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2016 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino

2016 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino

94 JS


From the critics:

94 VM

90 WE

Featured Review
A firm, linear red with cherry, plum and hints of chocolate, as well as bark. Some fruit-tea leaves as well. It’s full-bodied and layered, chewy and intense. Fine tannins. Drink after 2023. James Suckling

James Suckling | 94 JS

Critic Reviews

The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is a fruit-focused and high-energy effort, lifting up with a spicy and slightly exotic display, showing sour cherry, wild strawberry, savory herbs and hints of animal musk. It’s silky in texture with fleshy red berries further excited by juicy acids, giving way to salty minerals and pretty inner florals. Tannins saturate through the finish, yet this remains balanced throughout with a resonating note of black licorice. The 2016 Piancornello is very impressive. Well done!

Vinous Media | 94 VM
A firm, linear red with cherry, plum and hints of chocolate, as well as bark. Some fruit-tea leaves as well. It’s full-bodied and layered, chewy and intense. Fine tannins. Drink after 2023.

James Suckling | 94 JS
The aromas recall dark-skinned fruit, underbrush and cooking spice. The concentrated palate offers dried black cherry, clove and licorice alongside dusty tannins. Drink 2023–2030.

Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

Wine Details for 2016 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino

Type of Wine Italy Red
Varietal Sangiovese : When it comes to Tuscan wine, Sangiovese is king. This mighty grape variety resides not only in Tuscany, but throughout Italy. The varietal is responsible for some of the greatest wines in the country, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the infamous “Super Tuscans.” Sangiovese is extremely capable of adapting to the various climates and terroirs of Italy but is quite at home in Tuscany, where it is believed to have been birthed.

Like most ancient grape varieties, there are many speculations about Sangiovese’s true time and place of origin. Some theories claim the Sangiovese grape dates back to the Etruscan era and cultivated mostly in Tuscany. Another theory is that it was cultivated by the ancient Romans. Sangiovese is believed to have been first documented in 1590 by agronomist, Gian Vettorio Soderini who talked about ‘Sanghiogeto” in an essay. There is no definitive evidence that ‘Sanghiogeto’ is the Sangiovese grape that is beloved and famous today; however, it is still considered by many to be the first appearance of the grape in written fashion. It wouldn’t be until the 18th century that Sangiovese would become well-known and started being planted all over the region. It was mentioned in l’Oenologia Toscana, written by Cosimo Villafranchi in 1773, in which he discussed the winemaking process of Chianti and the use of Sangiovese.

Today, Sangiovese accounts for 10% of all winemaking grapes planted in Italy. This statistic may not seem significant but taken into consideration there are 350 authorized grape varieties across 20 wine regions, it is quite remarkable. Due to its versatility, Sangiovese is one of the most diverse grape varieties used in winemaking. However, the grape can be temperamental and sensitive to the environment in which it is planted. It is very much similar to the Pinot Noir in this fashion. Wines made with Sangiovese grapes can turn out tasting extremely different, based on climate, terroir and process. While the varietal can successfully grow most places, it tends to grow best in hot, dry climates with terroir composed mostly of shallow, limestone soils. Famously native to Tuscany but Sangiovese also grows in many other winemaking locations in Italy, such as Umbria in Central Italy, Campania in the South and Romagna where the grape is known as Sangiovese di Romagna.

There are approximately 71,000 hectares of Sangiovese covering the earth’s surface, 62,725 of which reside in Italy (mostly Tuscany). Outside Italy, Sangiovese has grown quite popular in many winegrowing regions around the world, including the French Island of Corsica, where it ranks 2nd among all Sangiovese growing localities. It was introduced to Argentina in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants and remains successful in the region of Mendoza. Although Sangiovese was brought to America in the 1880’s, it was unpopular until the 1980’s when “Super Tuscans” caused a re-emergence of the grape in Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast. Sangiovese has also gained popularity in Barossa Valley in Southern Australia.

The thin skinned, medium sized, blue-black berries of Sangiovese produce medium to full bodied, dry and highly acidic wines with fruity and savory flavors of plum, cherry, licorice, leather, tobacco and dust. Sangiovese may be synonymous with Brunello, and vice-versa, but the world of Sangiovese is far more intricate than a single wine, a single village, hillside town or designated area of control. It is the exclusive varietal and shining star in Brunello di Montalcino and provides the backbone for Chianti and many of the great Italian wines, and has gained an outstanding reputation as one of the world’s great grape varietals.

Country Italy : Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.

Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.

The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.

The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.

With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.

Region Tuscany : Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.

Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.
Subregion Brunello di Montalcino


Producer Piancornello : The centuries old Tuscan tradition of winemaking is alive and well in Montalcino, thanks to families like the Monacis, who have perpetuated the legacy of not only family winemaking, but the bond between man and terroir. Born out of love for Montalcino, the land, wine, culture and tradition; Piancornello is a tale of passion that begins in 1950. Today the family estate of Piancornello is producing high quality Tuscan wines through love and care of the land and the learned skills handed down over four generations.

After falling in love with Montalcino, current owner and winemaker Claudio Monaci’s great-grandfather, Zefiro Pieri purchased the land of what is known today as Piancornello. The purchase included a 1700s farm house and a good portion of land. With strong ties to the land and hard work, the vineyards quickly began to prosper. Like many estates, Piancornello was passed down through successive generations, split between siblings and eventually a portion landing in the hands of Claudio’s parents, Alfeo and Silvana. They continued to live on, cultivate and cherish the estate, which they officially named Piancornello in 1991. Today the estate is owned and operated by Claudio Monaci and shared with his wife, Silvia and daughters, Emma and Caterina.

The estate comprise 10 hectares of working vineyards, planted to Sangiovese, Colorino and Ciliegiolo which are used in the production of the estate Rosso di Montalcino DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin), Brunello di Montalcino DOCG (Denomination of Controlled Origin Guaranteed), Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG and two IGT (classification for wines that do not meet the requirements of DOC or DOCG) wines named Per Emma and Per Caterina (the names of Claudio’s two daughters). The Sangiovese is used for creating Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, while Ciliegiolo and Colorino are used for Per Emma and Per Caterina respectively. The wines have garnered the attention of wine critics, such as Gambero Rosso and Antonio Galloni who stated Piancornello is, “One of my favorite under the radar estates in Montalcino.”

There is a deep bond between Claudio and the land which he works tirelessly to respect and preserve. Piancornello is one of the founding farmhouses of the district of organic Brunello and is part of the Cru zone of Sesta, which is at the lead of organic and biodynamic agriculture. Claudio’s aim is to continue to reduce human intervention on the vines and practice biodynamic agriculture, teaching his daughters that it is important to live on an environmentally sustainable farm. They will one day inherit the estate and will continue the legacy of Piancornello and the family name as fifth generation winemakers. Claudio so passionately exclaims, “Life here flows in contact with nature among Brunello vineyards and centuries-old olive groves, and all aspects of cultivation are personally managed by my family. Here is where my family and I want to live: that is why respecting the environment is so important to us and organic agriculture is practiced.”

In the cellar, there are two fundamental aspects: continuation of the winemaking tradition of Brunello and to work in synergy with nature, in the full respect of the natural cycles of the Sangiovese vines. Grape fermentation starts spontaneously thanks to indigenous yeasts that are naturally present on the skin of the grapes; it takes place in concrete containers, and lasts for 20-30 days, during which temperature is kept at around 28 °C. The wine then rests for 24-36 months in traditional oak barrels inside an underground cellar. Total production for the Piancornello portfolio varies depending on the vintage but on average is close to 40,000 to 50,000 bottles each year.

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