MCF Rare Wine

Lisini's Stunning, Classic 2016 Brunello
(and their robust, powerful 2015 Riserva & Ugolaia, of course...)


How's this for a Friday special...kicking off 2016 Brunello with one of my all time favorites of the traditional style - Lisini. 


Having drank and sold so many vintages of this wine over the years, I can tell you that, in terms of bang for the buck, Lisini has very few peers. 


That's not to say the wines are 'cheap', but, the Brunello Normale punches way above its weight and, having drank bottles of it from the '90s many times in the last few years, I can tell you that, when mature, it's about as textbook as it gets in terms of classic Brunello. 


Then you have the Riserva and, what I consider to be not only their best wine, but one of Montalcino's top (if unsung) wines, the single-vineyard Ugolaia, which, while certainly not cheap, still delivers a hell of a lot for the money, especially when you consider the prices that other wines of such quality command. 


Speaking of having few peers, Montalcino is in the midst of back-to-back great vintages right now. 


2015, with its darker, denser, more powerful style has flown under the radar a bit, but the wines offer tons of character, tons of appeal. 


Then we have 2016, the vintage everyone's been waiting classic as it gets...


If I had to make a comparison, my mind immediately jumps to 2001, which, for me, is high praise indeed, because it indicates classic mineral depth and a firm backbone, but with an extra level of balance and finesse, as well. 


That's exactly how I'd describe the Lisini Brunello Normale 2016 - mineral, focused and firmly structured, but with a freshness and energy that create such fantastic balance.  Classic, textbook, proper, whatever word you want to use, this is as 'Brunello' as Brunello gets. 


It's certainly destined for the Lisini Hall of Fame, if I had to guess. 


Then we have the bold, burly and mineral packed Brunello Riserva 2015.  Always the most textured of the three, due to the extra six or so months in cask, the Riserva usually has more density and, again, a lot more texture on the palate due to the longer, more polished and more of that 'barrel tannin' to the core.  Couple that with a bold, brawny vintage like 2015, and you have a deep, weighty wine that, while certainly built for decades of aging, is also nicely approachable now...with a thick grilled ribeye, of course.


Finally, there's the Ugolaia 2015, the single-vineyard, only-in-good-vintages wine that is the jewel in Lisini's crown.  To me, it's always the most complete, if most elegant expression of Lisini.  I often think that a given producer's wine can reflect the personality of said producer, and I often think of Ludovica Lisini and Ugolaia when that notion crosses my mind. 


I had lunch with her one time and, as we chatted, she was not shy about her love for Ugolaia.  She has that sense of opinionated sternness (she's way more offended by Americans who drink a Cappucino after a meal than she is about most other potentially offensive things) that's nearly completely hidden under that almost supernatural sense of class and elegance that seems to be genetic in a well-raised Italian woman, especially one from Tuscany. 


And that's I think of when I think of Ugolaia - the first impression on the nose is one of the highest level of elegance and class, while the second impression, on the palate, can be a bit more demanding due to the wine's tightly wound structure when young. 


With time, though, those two components give way to one of the ultimate expressions of Sangiovese you'll find, where the depth, nuance and elegance come into perfect harmony.  Even in a bold vintage like 2015, this is always the case. 


It's going to be so interesting to see how each of the last few great vintages of each of these wines (2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016) will stack up against each other, but especially the Ugolaia. 


As of this writing, there will be decent availability of the 2016 Brunello, but the 2015 Riserva and Ugolaia are limited. 


There will be some magnums, as well, but they will be released later. 


Don't miss any of them! 


You may order by emailing or calling 212.255.8870.


Matt Franco

MCF Rare Wine, Ltd

249 West 13th Street NYC 10011