The wine Chap's Wine Blog

Valdicava Estate, Tuscany

Visit the Valdicava Estate "Why isn't this producer better known?" asks Decanter Magazine's, Tom Hyland.  Especially when, in his Wine Buyers Guide, Robert Parker asserts, "a strong argument can be made that Valdicava is among the top three or four Brunello di Montalcino producers." Valdicava's Brunellos offer a rare opportunity for the fine wine collector. Until recently relatively unknown, Vincenzo Abruzzese's star is rising and his tiny 10 hectare estate is steadily achieving cult status among the wine elite. Valdicava retains two of Italy's best wine consultants, winemaker Attilio Pagli and agronomist Andrea Paoletti and even in a strong vintage produces only 5000 cases of wine. 

Montalcino is split between the traditionalists and the modernisers who have moved toward producing more approachable wines, the most progressive wineries using smaller 225-liter French oak barriques over traditional grandi botti.  Some are hedging their bets with a judicious combination of large vats and smaller barriques, and Abbruzzese, borrowing from both disciplines, aims to maintain the structure and aromas of traditional Brunello, and the elegance and harmony associated with newer methods.  And, after tasting these wines, we are delighted to add our voice to the exuberant reviews below.  The style of the wines is powerful and concentrated, with great weight, drive, minerality and purity of fruit on the palate, whilst the nose offers a heady mix of cardamon, cumin, earth, pepper, chalk, violets, tar and dark berries.  Perhaps most importantly of all for a 'modern' style Brunello, the use of oak is restrained and unobtrusive, supporting the wine's structure without overwhelming its character.

Such has been the demand for these wines since James Suckling's ecstatic reviews in the Wine Spectator (the '01 Brunello and Madonna Al Piano Riserva receiving scores of 98 and 100 respectively) that, apart from the Rosso 2005, all we currently have available is a small quantity of '99 Madonna. However, having recently tried the wines from '03, '04 and '05 in barrel with Vincenzo, all of which will equal or surpass the current release, and having secured larger future allocations for the UK, we advise all potential buyers to register their interest without delay.
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