Wine Review: 2003 Tenute Loacker – Brunello di Montalcio Riserva DOCG

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of drinking one of my favorite bottles of Brunello di Montalcino. Below you find my tasting notes for it.


Tuscany is hilly land, rich in forests and dotted with small villages and ancient castles. It is famous for It with its olive oils, Parma ham, cheese and of course wine. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti Classico, Morellino di Scansano and Montecucco are all highly-prized but the red wines from Montalcino, Brunello and Rosso, are among the most famous Italian wines.

The hills of Montalcino

The hills of Montalcino by S. Kline Photography. License: CC BY-NC 2.0

In the 1850s, Clemente Santi, an oenologist from Montalcino, began to study the different types of Sangiovese clones. He came to the conclusion that Sangiovese Grosso was best fit for red wine production. His nephew Ferruccio Biondi-Santi planted the first Sangiovese Grosso in Montalcino. The grapes were locally known as Brunello because of their dark color. Clemente named the wine Brunello di Montalcino. The Biondi-Santi family still produces Brunello di Montalcino today.

In 1966, Brunello di Montalcino became one of Italy’s first DOC wines and only 14 years later Brunello was upgraded to DOCG status. Brunello is produced exclusively with Sangiovese and has to age at least for five years out of which the wine has to spend 2 years in oak. A Brunello Riserva has to age for at least six years before it may be put into commerce.

Let’s take a closer look at the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from Tenute Loacker.

2003 Tenute Loacker Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

2003 Tenute Loacker - Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCGThe wine is produced with 100% Sangiovese Grosso and classified as Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG. It was vinified in oak.

In the glass, ruby red color with brownish hues. 15% was the label listed alcohol by volume.

The nose was very complex and intense. There was a heavy aroma of cocoa, blackcurrant, some forest fruit, plums, nuts and a bit of eucalyptus.

In the mouth, dry, full-bodied, well-balanced with mellow, pleasing tannins. Still fresh and quite earthy. There were notes of dark chocolate and spices. Spectacular, savory, lingering finish.

4.5 / 5 stars      

2003 was an excellent vintage for Brunello di Montalcino and vintners were very happy with it, especially after the rather poor 2002 harvest. The 2002 harvest is considered one of the worst of the last decades. Too much rain and mild tempreatures caused a difficult maturation. 2003 was a whole different story: Sunny weather from April to August allowed the grapes to develop well. The results at harvest were healthy grapes of high quality.

Parting Words

The 2003 Tenute Loacker Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is one the very best of its kind and highly recommended. A bottle retails for around 55€. For a Brunello Riserva that is a very good QPR.
Find this wine on Wine Searcher.

What’s your opinion on Brunello? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below.


30 comments on “Wine Review: 2003 Tenute Loacker – Brunello di Montalcio Riserva DOCG”

  1. Pingback: Wine Review: 2003 Tenute Loacker - Brunello di ...

  2. wineking3 wineking3 Reply

    Brunello is incredibly expensive so I don’t drink it often but it’s always a pleasure to drink. I bought a bottle of 2006 Loacker Brunello in New York a few months ago. Looking forward to drink that one.
    Nice review!

  3. Marco van Puff Reply

    Even though I read a few posts about Loacker on your blog I never had the chance to try one of their wines yet. They are really hard to find and I don’t have experience with ordering wine online. Any suggestions?

      • talkavino Reply

        If I may add here – if you live in US, Tenute Loacker is available from time to time on Wine Til Sold Out (WTSO). I got a bottle of 2006 Brunello based on Julian’s recommendation. I also had a very interesting white wine from Tenute Loacker.

        • Julian Rossello Reply

          How did you like the 2006 Brunello? I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do : )
          Loacker produces some pretty good white wines in South Tyrol. They also grow Vermentino in Tuscany which I find quite interesting.

          • talkavino

            Didn’t open the Brunello yet – I’m in no hurry : ) But I really enjoyed Vermentino during summer : )

  4. winetalks winetalks Reply

    The picture of the Tuscan landscape brings back good memories. Thanks!
    Tuscany has one of the most stunning countrysides I’ve seen so far.

    I don’t know this Brunello Riserva but I can almost taste it just by reading your description. Often Brunello is too smokey and too earthy for my taste. This one sounds like I might enjoy it.

  5. Sean P. Reply

    Thanks for this interesting review, Julian.
    I’m not a fan of Brunello (sorry!) so I think I’ll skip this one.

    Have a good weekend 🙂

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      In my opinion the Loacker Brunello di Montalcino most of the time taste far better than the ones from Banfi. Maybe you should give one of them a try and see for your self?

  6. theducksong Reply

    i red recently that it’s recommended not to decant wines, which are older than 8-12 years. what’s your opinion on this matter? i have a few older vintages of rioja reserva and chianti ruffina (2004 and older).

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Personally, I like to decant most of my older vintages but I’ve tried a Chianti Ruffina from 1983 some months ago and I did not decant it. Some wines lose a lot when they breath for too long. Therefore it’s better to just uncork them and give them a little air but not to decant them.

  7. Suzanne Reply

    Trying to find the 2003, wine searcher for the US has 1990. Emailed two wine stores to see if they could locate it for me. I am hoping the wine shoppe at Eataly may have it. Sounds very nice and as always a great review.

  8. drinkforlife Reply

    I’m tempted to buy one of the 1990 Loacker Brunello Riserva. Ever tried one them?
    Great review like always 😀

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      I haven’t tried the 1990 Loacker Brunello Riserva yet but I know that the 1990 vintage is considered in general one of Brunello’s very best. There is always the risk though that the wine might not have passed all this time well though..

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      That sounds wonderful! Looking forward to read about that event and particularly about all the Brunello on your blog (if you decide to write about it)

      • talkavino Reply

        Will do my best. It will not be simple, though, as the week after Brunello seminar there is VinItaly and Gambero Rosso – quite a sensory overload, if you ask me…

  9. foodwine88 Reply

    This sounds like a Brunello I might enjoy. I have a hard time finding a Brunello that is worth the money. Maybe I’ll be able to try it at one of the upcoming trade shows.

    • Julian Rossello Reply


      Brunello can be a wonderful wine but the very good ones tend to be (at least a little) overpriced.
      Let me know what you think about Loacker Brunello if you try some.

  10. Oliver Reply

    I still haven’t touched my vertical of Loacker Brunello wines, none of them are Riserva, but I am getting excited again and again, whenever I find you writing about their wines. The time for opening a bottle is definitely coming closer! 🙂

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