Monthly Archives: November 2015

Brunello 2010 focus on the Barolo-Brunello tasting in Copenhagen

The danish Berlingske Media held a tasting at Børsen in Copenhagen on the 20th of November. There were 20 producers from barolo and 20 of brunello. It was a good opportunity to taste several brunelli from the great vintage of 2010. The vintage 2010 is special in the sense that it is great in many different areas, but most notable Burgundy and Piedmont. Especially the southern very warm parts of Montalcino really render their best wines in cool and long-cycled vintages like 2010 in our opinion.

Here are several samples from the tasting.

 

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Ville la Prata

The nose here is dense and a little warm with some depth. Typical rubber boots, fine herbs and spices. A fine perfume of earthy minerals and iron. On the palate it is dense, warm, sweet and spicy coated in metal-earthy minerals with fine acidity, but overly sweet and lacks some freshness.

88p/100

DSC04602Uccelliera

Even though Andrea Cortonesi uses a high level of new wood, he is skilful in a Burgundish manner to elevate the fruit and terroir with less added wood sensations. The 2004 vintage was tasted here.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Uccelliera

Gracefully seductive as usual with balsamically fresh complex herbs.  A very supple and tip toeing envelope with generous aromas of iron-infused red fruit from Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Impressively smooth, round and pure wine with much finesse and elegance.

94+p/100

DSC04603Tenuta Silvio Nardi

2010 Brunello di Montalcino

Clearly, a bombastic and full-bodied Californina-style brunello that we dislike.  Way too much new and well-toasted wood in here that makes any further analysis less interesting. The acidity appears to be high quality, cool and crisp, but does it matter when you cannot recognise its origins in the western part of Montalcino. How sad, since there is obviously good fruit inside of all the oak sensations.

-84p/100

DSC04604San Giorgio

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Ugolforte”

A modern nose with some immediate oak notes, but still with elegance and is the case with Uccelliera it is skilfully handcrafted. I am told it is raised in 50% new wood of light toasting and the rest 2nd passage. Moreover, some leather, cherry and darker minerals. It is very rich, generous on the palate and juicy, ripe from dark fruit, spices, smoke, notes of tobacco and deep minerals. It dances on the edge of too much oak, but it is a very polished, round, sophisticated wine build with finesse so we are very forgiving in this case.

92-93p/100

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Tenuta Buon Tempo

This producer is new to us and located in the south-east of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Filippo says that they employ a 20 day extraction in 2010 and use 40% new oak with the focus to only lift the terroir and aromas, but still quite high level.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino

A deep, earthy, ethereal and complex nose. Distinct, dense rubber boots, currants, salty black olives, cinnamon cookies, worn leather and lovely mineral-embedded balsamic herbs slips through from the one year in 40% new wood treatment, but thankfully not well toasted. An impressive and direct nose. On the palate it impresses with its cool, fresh balsamic acidity wrapping dried herbs and salty minerals. Very good balance and richness too. Packed with racy, dark fruit; black berries, blue berries and viol, liquorice, worn leather, black peppers and dried spices with Just a little dryness in the elegant and persistent, but quite bombastic and powerful finish. Its obvious backside is its texture that is smudgy and currently a little too fleshy as well. Even though, it lacks precision and smooth texture, we like everything else with this generous wine and we are forgiving with the oak contributions. This will need some more years to come together, but it sure has potential.

94p/100

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Tassi

This is producer from Castiglione dell’Abate, we have never tasted before.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Tassi

Obvious excess of oak on the immediate nose. However, fresh and clean notes of herbs, corithns and coffee, but embedded in oak sensations. On the palate, our suspicions unfortunately are proven correct and there is also excessive of alcohol which disturbs the otherwise fine balance. There are good fruit in here and finesse, but they were not careful enough. What a shame.

87-88p/100

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Franci”, Tassi

Obvious excess of oak here too. However, fresh and clean notes of herbs, corithns and coffee slips through, but embedded in oak sensations here too. On the palate, there are better fruit in here; plum, dry cherries as well as Mediterranean herbs, but they were not careful here either. More persistent, but at a high cost of integrity and honesty. However, there is no oak bitterness.

89-p/100

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Le Macioche

A new acquaintance. Modern but very unusual and interesting wine and the producer employs a lengthy 30-days extraction on the skins. They are located in the south-east part of Montalcino being neighbour with our hero, Salicutti there.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Le Macioche

Very unusal nose of nectarine and yellow pears opens up here and then a great fresh perfume lingers. It is really fresh, but so unexpected. On the palate, it stays true to its nose and except for notes of cherry, it apricot and nectarine flavours dominate this wine. It is generous and persistent with a pleasant dry finish of finesse.

93p/100

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Le Chiuse

Lorenzo Magnelli, is an interesting guy carrying on a legacy his familly shares with the legendary Biondi-Santi, the creator of Brunelli, and their vineyards. He explains that most important in vinification is to physically affecting the wine as little as possible and this is why they use gravity and gentle pressing to sustain high quality. They do green harvest for concentration when necessary. Absolutely a very interesting wine grower to follow closely.

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Lorenzo Magnelli

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Le Chiuse

The nose opens slowly in the glass with fine balsamically wrapped dried herbs, corinthian and worn leather. There is a deep and honest inner perfume here that is quite captivating. On the palate it offers black olives, licorice-root,  notes of coffee, figs and black, ripe fruit infused with deep, dark minerals,. Tannins are a little edgy now, but they are thick and soft with great potential. This is a thick, dense, persistent and fresh old-school brunello with very much personality made for the cellar.

95p/100

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Col d’Orca has never impressed us and even in a fabulous vintage like 2010 it is not up to game. We didn’t even bother with Val di Suga and Barbi.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Col d’Orca

An ok perfume of dark cherries and black tea leaves. On the palate it is inconsistent and lacks concentration. It offers black peppers, bleach coffee and notes of leather, but It is even hollow and while texture is just fine, its acidity is whiny and of bad quality. This is a hollow wine with low quality, bitter acidity and flatness.

82-84p/100

 

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Castiglion del Bosco

Castiglion del Bosco’s brunelli are from a site in the north-west part of Montalcino. They use a more moderately lower level of new oak (20%) among the modern style producers and use gravity to affect the grape juice as little as possible.  Campo del Drago. is from the highest point at 460 m in the the vineyard of the same name. The wine to the right is from the Capanna vineyard at 350-450 m.

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2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Capanna”, Castiglion del Bosco

A very fresh and fine nose full of balsamic herbs, distinct metal-infused minerals and pretty flowers. On the palate it is impressively balanced and complex with pure darker, creamy and fine honey-infused fruit. Acidity is fine, but now a little unpleasantly bitter. Smooth, pliant and very soft texture, but texture is fleshy, shitty with some excessive sweetness in the rich and persistent finish. but tannins need a lot of time still. Acidity is still fresh, fruit is pure and it is balanced.

91p/100

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Campo del Drago”, Castiglion del Bosco

Very much like its sibbling but tannins are riper and even better in this one. Also more concentration with a notch more finesse and less bitterness.

93p/100

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Sabine, a very nice dane, that lives in Montalcino and promotes and markets their wines. Lucky her. 🙂

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Caparzo

Caparzo has always been good, but to be honest, they have not really caught our attention until now.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa”, Caparzo

Interesting nose of lemon-peel, gravel, smoke and autumn notes. On the palate, what first strike us is its Impressive balance and genuine aromas of balsamic herbs, dry licorice and spices. Texture is very smooth, fleshy and bold, but very soft. It is meaty, a little fleshy and quite generous too.

93p/100

 

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Summary

It is no news that Brunello di Montalcino still suffers from giving into American markets that still wants bombastic and powerful wines whose persistence is counted in minutes. However, the exampe of such wines are less now than some years ago which is pleasing as consumers tend to look more for genuine wines of personality. Some producers still manage to dance on the edge here like Uccelliera, Buon Tempo and San Giorgio, but does this with smartness and skill so as a consumer we are very much forgiving as everything else is so great and interesting. As was/is the case with the celebrated 2010 vintage of Barolo, the producer is the most important regardless of vintages.

At this tasting Uccelliera and Buon Tempo stood out as the best of the modern style brunello and on the other side in the traditional corner, Le Chiuse, was a very postive new acquaintance. Obviously, we’d like some of the top producers here as well like Cerbaiona, Salvioni, Soldera, Costanti, etc for better benchmarking in terms of quality, but I still think we managed to assemble a good perspective of good producers under the radar and some unknown to us.

Azelia makes a good margheria in 2011

DSC046192011 Azelia, Margheria

Transparent and lightly blood-orange colour with tints of orange-brown.

Very balsamically opulent and dense, but fresh nose with honey, notes of tar, tobacco, black pepper and sherry notes as well as some hours later; a subtle pretty perfume that is not so much about red flowers. Fine complexity lifted by skilful oak-treatment.

On the palate, distinct tar, obvious dry liquorice-root, some glycerin, fresh ginger, porto raisins, figs, notes of tar, chewing-tobacco. The blue- and black fruit is overly sweet. Unfortunately, texture is not great. In fact, tannins are somewhat edgy, grainy from oak and not ripe. Balance is good, but most importantly, the acidity is crisp (if given two hours of decanting that is) and vivid wrapping dry honey and metallic minerals as well as being impressively clean. It is concentrated and pliant with a slender body. The finish is quite long, but dry and currently it adds an unpleasant bleach coffee tone. This might be an effect of oak.

This wine is very forward, racy and generous, but its texture is under-performing by being overly fleshy and coarse and it is a little butterfingered we are afraid. Even so, it is somewhat saved by its clean and fresh acidity, enjoyable perfume and its overall complexity. Several 2011s are better altogether than anticipated and this is still one of them, but barely. It is drinkable now, but wait until 2017 to hopefully let the tannins ripen and settle much more.

91p/100

 

A very good representative of the warm 2011 vintage in Monforte, Barolo

The traditional producer Fratelli Alessandro is a great and honest one from Verduno in the most north-western part of Barolo and a little in the shadow of the better known Burlotto estate. The estate has been in the possession of the Alessandra family since 1870, but the winery dates back to the 1840’s. Here we taste their 2011 Gramolere which is not from Verduno, but Monforte d’Alba close by the more famous Santo Stefano di Perno vineyard. 2001 was the first time they started producing this single-vineyard bottling which is a Burgundy inspired change. However, this wine is from a very high, open and windy place at 425 m above sea-level, but still quite warm micro climate. Actually, Alessandro owns the best middle part with south-west exposition so a very interesting wine indeed. 2011 is a warm vintage so any wind is appreciated.

DSC045942011 Fratelli Alessandro, Barolo Gramolere

Totally transparent, glowingly blood orange with red purple nuances. Beautifully clean colour.

After some hours, the nose, still quite subtle, emerges with balsamically fresh Mediterranean herbs, glycerin, thyme, notes of leather, tar and after an hour there is a lovely perfume with rose petals and lilies. Great complex nose, but not immediately seductive in a good way.

The palate offers a high quality, balsamic acidity and it is generously succulent with overly, jammy sweet, but cool and ripe red fruits coated in fine crystalline minerals. It is pleasantly dominated by small, concentrated wild strawberries, but we also also find mulberries. Other aromas are blood orange, sweet liquorice, cinnamon and fennel. All these goodies are all framed in very smooth, soft and ripe tannins with fine sandy texture, almost velvety without any excessive dryness at all and the wine is very generously rich, pliant without any hardness or edges. Impressive tannin cut, polish and texture.

It is not as dense as expected and rather normal bodied in this warm vintage. Yes, its backside is its much overly sweetness, but not at the expense of a crispy, cool acidity and even though the label says 15% alcohol, this is not disturbing either. Actually, they rendered very ripe tannins by waiting some days here, obviously. A very price-worthy example of barolos representing this vintage well. It is very sensitive to temperature, so make sure to serve it no warmer than 18 ºC (64ºF). Drink now. It will not benefit from more ageing.

93p/100