1997 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 


The 1997 wines of Tuscany have become something of a question mark in the eyes of many consumers. At release, the press went wild for the wines. Some still see 1997 as one of Italy’s greatest modern-day vintages, and to this day, salespeople base their pitch on its prestige. However, as time has passed, many of the highly scored 1997s have not lived up to their potential. I’ve often been told that the true reason behind the quality surge was a marked improvement in clonal research, winemaking and vineyard practices across the board, which came to a head just in time for the 1997 vintage, a year of warm weather and low yields that seems to have become a victim of its own success. That said, the best wines are still performing quite nicely. The 1997 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino attests to this. The bottle I tasted had been stored in the winery's cellar for a late release, so there was no doubt of provenance, and any collector would be lucky to acquire a few of these. 

Understated at first, the 1997 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino pulls you close to the glass, showing black cherry, hints of sage and crushed stone, blossoming further and gaining richness with each swirl, adding notes of dusty cedar spice box, cacao powder, leather strap and dried flowers. On the palate, silky textures give way to fleshy red berry fruits, offset by saturating minerality and acids, while remaining energetic and leaning further toward the savory spectrum. The finish is long, still showing hints of fine tannin, yet the message here is elegance. The 1997 is simply gorgeous. It offers many years of positive evolution in store for readers who can be patient. 94/2020-2032.