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