Looking Back to Look Forward: Back Vintage Brunello
While claims regarding ageworthiness made by some of Montalcino’s most famous properties can seem exaggerated, Sangiovese, in the form of Brunello di Montalcino, does have the capacity to mature beautifully. Simply take a look at the wines of the 1970s and 1980s from estates such as Il Poggione, Col d’Orcia, Biondi-Santi, Argiano or Canalicchio di Sopra, to name a few. The fact is if you love Brunello and are only cellaring new vintages, you’re missing out on these mature beauties.
Over time and in a well-kept cellar, the best Brunello soften and gain weight. The tannins start to resolve and residual acids add lift, releasing inner sweetness and an ethereal character that leans more toward dried florals, berries, earth and tobacco. While the ‘dark days’ of the 1990s saw vast growth in the region along with the introduction of small new oak and winemaking wizardry at some estates, which darkened and muddled the wines, many producers stayed the course and stuck with tradition. The resulting wines are simply glorious. Through the 2000s, Montalcino began to change again, both accepting global warming as an issue and looking to counteract it, but also refocusing on Sangiovese. A number of estates were found to be blending in international varieties to darken and fortify the wines. Nonetheless, this time period created positive change that paved the way for today’s winemakers, and ultimately improved the wines on a broad scale.
Costanti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2006
“The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino pulls you close to the glass with a captivating bouquet of rich plum and strawberry preserves, complemented by autumnal spices and a whiff of shaved cedar. Its 15 years of maturity has softened the blow of the aggressive tannins that once dominated this wine, now revealing an array of ripe wild berries, sour citrus and exotic florals that both soothe and stimulate the palate. It’s still lightly structured and working its way up to the peak of maturity, at this time creating a perfect frame for the beautiful fruit found within. This remains persistent yet fresh, resonating on nuances of licorice and hints of red currant. Readers will enjoy the 2006 for many years to come.”
Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010
“The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva received an official “wow” from the moment I put my nose to the glass. Here I’m finding a beguiling bouquet of crushed black cherries and mint, mixed with cinnamon and grilled sage. There’s a cool-toned feel to the silky, medium-bodied textures, and a fruit profile that is still quite dense and tightly wound, with mineral-tinged red berries and savory spices cascading across the palate. What remains is a wall of heroic structure, yet also a pleasant inner sweetness and residual acids to balance. The 2010 has many years of development ahead of it, not quite ready to reveal its charms, but like a bomb just waiting to explode.”
Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012
“Deep, dark, brooding and incredibly rich, the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva lifts up from the glass. There are depths of rich dark fruits and spices to work through here as it continues to blossom, nuances of candied citrus offsetting leather strap and hints of smoke. It’s silky-smooth and opulent in feel, yet offers bright acidity and tart red and black berries to balance. Inner florals and hints of balsam herbs arch across the palate, above a coating of saline-minerality and slow-building tannins. This tapers off structured yet incredibly long, energized by a flourish of spicy citrus and lasting florality. The 2012 may not be the longest-lived Costanti Riserva, but it will excel over the medium term and is just short of entering a beautiful drinking window.”
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2006
“The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is more reserved and moodier than the 2007 placed beside it, as crushed stone minerality gives way to more black than red fruits, as well as lavender. It’s soft, fleshy yet somehow lifted in feel, coming across as incredibly pure and almost salty in nature, washing notes of plum and savory herbs across the palate, all carried by a core of brisk acidity. At times, the 2006 reminds me more of food than wine. Cherry pits and grippy tannins resonate throughout the finale. There’s a dark, animal nature here that keeps you coming back for more. It’s simply stunning today, but it has many years of positive evolution in store.”
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2007
“The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva shows cherry and plum sauce, lifted by sweet sage and mint, yet still quite rich and intense. With time, it dips down to earth with a mix of flowery undergrowth and wet stone. It’s velvety and weighty, yet a core of stimulating acidity and inner spice saturates the palate as dark red fruits penetrate deeply. Though still lightly structured, the 2007 is drinking beautifully today, showing only a hint of its maturity through a nuance of crushed fall leaves. A resonating note of licorice lingers incredibly long.”
By Eric Guido| Vinous.com
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