If you want to experience the energy, elegance and ageworthy structure that first drew wine lovers and collectors to Brunello di Montalcino decades ago, then 2013 is your vintage.\r\n\r\nA classic vintage, the best 2013s boast remarkable aging potential not seen in years. In a tasting of 181 of the just-released Brunellos, 112 wines were rated 90 points or higher, while 21 received 95 points or more. One even earned a perfect score of 100.\r\n\r\nThe top wines are stunning, with a radiance missed in many of the muscular, more approachable and higher alcohol Brunellos from recent vintages. The 2013s will require patience to reach their maximum potential.\r\n\r\nUnlike the extremely warm, dry years that have become the norm in Montalcino since the mid-1990s (exceptions include 1998, 2002 and 2005), the 2013 vintage was a blast from the past. It was a cool year, with abundant rainfall in spring and the first part of the summer. Careful vineyard management was needed to keep the grapes free of disease.\r\n\r\nThe 2013 growing season proved incredibly long and slow. Cooler temperatures prevailed in September and the first half of October, and the grapes benefitted from ample sunshine and breezy conditions. It produced fragrant, medium-bodied wines loaded with finesse.\r\n\r\nThe best are impeccably balanced, with vibrant acidity and firm but noble tannins. Overall, alcohol levels also ring of the past, as many wines declare 13.5% and 14% abv. That\u2019s a stark contrast to 14.5% and 15% levels that have become increasingly common since the start of the 2000s.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLorenzo Magnelli, winemaker at his family\u2019s Le Chiuse estate says that, \u201c2013 is a classic vintage in every sense, and produced wines with intensity, elegance, energy and firm but well-integrated tannins.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cUnlike other cooler vintages in recent memory, like 2005 and 2008 that had more rain, especially toward the end of the growing season,\u201d he says. \u201cIn 2013, sunny weather in September and the first part of October significantly pushed back the harvest. We started picking our Sangiovese for Brunello on Oct. 18, about 20 days later than usual. Picking this late hasn\u2019t happened since the 1980s.\u201d\r\n\r\nLocated just north of Montalcino, the small estate of Le Chiuse has an impressive pedigree. Simonetta Valiani, Lorenzo\u2019s mother, inherited the property from her mother, daughter to the legendary Tancredi Biondi Santi.\r\n\r\nLe Chiuse used to supply grapes for Biondi Santi\u2019s lauded Riservas before Lorenzo, along with his father and his mother, began to bottle their own wines in the early 1990s. The firm\u2019s radiant 2013 is breathtakingly gorgeous.\r\n\r\nFrancesco Buffi, who runs the boutique Baricci winery along with his brother Federico and his parents, is also enthusiastic about the 2013 vintage.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s a textbook Brunello, the kind of vintage we greet with open arms here at Baricci,\u201d he says.\r\n\r\nFounded in 1955 by Francesco\u2019s grandfather, Nello Baricci, the tiny estate is located on the Montosoli hill, one of the most famous vineyard sites in Montalcino.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen compared to warmer vintages, 2013 shows another side of Sangiovese that\u2019s all about finesse, freshness and vibrancy, characteristics [seen less] due to climate change,\u201d says Buffi.\r\n\r\nWhile the vintage is superb, there were some underperformers. Some growers may have harvested before the grapes were fully ripened, which produced lean wines that showed raw fruit. Others apparently left the grapes on vine too long, which resulted in wines with sensations of stewed fruit and evident alcohol.\r\n\r\n\u201c[The 2013 vintage] was challenging and tested our nerves, especially when unsettled weather threatened toward the end of September,\u201d Buffi says. \u201cBut those who didn\u2019t panic and waited until the first week of October were rewarded.\u201d\r\n\r\n2013 Brunello di Montalcino: 10 Top-Rated Wines\r\nLe Chiuse (Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd.); $79, 100 points. Cellar Selection\r\nAltesino Montosoli (Leonardo LoCascio Selections\u2013The Winebow Group); $125, 99 points.\u00a0Cellar Selection\r\nBaricci (K&L Wine Merchants); $57, 97 points. Cellar Selection\r\nConti Costanti (Empson USA Ltd); $95, 97 points. Cellar Selection\u00a0\u00a0 \r\nSalvioni (Vias Imports); $208. 97 points. Cellar Selection\r\nL'Aietta (Indie Wineries); $145, 96 points. Cellar Selection\r\nPieve Santa Restituta Sugarille (Terlato Wines International); $185, 96 points. Cellar Selection\r\nSan Polo (Leonardo LoCascio Selections\u2013The Winebow Group); $80, 96 points. Cellar Selection\r\nSalicutti Piaggione (Polaner Selections); $82, 96 points.\r\nCastelgiocondo (Shaw-Ross International Importers); $79, 96 points.\r\n\r\nAlongside the 2013 Brunellos was the release of the 2012 Riservas, a number of which were outstanding, including two awarded 100 points. (Take a look back at the 2012 vintage.)\r\n\r\n2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Top-Rated Wines: 5 Top-Rated Wines\r\nCiacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Vigna di Pianrosso Santa Caterina d'Oro Riserva (Indigenous Selections); $140, 100 points. Cellar Selection\r\nConti Costanti Riserva (Empson USA Ltd); $190, 100 points. Cellar Selection\r\nPadelletti Riserva (Haw River Wine Man); $85, 96 points. Cellar Selection\u00a0\u00a0 \r\nLe Gode Riserva (Superior Wines); $110, 96 points.\r\nGianni Brunelli Riserva (de Grazia Imports LLC); $120, 96 points.