Costco reveals a new price for their Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Reverse Wine Snob reveals the new producer!
Big changes this year for the Kirkland Signature Brunello from Costco! The first thing you'll notice is that the price has dropped significantly, from $26.99 for the 2015 all the way down to $19.99.
It is also quickly apparent that the importer has changed going from Misa Imports to Ethica Wines. We were immediately curious if that meant the producer had changed as well - past vintages were made by the by the highly respected Fattoria dei Barbi. Luckily with Brunello, there's an easy way to find out.
Plugging the government seal from the top of the bottle into the traceability tool (near the bottom of the page) at the Consorzio del vino Brunello di Montalcino website shows that the producer has indeed changed:
The producer is now listed as "Stel-Fin SRL". A web search doesn't turn up much. Dunn & Bradstreet lists a Stelfin in Montalcino as a real estate office. Luckily we don't have to go to far in our usual sleuthing to find out more about this wine as there is a name right on the front label, "Gianni Maccari".
And it turns out it's a name getting a lot of buzz these days. Gianni, the winemaker for Ridolfi winery, is referred to as a "rising star of Montalcino" by Decanter and the "The once and future king of Brunello" by Jeremy Parzen of DoBianchi.
While I was initially disappointed to see that Fattoria dei Barbi was no longer the producer, this is sounding rather exciting.
It's also interesting to note that number of bottles produced has increased dramatically from 14,638 bottles for the 2015 all the way up to 72,000 for the 2016. This is no doubt good for availability, but will the quality suffer? Let's check it out.
Light ruby red in color this wine delivers notes of ripe raspberries and blackberries on the nose. On the palate, those same flavors are balanced by smooth tannins, and a lingering mineral finish.
The 2016 Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG opens with aromas of black cherry, blackberry and licorice plus some earthy herbal notes and a little leather, cedar and tobacco. It's a multi-faceted and attractive bouquet.
The wine tastes smooth, balanced and delicious. It features similar flavors to the nose that combine quite seamlessly in the mouth. It may be a different producer but once again this tastes very true to form -- this is no bargain basement Brunello! It does definitely benefit from some air though so be sure to give it plenty of time to breathe.
It ends with a very long, dry and dusty finish. Highly Recommended!
2016 Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino
You can also find more of our favorite Sangiovese here!
And here's our review of the previous (2015) vintage made by Fattoria Barbi:
The Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino is available exclusively at Costco for $26.99 (Saturday Splurge). It is imported by Misa Imports. 14,638 bottles produced.
Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is made with 100% Sangiovese grapes from vineyards located in the Southeastern part of Montalcino. The 2015 vintage was harvested in late September at the perfect level of maturation. The wine aged in oak barrels for three years and was bottled four months before the release. The result is an outstanding wine with aromas of red berries, wild herbs and sour cherry. The taste is well-balanced and fresh, with soft tannins and hints of candied fruits. The finish is very long, warm and slightly spicy.
We've long recommended this budget Brunello as a Saturday Splurge selection although when we first started reviewing it we noted that there was no indication of the producer on the bottle. (Not unusual with the Kirkland Signature wines although they do seem to be becoming a bit more transparent).
When we reviewed the 2014 vintage last year; however, it dawned on us that since this is an Italian wine, there's a simple way to find out just who makes it - the government seal on the top of the bottle.
Once again plugging the code from the seal into the traceability tool (near the bottom of the page) at the Consorzio del vino Brunello di Montalcino website gives the following result:
Just like last year the Kirkland Signature Brunello is made by the highly respected Fattoria dei Barbi, whose own base level Brunello sells for closer to $50. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that this Kirkland wine is the same as any of Fattoria dei Barbi's other wines, but it is a very good sign that it is made by such a high quality winery.
The 2015 Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG opens with a very pleasing, savory aroma of black cherry, licorice and spice plus a little graphite and cedar. The wine tastes smooth and balanced with more spice and lovely candied cherry notes. It might be just a bit lighter bodied than typical but it works quite well and tastes very true to form. This one is really delicious after it has some time to open up with similar flavors to the nose along with touches of balsamic and anise. It ends with a very long, dry, spicy and dusty finish.
This isn't necessarily a bottle that I would plan on cellaring for a large number of years as I might with other more expensive Brunello -- ironically, a few years ago we tucked away some Brunello from Fattoria dei Barbi as birth year wines for our kids to open in 20-30 years. Nevertheless, this Costco version is a very good representation of Brunello that is drinking great right now (and probably for at least the next 5-10 years) so feel free to go ahead and enjoy!