Cantina La Serena

Italy / tuscany

Producer Info

Owned by the Montalcinese Mantengoli family since 1933, the 50 ha (of which 10ha are vineyards) La Serena estate in Montalcino in Tuscany was brought to life in in 1988 by sons Andrea & Marcelo, an architect who designed the imposing winery. Andrea and his wife Elisabetta, along with their young sons Giorgio & Giulio, now run the estate, aided by consultant Paolo Caciorgna. 2001 was the first release of ‘Gemini’ Brunello Riserva. 2006 saw the first bottling in their new cantina, & 2010 was when the estate became organic.

Situated on an eastern shoulder of the Montalcino zone, below the town itself, the property is fortunate to have vines on limestone rich tufo soils, which Andrea manages organically. Stylistically La Serena’s wine echo those of its neighbours, such as the more celebrated Cerbaiona nextdoor, the tufo soils, good water retention, high altitude & eastern aspect giving plum coloured ruby red wines with generous loganberry fruit flavours. Vinified in stainless steel & then subsequently aged in large slavonian oak botte as well as in a small amount of second fill barriques, Andrea’s wines display a great drinkability even when young while respecting the identity of their piece of Montalcino terroir.

Their Rosso di Montalcino comes from younger vines from lower, more humid & fertile parcels giving plenty of thinner skinned grapes & hence earlier drinking wines. The Brunello di Montalcino fruit is selected from the vines higher up the slope, on poorer, better drained soils giving less but better, thicker skinned bunches.

The Brunello di Montalcino Riserva ‘Gemini’ is a selection of the best fruit, from the oldest vines, from clones giving the most loosely packed bunches. All the vines are (increasingly) trained to guyot (capo volta) for more lighter, more loosely packed bunches (vs. cordon speronata that gives more compact, heavier bunches).

> Certified organic fruit & wine (“bio”), as uses less than 100 mg of sulphur


Rosso di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino

‘Gemini’ Brunello di Montalcino Riserva


Tasting Notes

2017 Rosso di Montalcino – Andrea makes only a small quantity of Rosso, as 88% of his 12ha can qualify as worthy of producing Brunello! The 2017, tasted from botte Nov’18, is bright, rich with mulberry fruit character, richly textured, flesh & desire!

2016 Rosso di Montalcino – tasted from tino Jan’18, to be bottled March ’18; kirsch black cherry, compact, crunchy black pepper, creamy nose; crunchy cool cherry, square, but also cleansing, racy, predominantly from declassified vines planted in 1999 – il piccolo Brunello! Tasted again mid-April 2018 – really singing! Gorgeous, crunchy bright fruit, very fine tannins delicious.

2016 Brunello di Montalcino – from wood (troncoconico), a balanced year in Andrea’s opinion, violets, fragrant, compact, crunchy, precise, deft brambly fruit, frutta di bosco…

2015 Brunello di Montalcino – from wood, a vintage similar to 2011 & 2003 according to Andrea, indeed 16%abv, kirsch black cherries, super, emphatic, rich…

..retasted Nov’18 from tronco/wood, the vintage & wine warmer than 2016, 36 months ageing, mostly in large wooden troncoconico/vats, creamy, bright, brambly kirsch, lots of bright highlights, bio pure & alive…

2014 Brunello di Montalcino – from botte, 13.5%, less hit by the infamous susuki fly, piu fresco, refreshing, petit (?), crunchy cool & salivating, fascinating, complex…

…Retasted Jan’18, still in wood: no reduction in quantita, but then the Riserva ‘Gemini’ element has been incorporated dentro! Delicate restraint, markedly different from the gelato red fruit of 2015! Love its refreshing tea-leaf, light-on-its-feet character

2013 Brunello di Montalcino – tasted Jan’18, 14.3% abv, bottled. Not a wine for those expecting a repeat of the dark 2012, as 2013 was a mild vintage, giving a pale red, cool restraint, concrete, focus, intertwined red fruit & incense/sacrestia fruit, held tightly by coiled acidity; full, elegant juiciness, notable fruit tannins covered by red cherry stone flesh, along with distinct incense, tobacco & spezia. Cool restraint, understated, linear, yet with an extra gear of sprint! Pacy.

…retasted Nov’18, having been bottled in 2017: focus, cool restraint, rosehip & cherry, neat; sapid, intense, refined, red cherry stone undercurrent, nicely poised.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino – c.28k bts bottled in April 2016, s/s fermentation for 15/20 days, incl malolactic, followed by 30 mths in both (French) Boutes & (Slavonian) Garbellotto botte grande. Andrea says that 2012 is “fantastico” for him, not fine like 2013 or 2016 but the accent on the “potenza” with higher alcohol. Brambly broad colour,; the nose rich with loganberry, leather, quinine, sense of thick skins & of hedgerow fruit. So different to the ethereal, rose/peach skin expressions of Scopetone & Fattoria del Pino, La Serena has a dark, brooding, tamarind character that is shared with the likes of Cerbaiona (of old). Squarer, but lush tannins, a more masculine expression of Brunello (as made by a bloke!)

2013 ‘Gemini’ Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – tasted Nov’18 from bottle; available from 1 January 2019, in theory: darker, more intense rosehip, ‘sacrestia’, from vines planted in 1990 that give open loosely hung berries; open, tea leaf, glacier cherry…

2012 ‘Gemini’ Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – vinified in big oak, bottled June 2017, 14.9%, dense, broad blackberry & panna (cream), super extra marcia/gear, grasso, yet also lots of stoffa/substance, tapenade, spezia/spice, graphite & tar, clove, but refreshed by bright fruit acidity. Impressive….

…retasted Jan’18, 15% abv: dense, direi opaque, PX nose! tamarindo, black pepper & clove, aged only in botti grandi, Fabbri black cherry, tobacco/ash, reflecting a vintage of thick skins & little flesh perfectly!

…retasted Nov’18, dark hedgerow fruit, sense of spessura/thickness, tar, tamarind, yet still bright & energetico, plenty of black strap material!