Home > Editorial > Brunello di Montalcino 2019 vintage report


Published: 14th February 2024



Davy Żyw, Italy Buyer

The 2019 vintage was one that every winemaker in Montalcino dreams about.

Mother Nature provided the vines with everything they needed for a perfect vintage: a good winter, ample rain when they needed water, sun when they needed heat and light, steady temperatures without heat spike, and a picture-perfect summer that arced into a long, even ripening period.

This world-class terroir is clearly illustrated in the 2019 vintage. Despite the quality, demand and longevity of these wines, Brunello di Montalcino still offers brilliant value, and rewards both collectors and drinkers alike.

This year, as well as celebrating the quality of the vintage, we are also celebrating receiving the Leccio d’Oro prize. Every year, these prestigious awards are presented to merchants by the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino, in recognition of having a world-class range of these wines. This year, it was our turn to be honoured.


This was an ideal growing year, which closed out with typical harvest dates. Grapes were picked with excellent maturity and health, meaning this release truly is a celebration of everything going right for the region’s winemakers. The wines are fruit-forward yet structured, with a radiant energy that mirrors the beauty of both their landscape and the growing season.

Winter started with above-average temperatures, although a welcome cold snap in January allowed the vines to rest. Restorative rain followed in February, while further cool days in March delayed vegetative growth in the vineyards.

Summer temperatures were, again, cooler than average, never peaking beyond 35°C. The end of July brought with it two days of rainy storms, which refreshed temperatures and set the vines up perfectly for a three-week dry spell in August. Thanks to these steady temperatures, and sufficient water accumulation in the soil, the vines arrived into September in ideal shape, ahead of their all-important ripening period.

Refreshing showers and cool nights throughout these final weeks allowed for a slow maturation of the grapes. This delayed harvest whilst ensuring good yields, colour, phenolic ripeness, balance and dazzling aromatics. Harvest started with the warmer sites in the south of the region in early September. The cooler, more exposed vineyards came in towards the end of October.


Brunello di Montalcino’s wines must spend longer in the cellar than most other fine wines, and are often the last to be released of any vintage due to this.

Extraction methods, time on skins, fermentation styles and the choice of maturation vessels differ widely across the region. Yet there is an emerging theme – particularly amongst the most open-minded producers, who are now prioritising the primary fruit profiles of their wines.

This comes at the expense of the drier, more savoury styles which Brunello is best known for. Many producers are shortening time spent in oak to the minimum legal requirement, and swinging away from smaller oak vessels in favour of larger oak or traditional botti grandi. The result is that fruit perfume and flavours are retained, as is vineyard character in the wines.

Another potential benefit is that the use of larger botti retains better capacity for ageing – and from tasting the quality of the 2019 vintage, we can expect these wines to cellar very well.

THE NEW 2016?

Stylistically and qualitatively, many producers are comparing the 2019 Brunello di Montalcino releases to those of the watershed 2016 vintage, with some traits of 2015 and 2010. It’s a good space to be in!

While 2019 may combine characteristics from all these legendary vintages, it has something other great vintages don’t: a higher level of precision in the vineyards, and accuracy in the wineries. The result is more definition of the vintage character, compared to the wines of years past.

There is immediate pleasure to be found here, with well-defined perfume and primary fruit characterising the 2019 wines. The tannins are purposeful, yet sweetly toned. And there is real presence – these wines are energetic, detailed and long.

Although many can be enjoyed now, thanks to their glistening fruit weight and mouthwateringly tangy charm, the best wines combine an elegance and authority that will lend themselves well to extensive ageing. That being said – they do so without any of the awkwardness of many great vintages in their youth.



We are at the start of a trio of excellent vintages of Brunello di Montalcino. The 2019 wines will be followed by the sweet-scented 2020 vintage, and then the powerful 2021. There really has never been a better time to be introduced to the wines of the region.

Ahead of this run of extraordinary vintages, the region is still offering fantastic value considering the quality produced – but it won’t be undervalued for much longer. The 2019 releases cater to both drinkers and collectors, and as our Leccio d’Oro award proves, this truly is an excellent range of producers to explore.

The 2019 vintage offered the dream growing season for the winemakers of Montalcino, but the wines of the vintage are far from fantasy. The reality is this is an unforgettable vintage, a contemporary classic which will be enjoyed, discussed and collected for decades to come.