Just back from a great tasting the other day, I haven’t had a horizontal of Brunello in several years.
The great vintages of 2006 and 2007 have left us with some unique and wonderful wines, probably the best vintages since 1997 when frost drastically reduced the yields.
Recently, Brunello’s profile has been on the rise. It is considered among the top Italian wines for quality and finesse worldwide. This rise has been especially noticeable in the US market.
Despite the recent rise in profile,Brunello remains a great value when compared to both Bordeaux and Burgundy. They drink well young and age gracefully something which not all Grands Crus can accomplish.
Brunello’s fine tannins and balance of fruit, acidity, power and elegance make it an easy match for many foods, especially Cantonese food. As Cantonese food is about nuance, so too is Brunello. It isn’t one of those big New World fruit bombs or an Old World Tannin Monster.
The Montalcino area has one of the most arid and warmest climates in all of Tuscany. This results in grapes ripening up to a week or more earlier than in neighboring areas like Chianti and Montepulciano. Combined with Montalcino’s altitude, most vineyards are >;;;;;500m and low average rainfall, the Brunello clones of Sangiovese have adapted to their unique environment to produce wines of character that speak of the people, place and traditions of the origin.
Another unique characteristic in Montalcino is that many producers actively blend between north facing and south facing slopes to harmonize the blend and produce complexity balanced with drinkability.
2006 was a classic vintage; elegant and more restrained than 2007. Fruit and tannins are well balanced and the Riserva’s are ready to consider drinking now.
2007 on the other hand was a much more ripe and voluptuous vintage with a very round mouthfeel and some cooked fruit notes.
Some winners from the tasting:
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2007.
Beautiful. 96 points
Tasting this wine takes me to Chateauneuf du Pape on a late summer evening while the gallets(see photo below)
are still hot from the long afternoon sun and you can almost smell the grapes ripening.
Wonderful red and black fruits and minerality with a touch of garrigue and cherry confiture.
San Filippo Brunello di Montalcino Le Lucere 2006
Stunning- top of show 97points
This wine shows excellent finesse. Balanced fruit, acidity, tannins as my Brit friends so aptly say “Rather moreish”. Red and black cherry fruit with a floral nuance and well integrated tannins.