This was the first wine I tasted when I had the good fortune to meet with Giovanna Neri, proprietor and winemaker for Col di Lamo, a boutique producer of Brunello di Montalcino. I won't spend too much time on pedigree, because this wine stands on its on regardless. But, Giovanna's last name Neri might ring a bell. She is the daughter of Giacomo Neri the patriarch of the Cassanova di Neri estate, that produces some killer wines.
My first reaction to a taste of Giovanna's 2019 Rosso was, "Damn !", next was, "This is a Rosso??", then "Baby Brunello". While I verbalized all of the previous thoughts, I'm also thinking, "You have made grave mistake showing this wine next to your Brunello. (That concern was dispelled shortly afterwards.) Up to this point, Valdicava is the only Rosso that I would deem worthy of being called "Baby Brunello". There is no doubt, that this lovely wine deserves that designation.
Can we have a vote - Bambino di Brunello DOCG!
Col di Lamo is located in Torrenieri, in the extreme north-east offshoot of the Brunello di Montalcino denomination. The estate covers a total of 80 hectares at an average height of 300 meters above sea level, including 6 hectares of Brunello di Montalcino, 1.5 of Rosso di Montalcino, and 2 hectares cultivated with other varieties, all organic. Total production of around 40,000 bottles per year.
The Rosso di Montalcino 2019 is aged in large wood for a year, well beyond the 4 months required 4 by DOC regulations. While the Brunello from 2019 have yet to be released, all indications are that this will be another excellent vintage. The northern areas of the region, with slightly higher altitude, fared the best of all, benefitting from some relief from a very hot summer. Montalcino is having a nice run of good fortune indeed.
The Col di Lamo Rosso di Montalcino offers pungent aromas of violet, rose and ripe cherry with a faint smokiness that you might miss if you're not really paying attention On the palate, this wine has structure and nice acidity that amplifies the crisp dark cherry fruit. At this point, you may want to decant this wine to soften the components just a bit. It lingers nicely on the palate. If you are impatient, you might not wait for the finish before you take another sip.
This will hold up to any food that a Brunello might otherwise accompany.