupy eight hectares and have an average vine density of 4,000 vines per hectare. The spurred cordon trained vines are, for the most part, from a Massal selection of Sangiovese Grosso from Il Greppo.
The terrain is of marine origin and, therefore, rich in fossil material. It is also composed of clay striations, as well as, a good presence of marl and tuff. The result of this composition is the production of a wine characterized by an exaltation of aromas, good body and an alcohol level that is never excessive.
Each year Le Chiuse produces approximately 30,000 bottles of wine between its Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and a classic method spumante called “Stellare”.
As the new shouts establish they are heavily thinned to control the yield and keep the canopy open.
In August, the green harvest takes place in which a selection of bunches is made. In the course of the green harvest, almost half of the entire production of the vineyards is purged – an average of 40-45 quintals per hectare are removed. This operation is fundamental to obtaining high quality, allowing a better maturation of the remaining bunches and giving a good concentration to the final wine. In addition, the low yields reduce the risk of attack from disease, guaranteeing healthy grapes.
The true harvest begins in the second half of September when the largest bunches are collected by hand for the Rosso di Montalcino and “Stellare”. After a few weeks, it is time for the smallest bunches to be harvested for the Brunello di Montalcino, and in the best years, the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva.
The grapes are selected and picked by hand. Taking advantage of the vicinity of the winery, the grapes make it from the vineyards to the de-stemmer and crusher in less than a half hour. Using a gravitational system, the must falls into steel vats to begin fermentation.
Once de-stemmed and crushed, the grapes are gravitationally fed into steel vats. Fermentation using indigenous yeasts takes place in thermo-controlled tanks that do not exceed 29°C. Throughout fermentation and maceration, the must undergoes remontage and delestage to obtain the best extraction from the skins. After 18 days, the wine is separated and left to rest for approximately three months. During this period, malolactic fermentation takes place.
In January, the wine is racked into large Slovenian oak barrels that hold 20-30 hl. The wine will refine here for 12 months in the case of Rosso di Montalcino, 36 months in the case of Brunello di Montalcino and 48 months in the case of Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. During aging the wine is racked regularly.
Before bottling, the wine goes back into steel tanks while DOC and DOCG certifications are requested.
After light filtering, the wine is bottled and then refines an additional eight months before release.
Where in the World do they Come From?
If you want to experience the energy, elegance and ageworthy structure that first drew wine lovers and collectors to Brunello di Montalcino decades ago, then 2013 is your vintage. A classic vintage, the best 2013s boast remarkable aging potential not seen in years. The top wines are stunning, with a radiance missed in many of the muscular, more approachable and higher alcohol Brunellos from recent vintages. The 2013s will require patience to reach their maximum potential. Unlike the extremely warm, dry years that have become the norm in Montalcino since the mid-1990s (exceptions include 1998, 2002 and 2005), the 2013 vintage was a blast from the past. It was a cool year, with abundant rainfall in spring and the first part of the summer. Careful vineyard management was needed to keep the grapes free of disease. The 2013 growing season proved incredibly long and slow. Cooler temperatures prevailed in September and the first half of October, and the grapes benefitted from ample sunshine and breezy conditions. It produced fragrant, medium-bodied wines loaded with finesse. The best are impeccably balanced, with vibrant acidity and firm but noble tannins.
*Magnums have already sold out. Wines will be delivered in April weather permitting.