Mission Codename Beauty before age
“The Tolaini family excels in making rich, textured reds… distinctive, large-scaled wines built on textural opulence.” - Vinous
“The 2011 Picconero is a distinguished and important wine.” - Wine Advocate
Say, you found a “distinguished and important” $100 bill on a quiet street one night. Or suppose you got offered just about that much a discount for a cult status Super Tuscan pallet with a decade of dust at the importer’s cellar. Same difference, you look around to make sure no one is around and pick it up, no?
Unless you’re a saint, then you may just walk away. But why? So that someone else grabs it? We sinned for you dear Operatives, now all you need to do is click buy. Mind you it’s not double, not triple, but how ‘bout quad 93-points! Except all were penned when this was a youngster. Fans of the Old World on our picky tasting panel were equally impressed by where it’s at today with a decade of cellaring…
Age has done it wonders, the color has mellowed out to a pale garnet with mild bricking on the rim, first of all. The nose melds dried cherries with cocoa dust, along with tertiary notes of forest floor and saddle leather. Once sipped, it’s transformed into a Pomerol stallion, with an Italian accent, like a Rocky Balboa that went to the Sorbonne. Its midweight intensity and flavors, with seamlessly integrated plush tannins are quite the fascinating inferences towards a gently fading prolonged finish, where drops of strawberry and rhubarb jam mingle with baking spices. This drinks at a peak, that will sustain another decade, ready for adventurous pairings, from game stews to exotic curries.
Exactly what Wine Spectator meant when defining the Picconero style “powerful yet graceful”, Merlot is the driver here, so the local competition would be the likes of IGT legends Masseto, Messorio, Redigaffi, Galatrona… which explains the original $135 sticker. Available today only with an OVER 70% off discount, this ready-to-go collectible no-brainer was disguised as a somewhat overlooked gem for long. Just to reiterate, it’s no longer the immense fruit bomb it once was, but an elegant and subtle classic.
Well, it’s worth pointing out that it was none other than the ubiquitous Michel Rolland who was in charge of winemaking at Tolaini when this lurid red was crafted. Since the man is always flying the globe consulting, the peer chose to be his sidekick locally was Andrea Paoletti, whom he collaborated with at Ornellaia, and built his reputation working at the likes of Isole e Olena and Valdicava in Tuscany. So, this wine had the crew and the grapes to reach the stars, and it sure has done so with the cellar love.
Very limited, fair warning.
93 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Tolaini boasts high density vineyards (from 7,300 to 11,300 plants per hectare) with southeast exposures and altitudes that range from 300 to 450 meters above sea level. The estate’s famed Montebello vineyard is characterized by lighter limestone soils. A blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, the 2011 Picconero Tenuta Montebello is a distinguished and important wine. I’ve been noticing how well Cabernet Franc performs at this Tuscan estate. You get a good sense of this here (and especially in this vintage). The wine opens to an inky black appearance as you would expect, with fragrant aromas of dried blackberry and candied cherry. Warmer aromas of allspice and sweet clove add more consistency and weight to the overall package. These various attributes find terrific harmony.”
93 Points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The Tolaini family excels in making rich, textured reds. International varieties play an important role, although Sangiovese is present to a larger degree today than it did in the beginning. When they are on, these are distinctive, large-scaled wines built on textural opulence. Tolaini’s 2011 Picconero is once again impressive. Dark, sumptuous and radiant, the 2011 races across the palate with intense dark fruit, mocha, spices, new leather and menthol. Drink this flamboyant Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend over the next handful of years. Drink 2016-2023.”
93 Points – Wine Spectator
“Harmonious, complex and just beginning to hit its stride, this red features black cherry, black currant, violet, toast and mineral aromas and flavors that permeate the smooth texture, unfolding in layers to a long, fruit-, mineral- and spice-infused aftertaste. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. 300 cases imported. Drink now through 2028.”
93 Points – James Suckling
“A wine with structure and depth. Very racy and beautiful with lots of currant, berry and chocolate aromas. Full body. Fresh and clean. A blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc. Drink now or hold.”
Age has done it wonders, the color has mellowed out to a pale garnet with mild bricking on the rim, first of all
The nose melds dried cherries with cocoa dust, along with tertiary notes of forest floor and saddle leather
Midweight intensity and flavors, a Pomerol stallion with an Italian accent, like a Rocky Balboa that went to the Sorbonne
Seamlessly integrated plush tannins, prolonged drops of strawberry and rhubarb jam mingle with baking spices
Drinks at a peak, will sustain another decade, ready for adventurous pairings, from game stews to exotic curries
What the Winery Says
2011 'Picconero' Tenuta Montebello Toscana IGT
- Consulting winemaker
- Michel Rolland
- Vineyard manager
- Davide Xodo
- 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc
- Tenuta Montebello
- Lime, clay, gravel-sized stones
- 320-380 meters above sea level
- First vintage
- 18 months
- 100% new French oak