THE 25TH EDITION OF "BENVENUTO BRUNELLO" OPENS TODAY. DEDICATED TO THE CONSORTIUM'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY AND, FOR THE FIRST TIME, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
The 2012 vintage of Brunello was presented, along with the 2011 Reserve and the 2015 vintage of Rosso di Montalcino
Montalcino, 17 February 2017 – Today marks the opening of the 25th edition of Benvenuto Brunello, with a celebration for the Consortium’s 50th anniversary and a few novelties dedicated to all wine lovers worldwide. The 2012 vintage, which was given five stars, will be presented during the event.
“2017 is an important year for us, not only for the high quality of the wines we are presenting – comments Consortium’s Chairman Patrizio Cencioni – but also because this year marks the 50th anniversary of our association. It was 1967, just after recognition of the D.O.C., when the Consortium was set up with the aim of defending our great wine. Since then, some things have changed, generations have passed, but the wine, the passion and the dedication of our producers are still the same, as is their ability to transform high-quality grapes into an internationally acclaimed brand.”
This year’s edition will also feature a huge novelty dedicated to all Brunello lovers in the world: for the first time ever, “Benvenuto Brunello” will also be open to the public. On Sunday February 19 and on Monday February 20, visitors will be able to attend the event, provided they have purchased the ticket online beforehand, on the website www.consorziobrunellodimontalcino.it.
Once again this year, the visitors will be welcomed inside the historic halls of the Complex of Sant’Agostino, which is where the new headquarters of the Consortium moved to less than a month ago. With this operation of recovery and renovation, valued at € 1 million, Sant’Agostino aims to become the new beating heart for the development of the city’s cultural activities as well as a meeting point for the city dwellers.
The eyes, but above all the nose and taste buds of all those accredited to attend the preview will nevertheless be focused on Brunello di Montalcino and on the other local appellations: Brunello 2012, Riserva 2011, Rosso 2015, Moscadello and Sant’Antimo. The 2012 vintage is considered to be an excellent one – worthy of 5 stars – by the panel of experts who, every year, are called to assess the quality of the grape harvest. And judging by the comments gathered during the American previews held over the past few weeks, the Brunello “star” continues to shine all over the world.
Kerin O’Keefe, Italian editor of the U.S. magazine “Wine Enthusiast”, for example, has this to say about the 2012 vintage: “If you like elegant yet long-lived Sangiovese wines, then stock up your wine cellar with lots of Brunello di Montalcino 2012”. After 140 tastings, O’Keefe assigned very high scores to the 2012 Brunello vintage: 88 labels received a score of 90 and beyond and, among these, 20 received more than 94 points. “The quality of the 2012 wines is more uniform, but in terms of weather conditions it was undoubtedly a difficult year. The ability of many producers in the management of the vineyard turned out to be very important, in particular by reducing the thinning out of the grape bunches compared to the previous years”.
According to James Suckling: “The 2012 Brunello is a “rock star”. It is a vintage that comes very close to the “legendary” 2010 vintage and the just as special 2004 vintage. The fruits are vibrant, the aromas intense, the acidity is lively and the tannins are ultra fine”.
Jeff Porter, Beverage Director of the Hospitality Group Batali & Bastianich, who tasted the vintage during January’s tasting tour in New York, comments: “What I love the most about the 2012 Brunello is its elegance, with a taste of red fruit enveloped by notes of herbs and terroir. It does not have that strength that some might expect from a 5-star grape harvest, but it is that which expresses the greatness of Sangiovese”.
As usual, the event is scheduled to start tomorrow at 11:00 am, at the Church of Sant’Agostino for the assignment of the stars to the 2016 vintage, laying of the 2016 vintage celebratory tile, affixed as per tradition to the outside wall of Palazzo Pubblico in Montalcino, and the presentation of the Leccio d’Oro 2017 awards, assigned every year by the Consortium to those venues, located in Italy and abroad, that feature a Wine List with a wide and representative range of Brunello and other Montalcino wines.
The export sector is stable compared to last year, settling at 70% of the total production. The foreign market is being driven by the target countries: the United States (over 30%), followed by Europe (with the U.K., Germany and Switzerland at the lead) at 20%, the Asian markets (China, Japan, Hong Kong, etc.) which account for 15%, Canada (12%) and Central and South America (8%). The remaining 15% is taken up by other markets.
As far as production is concerned, 13,932,000 bottles were produced in 2016, subdivided as follows: 9,100,000 Brunello, 4,500,000 Rosso, 300,000 Sant’Antimo and 32,000 Moscadello. A slight contraction compared to last year (-4.71%) due to the lower number of bottles placed on the market, which was in turn due to a lower grape production in 2011. The turnover of the vine-growing and wine producing sector in Montalcino settled around € 170 million.
On a positive note, the flow of tourists to the Montalcino area continues to increase year after year. In 2016, there was a 20% increase in the number of tourists, from last year’s one million tourists to the 1,200,000 people who visited Montalcino this year. There were over 135,000 overnight stays in Montalcino, with an increase expected following the merger of the municipalities of Montalcino and San Giovanni d’Asso. These numbers confirm that the increase in the number of tourists, driven by the wine&food sector, generates a positive effect for all the satellite industries.