TN: Some Recent Vintage Cerbaionas

Our local outpost of Husk Restaurant has a short vertical of Cerbaiona Brunello (2011, 2012, and 2013) along with the VDT Rosso

Cerbaiona VDT Rosso
This wine is a blend of 2013 Old vine Sangiovese vinified by the Molinaris and 2015 New vine Sangiovese that was recently replanted. All I can say is it stole the show. This is a screaming deal. sure, the brunello has a little more complexity, but this is a high quality wine. Red cherry and orange notes, some leather undertones, and great match to good food! If you can find this, you should grab some.

Cerbaiona 2011 Brunello
Open and ready for business! Somm mentioned it had been decanted for about an hour prior to serving but it felt like it woulda been great right outta the gate. Those bright cherry and dried orange peel notes were evident and the mineral and leathery complexity was stepped up a notch. Add in some floral notes and this makes for a fun wine to drink. There was debate between which wine was 2nd to this one, but this was definitely the star brunello.

Cerbaiona 2012 Brunello
First wine bottled by the new owners, but produced by the Molinaris. definitely less concentrated. The cherry and orange was still there, but with a little more iodine background than the other two that put it at 4th for me on the night.

Cerbaiona 2013 Brunello
Unlike the 2011, this one needed some extra swirling in the glass to open up. once it did, it was fantastic. This one will benefit the most from some time being forgotten in the back of a cellar. the stuffing is there to give this the potential to be the best wine of the bunch. never quite caught the 2011 tonight, but i think it will.

I give this tasting a solid 93 points overall. I’m sad that we may not see Cerbaionas like these ever again, but hopeful that we will. I’m also glad that this VDT wine is so good.

Not that I can afford to put them on my shopping list (at $150+ a pop), but…why is that?

two reasons: the family that owned it and was making the wine and doing the vineyard work (the Molinari’s) sold the property, I think after the 2011 vintage. second, the old vines were hardly producing any fruit anymore, so the new owners ripped most of them up and replanted.

as always when a great estate like this changes hands, I sure hope it doesnt change (I wouldnt mind a little bit of a price decrease though!) but when they had to replace most of the old vines, im guessing it’ll at least be a few years before the vine material has the capability of the same character. The distributor who was present at the tasting made it sound like the new owners were a group of people who came together to buy it because they loved the wines? so hopefully they preserve the tradition.

also side note that I feel like i can’t say enough times: $150+ a pop is steep for me too. but that rosso was definitely not far off and $40. see if you can find it!

I bought a bottle of their rosso, but haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet, but looking forward to it. Sounds like I should have bought a case!

Thanks, Matt, for the notes. I recently picked up some of these and they’re very helpful.

I especially like the part about the score.

I have enjoyed the Rossos for a while, but the ones I have are labelled as IGT/Toscana rather than VDT/Rosso, and mine have all been vintage designated (not multi-vintage as the one you describe). I’m assuming the multi-vintage VDT is either a different wine from the Toscana IGT, or maybe even a “one-off” bottling? In any event, the Toscana IGT is always delicious and also a great value at $40-ish, very similar to the wine described here…

I just found the following story online (from the Wine House website) regarding the VDT wine (which is, essentially, exactly as stated in the OP, but with a bit more context)…It is, as I suspected, a one-off, not something they do regularly.

"The new owners, whom I have known for years, adore the wines of Molinari but have decided that his wines are perhaps a bit too austere and traditional. With that said, they have decided not to release a 2015 Brunello, a vintage that is considered outstanding.

For the short term, a problem existed with what to do with the 2015 Brunello and Rosso that Diego had actually harvested and made. The new owners found the wine to be too traditional for their liking, so they decided to blend in some of the 2013 Brunello, which is a wonderful wine, with the majority of the 2015 and create a Rosso VDT, Vino di Tavola. This non-vintage wine is mostly declassified 2015 Cerbaiona Brunello fruit. The wine is clearly not Brunello since it is not being released five years after harvest, it has a bit more ripe fruit and brightness than Brunello, but it is extraordinary."

Heads up: as mentioned below they do make two different Rosso. One is a Rosso di Montalcino DOC (I believe) and then the one we had is a 1 time Rosso Vino di Tavola. I can only imagine that they are both fantastic but especially since the VDT is mostly declassified brunello, this one I think was pretty special.

I’m sure you know this already but whenever you decide to open them you’re in for a treat.

I will admit that the reasoning for this VDT blend makes me a little sad for the direction we’ll see Cerbaiona go from here. I tend to heavily favor traditionally made brunello so I’m not looking forward to an owner that finds the current wines too austere. made for a heck of a bargain on the VDT though.

Nice notes Matt. Our tasting group did a small Cerbaiona vertical a few months ago with vintages 85, 97,99, 04, 06, 08, 11 and 12. For me the 06 really stood out as having that extra level of purity, deepness and complexity. The 04 usually is at the same level as the 06 but the bottle was somehow off. Alongside all these wines the 12 was a completely different wine with all the attributes you described. There is a certain % of purchased friit added to the regular juice and it really has that dilutive character. Maybe on its own a pleasant early drinker but not even close to the level of the past vintages.

ugh. godspeed Cerbaiona,

Hi Matt,

if I’m reading things right, the 13 while bottled by the new owners should mostly have been made by Molinaris. Am I right on that? If so, then I guess it’ll be time to load up on the last few vintages and just be glad to have them done in the more traditional style.

That was the understanding I left with last night as well. Hate to see what I would consider a ‘grand cru’ site in montalcino go to someone who wants to make wine any way besides classical style. These wines tasted last night show that the classic can be incredibly enjoyable to drink with minimal age but also create a wine that has the stuff to go for the long game. That’s exactly what I want in a wine.