THE MONTALCINO MODEL: BRUNELLO KNOWS NO CRISIS
The 2014 edition of Benvenuto Brunello opens today.
Presentation of the vintages just released to the market and the one from the latest harvest.
Presentation of the 2009 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, offered for tasting until 28th February at the Eataly restaurants: for Chairman Bindocci “respect for the land, brave choices and investments on the territory are the winning formula”
Montalcino, 21st February 2014 – Today is the opening of Benvenuto Brunello, the event that every year, in the Cloister of the Montalcino Museum, gathers the producers who present the vintages just released to the market (Brunello 2009, Riserva 2008, Rosso 2012, Moscadello and Sant’Antimo) and the vintage from the latest harvest (2013), which tomorrow will be awarded the stars in the new setting of the Church of Saint Agostino.
«Given its characteristics – comments Fabrizio Bindocci, Chairman of the Consortium - the 2009 Brunello is elegant, pleasant, and with soft tannins, suitable for meeting the requirements of a market, which is increasingly focused on quality. Through their skill, producers have guaranteed a vintage with the characteristics that make Brunello unique and acknowledged worldwide, despite the seasonal trend, which certainly was not easy».
For Jeff Porter, Wine Director of Joe and Lidia Bastianich’s New York restaurants Babbo and Del Posto, who tasted the 2009 vintage at the American preview of Benvenuto Brunello, “Brunello 2009 is extravagance…”. Joel Mack of the Vintrospective blog describes the vintage as: “generally open, generous and ready to drink”. For sommelier Tim Rawding of the Altamarea Group, which includes, among others, restaurants like Marea, Ai Fiori, Costata, Ristorante Morini and Osteria Morini, “it is important to pair these wines with food, especially if you taste different vintages in a short time”.
This year, Benvenuto Brunello widens its horizons and spreads throughout Italy, owing to the initiative organised by the Consortium and Eataly, the chain of prime restaurants created in Alba by Oscar Farinetti. Starting from today, Brunello 2009 is available for tasting at the Eataly restaurants in Florence, Rome, Turin, Pinerolo, Bari, Genoa and Bologna. The event, scheduled until 28th February, will be the opportunity for all patrons and enthusiasts of top quality oenology to taste a glass of Brunello wine of the 2009 vintage.
For the territory of Montalcino, 2013 proved to be an important year: exports further increased as compared with the previous year, rising from 65% in 2012 to 67% in 2013. The most important share is still represented by the USA, which rose from 25% to 28%, followed by the Asian markets (15%) and by Central America (Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, etc.), which represents approx. 10% of total exports. Also on the rise is the turnover of the wine tourism sector in Montalcino (restaurants, hotels, wine stores, etc.), which closed off 2013 with a +5%, going from 29 million Euro in 2012 to more than 30 million in 2013. A relevant figure for the territory refers to the quantity of wine bought directly from the estates, consumed in the town’s restaurants and bars or bought at the wine stores, which attained 18% also in 2013. This is one of the best results of the Italian wine market. There was a slight decline in production, which in 2013 stopped at 12,730,000 bottles: 8,100,000 of Brunello (-12%), 4,300,000 of Rosso (-4%), 40,000 of Moscadello (stable as compared with 2012) and 290,000 of Sant’Antimo (-19%).
The lower production affected overall sales of the Montalcino wine estates only by 1%, which totalled 165 million Euro in 2013, against the 167 million of the previous year.
The skills acquired by Montalcino producers in over a century of activity have allowed the creation and consolidation of a model, which guarantees the highest quality standard of Brunello wine, made of balance and respect for the land, the ability to make brave choices, such as reducing yields to favour quality, and the will to invest in the territory. «Over time, Montalcino farmers and producers have become entrepreneurs with a strong international vocation - commented Chairman Fabrizio Bindocci – capable of reinvesting on the territory the resources gained in years of work. As a result, the wine estates, many of which are headed by young entrepreneurs, have invested in production establishments, and have created facilities for the reception of tourists, thus investing in services. This process has led to a virtuous circle that is now becoming a high level tourist industry».
This is confirmed by the data: between January and August 2013 there was a 6% increase in tourist presence in Montalcino as compared with the previous year. In 2013, over 65 thousand Italian and foreign tourists visited the homeland of Brunello wine and stayed in hotels and other accommodation facilities (hostels, guests houses, etc.). The increase resulted mostly from foreign arrivals (especially from the USA, UK, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, France, Canada, etc.), approx. 3000 more than 2012. In addition, more than 14 thousand tourists opted for holiday farms, in close contact with the cellars and producers of the great Tuscan red. Compared with 2012, more than 60% of Italian tourists preferred agritourist facilities to the more traditional hotels.
Tomorrow, in addition to the tasting, the appointment is at 11.00 am at the Church of Saint Agostino in Montalcino for the awarding of the stars to the 2013 vintage, the laying of the celebratory tile of the 2013 vintage, traditionally set on the external wall of the Montalcino Town Hall, and the awarding of the Leccio d’Oro 2014 prizes, conferred every year by the Consortium to restaurants and the like, both in Italy and abroad, that have a Wine List with a wide and representative array of Brunello and other Montalcino wines.