Tommaso Cortonesi’s grandfather bought La Mannella in the 1970s. The estate spreads over 56 hectares, eight of which produce Brunello di Montalcino. The major vineyard is around the winery at La Mannella, just north of Montalcino itself, but there is another vineyard near Castelnuovo dell’ Abate, to the south east of the town. Originally just one Brunello was made, a blend from the two separate vineyards, but in the 1990s, Tommaso and his father realised that the two vineyards had distinctly different soil composition. They decided that better wine would be made if each terroir was properly realised in the bottle, and thus were born Poggiarelli (in the south east) and La Mannella (in the north).
Poggiarelli has rocky soil, rich in marl, whereas at La Mannella it is mainly clay and limestone. Poggiarelli is at about 420 m.a.s.l and La Mannella is 280-350 m.a.s.l. The oldest vines were planted in 1983, and another two plots were planted in 1998. All their wines are 100% Sangiovese.
Their Rosso di Montalcino comes from vines planted in 2011 and is aged for one year in 30hl Slavonian oak botte. Annual production is between 12,000 and 14,000 bottles.
Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella spends three years in 30hl Slavonian oak botte, and about25,000 bottles are made. Brunello di Montalcino Poggiarelli is aged for two years in French oak tonneaux, 50% new and 50% one year old. Roughly 4000 bottles are made each year.
Their Brunello Riserva comes from the oldest part of the vineyard, that planted in 1983. It is aged for forty-eight months in 30hl Slavonian oak botte and kept in bottle for a further two years before release. About 2000 bottles are made in exceptional years. All the wines have great purity of fruit, and are vibrant expressions of their terroir. Poggiarelli is a tad leaner than La Mannella, but is nonetheless a supremely silky, seductive Brunello. Both have great length and delicious mouthfeel. The Riserva is a restrained explosion of flavour and intensity and – unlike most Brunello Riservas – worth every penny of its price. Not for everyday drinking, perhaps, but certainly to be poured on those occasions when only the very, very best will do!
Listing the magnificent Cortonesi Brunellos means that we now have examples from three of thefour Montalcino sub-regions.
|Rosso di Montalcino (New)|
|Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella (New)|
|Brunello di Montalcino Poggiarelli (New)|
|Brunello Riserva (New)|
|Rosso di Montalcino (New)||Sangiovese|
|Brunello di Montalcino La Mannella (New)||Sangiovese|
|Brunello di Montalcino Poggiarelli (New)||Sangiovese|
|Brunello Riserva (New)||Sangiovese|