2016 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Di Montalcino Rennina
Wine Details for 2016 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello Di Montalcino Rennina
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: As you indulge in some fine Brunello, and you gaze into the deep brown elixir, your tongue will almost pulsate with excitement, as rich flavors of black cherry, chocolate, black raspberry, and blackberry are woven together like a heartfelt poem. An earthy, leathery undertone provides excellent contrast next to all the fruit, rounding out the experience
: 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.
: 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.
: 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.
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: Gaja: these two syllables are not only recognized world-wide, but evoke one of the greatest and most respected traditions in European winemaking. However simple it may sound, it speaks volumes about the Family, who is widely credited with transforming not just the image and international reputation of its native Piedmont region, but of Italy as a whole; raising awareness of the quality of single vineyard and parcel by parcel vinification and pioneering the cultivation of non-native varietals in Piedmont. The Gaja family has had a significant impact on the way that Italian wine is grown, made, priced, distributed and marketed. After World War II and the phylloxera epidemic devastated Europe, it was the Gaja family who put Barbaresco on the map, helping to elevate the quality and allure of the region. Gaja is one of a handful of fine wine brands that can compete with and charge the same price as the top names of Burgundy and Bordeaux. The Gaja estate’s long history and reputation are rooted in the meticulous production of wine from grape to glass.
The Gaja estate, founded in 1859 by Giovanni Gaja, has been directed by Angelo Gaja (Giovanni’s great-grandson) since the early 1960s and continues to honor and uphold his father and grandfather’s legacy. With the help of his three children, representing the fifth generation to operate the 163 year old winery, the Gaja Estate continues to thrive in Piedmont and has extended its holdings into Tuscany and beyond. Today’s portfolio reflects the family’s tireless efforts to remain true to the culture of traditional Italian winemaking, but also their willingness to act intrepidly. The collection includes the flagship trio of renowned single-vineyard Barbarescos, Sori San Lorenzo, Sori Tildin and Costa Russi, the esteemed Barolos, Contesia and Sperss, the once contrarious Darmagi Cabernet Sauvignon, Sugarille and Renina Brunellos, and their trailblazing whites, Gaia & Rey (100% Chardonnay) Rossj-Bass (95% Chardonnay, 5% Sauvignon Blanc) and Alenti di Brassica (100% Sauvignon Blanc). The controversial, yet innovative use of French varietals is clearly on display in Gaja’s current profile.
Gaja’s unique style of wines defies classification as either ‘traditional’ or ‘modernist’; “Gaja is Gaja”, according to David Gleave MW and successful wine importer. Gaja is synonymous with risky gambles and bold changes of direction, as evidenced not only by its interest in white wines in a land of reds, but also the turn towards international grapes in a region devoted only to indigenous varieties. Angelo Gaja’s fearless approach was first witnessed with the introduction of Darmagi, made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Planted in 1978, Darmagi was the first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard to be planted in Piedmont. The name Darmagi, first released in 1985, means "what a pity" in the Piedmont dialect, and said to be Angelo’s father, Giovanni’s reaction to the arrival of Bordeaux varieties in Barbaresco. Unlike his son, he was rather bound to traditional techniques with native varietals.
The most controversial decision in Gaja’s history was to sully the Nebbiolo grape with a small proportion of Barbara, meaning the three most famous Barbarescos were downgraded from DOCG (Denomination of Controlled Origin Guaranteed) to simply Langhe Nebbiolo. “Appellations are not a dogma. In my opinion, they have the same relevance as the winery’s brand,” exclaimed Angelo Gaja. The famous trio eventually returned to DOCG in 2013 when the wines would be produced as single variety Barbarescos once more, but this was a declaration of his confidence
The massive operation is now run by his two daughters, Gaia and Rossana, though Angelo still has the final say. When asked about how new ventures and strategies will be decided; his three children laughed, “He’ll decide.” The Gaja estate produces 18 different wines from 100 hectares in Piedmont, 118 hectares in Bolgheri and 27 hectares in Brunello di Montalcino. The vineyards are planted to both native and international varietals, including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. With nearly one million bottles produced annually, Gaja is one of the top producers in Italy, in terms of both quantity and quality. Quality is the estate’s main goal and does not hesitate to declassify entire vintages when they do not meet the extremely high Gaja standards (such as in 2003 and 2009).
What was once a humble 2 hectare plot in Barbaresco, has become a globally recognized brand, that exudes simple beauty, opulence, and elegance, a brand that reflects five generations of winemaking, that defies convention, demands global attention, and has become one of the most distinguished and omnipresent names in the world of fine wine.
James Suckling | 97 JS
The Pieve Santa Restituta 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina (with 15,000 bottles produced) offers intensity and beautifully concentrated fruit. The bouquet reveals layers of wild cherry, rose, blue flower and candied orange peel. However, if you are expecting a more subdued Rennina, that’s not what you get in this classic 2016 vintage. The wine is buzzing with energy and vitality, with a lifted and an especially brilliant set of aromas. You might also detect a hint of fresh peppercorn or coriander seed that gives the wine a veil of the exotic.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95+ RP
Dusty florals, plums, blackberries, dried flowers and hints of ginger rise up from the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina. This is silky and cool-toned in feel, with polished red and black berries; yet even with all of its lift and grace, there’s a density of fruit here and mounting tannins that promise many years of evolution. The long, structured, licorice-tinged finale keeps you guessing at what’s to come with further cellaring. I do believe that an updated score is in order.
Vinous Media | 95 VM
A top note of mint graces the cherry, plum and tar flavors in this tightly packed red, which feels balanced overall, despite the strapping tannins, with a lingering, sanguine- and iron-tinged finish. Best from 2025 through 2045. 200 cases imported.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Aromas of espresso, clove and licorice mingle with balsamic notes of camphor. Elegantly structured, the focused, linear palate offers dried cherry, blood orange and star anise framed in firm, close-grained tannins that grip the finish. Drink after 2026.
Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE
Both of Gaja’s cru Brunello demonstrate the generous warmth and salty breezes of the Tavernelle zone in Montalcino’s central southwest. Rennina, which is assembled from three plots surrounding the church after which the winery is named, is the more extroverted of the two. Still patently young in its structure and fruit, it is vivaciously scented with an explosion of garden herbs, juniper, liquorice and summer berries. Powerful, rich fruit is hemmed in by polished yet copious tannins. Quite a fully charged, boisterous Rennina, this will need some time to tame. Drinking Window 2023 - 2036.
Decanter | 93 DEC