The Buyer
Walter Speller on ‘En Primeur’ launch of Brunello di Montalcino

Walter Speller on ‘En Primeur’ launch of Brunello di Montalcino

It’s hard to create genuine firsts in the world of wine but great credit must go to Walter Speller and Jane Hunt MW who have come together in collaboration with the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino to host a special ‘En Primeur’ launch of the 2018 vintage and 2017 Riservas, well ahead of their official release on January 1 2023. The London event on November 17 is a unique chance to take a deep dive into how the vintage is performing and assess its opportunities and potential in the UK market.

Richard Siddle
19th October 2022by Richard Siddle
posted in People,

Benvenuto Brunello promises to be a comprehensive, trade-only presentation of the 2018 vintage and the 2017 Riservas. Click here to register and to find out more read below from Walter Speller.

How have you managed to put on the first Benvenuto Brunello en primeur tasting?

We approached the consorzio last year with the idea of showing the new vintage of Brunello di Montalcino in London well before its official release date after having organised a hugely successful Barolo and Barbaresco vintage launch last year in September.

What sort of tasting can buyers look forward to?

You can taste for the first time the Brunello 2018 vintage at a special London event on November 17

The feedback from trade visitors proved that the format from last year’s Barolo and Barbaresco vintage event really seemed to work. So we are once again putting on a sit-down tasting with sommeliers serving more than 120 wines. We believe this not only allows participants to have a deep insight into the vintage and the various styles, but has a learning effect that cannot easily be replicated by other tasting formats.

While the denomination has always actively promoted its wines in especially in the United States, its most important market, the UK’s track record as the world’s largest market for fine wine where Brunello sales are on the increase, became the decisive factor for the consorzio to agree to this collaboration with Hunt & Speller.

How are you working with the Conzorzio di Brunello di Montalcino on the event?

Education is central to everything Hunt & Speller conceptualise and develop and this, together with Hunt’s decades of experience in organising Italian trade events, greatly appealed to the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino. These two factors proved decisive for the consorzio, which now for the first time will promote its wines in the UK.

What can we expect to taste?

The tasting on November 17 will also feature 2017 Brunello Riservas

Except for the 2018 vintage, the tasting will also show single vineyard Brunellos next to the 2017 Riservas, all en primeur to the trade.

Over the last decade or so single vineyard wines have become an exceptionally important tool for producers to investigate and demonstrate their terroir specifics. Before these wines rose to prominence, Brunello was often and wrongly seen as a preconceived style, something for which the denomination was partly to blame,” says Speller. “The consorzio has always remained silent on terroir differences especially since the wine media began to comment on the so-called superiority of the cooler north of the denomination over the warmer south.

The picture, of course, is much more complex than this simple dichotomy has it and is further shaken up by climate change. Single vineyard wines show a fascinating insight into Montalcino’s diverse terroirs, especially since winemaking overall has become much more restrained and new oak only used judiciously and often not all at. With 115 wines from 68 different producers, the London en primeur gives tasters ample opportunity to see the Montalcino styles side by side.

What do you think Brunello offers the trade?

This new, much more terroir-specific side of Brunello gives lots of opportunity to the on- as well as the off-trade as stylistic differences are now the centre of attention and can cater to different tastes. While Brunello’s price point has been going up steadily compared with other fine wines, the majority is still very much affordable, while Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello’s ‘second wine’, so to speak, has shown an increase in quality while allowing Brunello neophytes to dip a toe in the Brunello pond without breaking the bank.

  • To find our more and to register for the En Primeur Brunello di Montalcino 2018 tasting click here. The event takes place on November 17 between 09:30am and 5.30pm, Church House Westminster, Deans Yard, London SW1P 3PA, UK. Tasters can choose freely from a total of 115 wines, including some of Montalcino’s top crus and 2017 Riservas from over 66 estates, during a two-hour, prebooked sommelier-serviced tasting slot.