Le Due Porte 2015 – Il Palazzone

I recently wrote about the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino from the Il Palazzone winery, which I enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Following on from that, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to sample the first of my very Special Single Vineyard bottles of their Le Due Porte from 2015. This was the first year that Brunello has been made from grapes solely from the high altitude plot, just outside of the town of Montalcino itself, some 540m above sea level. With only 1.24 hectares of vines, on sandstone and loam soil, the supply was to be limited.

2015 was a spectacular year for Brunello, and Italy as a whole, and the early expectations of superb vintages to develop over time are well documented by others far more knowledgeable than myself. I have already cellared bottles from a number of different Montalcino producers of the 2015, but this was to be my first sample of the year, having been tipped off that, while it will mature to even greater delights over time, it was drinking superbly today, and so I decided to take the plunge.

The wine was matured in Slovenian Oak for 36 months, before being transferred to two 10HL oak barrels to complete the ageing, before finally maturing in the bottle before release late last year. Only 2209 75cl bottles were produced (plus a small number of larger editions), and each bottle is individually labelled, my first being number 218.

Given the youthfulness of the wine, it was clear that a lengthy decant was in order, and as I was preparing a Top Rump Beef Joint, needing plenty of cooking time, I pulled the cork and decanted early in the afternoon, giving a good three hours of time to open up, as I headed to the kitchen to commence the meal preparation.

The decant was perfect, and once dinner was ready and served, I poured my first glass. The colour that was glowing in the decanter oozed into the glass, the rich translucent ruby red liquid caught the light, flickering as it settled, granting a bewitching first impression.

Immediate aromas of fruits leapt from the glass, the familiar cherry tones of Sangiovese, laced with red fruits, raspberries and plums, and if I wasn’t mistaken, hints of licorice, tobacco and salted caramel, (I guess even my nose had fell in line that all caramel aromas come salted these days!). One thing I did note, given the vinification and maturation in oak, was there were no over-reaching aromas from the oak, just subtleties from the tobacco, nothing over-powering.

Onto the taste – The ripe fruits filled the mouth. Once again, the familiar cherry, with a freshness from the acidity which exaulted the flavours, developing each second, from cherry to raspberry, with savory spices rounding off the profile, before a hint of minerality, an earthiness trying to come through. The texture was rounded, with the tannins, although present, not fighting for appearance, just combining with all the other elements to produce an overall perfectly harmonious taste, with a length that belied the fact that I had swallowed the wine, leaving a lingering sensation of something exceptional.

They say that 2015 was a Vintage of a lifetime, although, I am lead to believe that 2016 is to be a match. I was accused of infanticide by a friend for opening this so early, and while I plead guilty to the desire to explore this wine today, it is absolutely drinkable now as a superb example of what can be done with Sangiovese in Montalcino under an expert hand, and with a single plot. I am sure that the Le Due Porte 2015 will continue to improve in the years to come, and given its starting point, I look forward to the next time to see how perfection can be improved upon.

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino 2012.

The first of my 2012’s. Opened for Christmas Eve Dinner, with rib of beef, roast potatoes, the ubiquitous Sprouts tossed with pancetta, and puree of carrot & turnip. I decanted it for 2 plus hours before tasting.

Absolutely perfect.

Bright ruby colour, aromas of cherry leaping out from the decanter as I poured into the glass. The full nose showed cherries, plums, oaky vanilla, and then onto the palate and my taste buds. The explosion of fruit, red berries, the cherries again, all in abundance. Good acidity held everything together, with the tannins mellowed with the ageing process, both from the Slovenian barrels, and latterly the bottle ageing. The finish was lengthy, with the aftertaste of ripe fruits lingering in the mouth, long after the glass had returned to the table.

I was fortunate to visit the winery in 2019, and have since started to build different vintages of their Brunello. This was the first of my 12’s, and although this was a perfect example, and drinking divinely, there may well be more to come, and I look forward to exploring further developments of this excellent wine.