This bottle of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Il Marroneto 2003 is more unique than rare. So why talk about it? First of all, to share an emotion, then because if you were to come across it, you would not hesitate to open it: it will surprise you with its eloquent tale. And finally, to give some useful information to fans of old vintages who still wonder about Brunello’s ageing potential.

🇮🇹 Italiano

Granted that Brunello di Montalcino is a long-lasting wine, and that this is a bottle should be opened at least 12/24 hours in advance. However, it was an impromptu gift from Alessandro Mori, deus ex machina of Il Marroneto, at the last Vinitaly. In such cases, the moment must be seized, and possibly the bottle as well when it accidentally rolls on the floor, causing general panic among the many guests present at the stand. Thank goodness it did not break, otherwise I doubt I’d still be here talking about it… (it wasn’t all my fault however!).

Il Marroneto is one of my regular stops when I am in Montalcino. Its charm is irresistible, its call impossible to ignore. Therefore, I end up going back over and over again to renew the bond with the place, the people and the things that make it so unique. A visit to Alessandro and his son Iacopo, who his always by his side now, is always an intense and educational experience; you never get bored, and you never stop learning with them. Every time a new bath in the culture, the magic and mysticism of one of the most iconic places in Montalcino. Moreover, you cannot leave the holy cellar without having tasted every single barrel! Imagine my joy.

What struck me the most the first time was the scent of the winery, which has remained an ever lasting memory ever since. Every Cellar has its own perfume, of grapes, must and wine; everywhere the share of the Angels lingers in the air as an imperishable reminder of each harvest. Here at Il Marroneto, however, the intensity of it all is literally off scale. Perhaps it is because Alessandro often decants his wines, a fascinating event I was lucky enough to witness once. On that occasion he handed me a glass and told me to help myself around the winery.  You don’t leave the holy cellar without tasting all the barrels first, never ever! Therefore, I followed his orders… and accidentally broke the glass in the endeavor, a beautiful Zalto, but I was forgiven that time too!

Or perhaps it is because the soul of 43 vintages still lingers here, with the first Brunello from 1980 blessed by two Master winemakers as immense as they were quiet: Mario Cortevesio and Giulio Gambelli (now that would be a truly incredible tasting). The part of the Angels that remains forever in the place of origin and permeates everything: the centuries-old walls, the sacred barrels, the air, Macchia the cat… and me! Years later, I can still feel the breath, the smell, the taste of it all. The olfactory dominance of this Brunello 2003 is decisive and unmistakable: it smells like Il Marroneto.

As life awakens after twenty years and takes new shape in the glass, with cautious and graceful moves, the fragrances of the Cellar give way to fresher more lively sensations. The contours of the fair space slowly dissolve until all that is left is the low wall of the Estate overlooking the breathtaking view of the Val d’Orcia. Time passes at an incredibly accelerated speed: the seasons change abruptly, and with them the lines and colors of the landscape. Each one brings a different treasure chest of fragrances that fill the air and caress the senses. I can recognize each and every one of them by now, as I have lost track of the hours spent chatting on this iconic wall in every season of the year. Each time with wonder in my eyes and joy in my heart.

The range of scents is extraordinarily wide, the sharpness of the aromas truly amazing, the color still brilliant, the precision of the sip truly disconcerting. Immediate notes of Mediterranean scrub, myrtle, and white pepper open the long aromatic parade, followed at once by hints of chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, and coffee. At this point the game is clear, we should linger a little longer and will not be disappointed. A little extra time brings out tobacco, licorice, leather, undergrowth, and cardamom. And again laurel, rosemary, the enchantment of dried flowers here and there, roses and violets, and at the bottom of the glass a refined touch of face powder.

Everything comes together in a sip that time has not been able to dilute. Full-bodied, with tannins in a state of absolute grace, so velvety and caressing, it flows freely and gracefully like an intense and mooving caress. The palate is dynamic, lively, intense, with sapidity to support the sip and still plenty of freshness. Endless in the finish, it leaves the mouth satisfied and happy with a long savory-sweet aftertaste.

Il Marroneto 2003 defies time and wins the game with a quantum leap of consciousness that takes it to its ideal dimension, where time no longer exists. An elegant gentleman in his twenties, sure to bring many more smiles in the future. There is no doubt that this Brunello di Montalcino has a long life ahead of it, but I must say that, here and now, it is at the height of its expressiveness, with features of maturity and relaxation that give great charm and lightness to its playful soul. Who knows whether I will be lucky enough to meet him again in the future!

Label: Il Marroneto – Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003

Grape variety: 100% Sangiovese
Az. Agr. il Marroneto di Mori Alessandro

Località Madonna delle Grazie, 307 53024
Montalcino (SI) – Italia

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