The myriad of wines hitting store shelves on a daily basis can be dizzying. Among them are wines at nearly every possible level of quality and intent. Most important of course is whether the wine is any good. Assuming it is good, does it fit your budget and needs. I just tasted through just more than 4 dozen wines looking for a few good bottles to stand out.
Viewing entries in
The Holidays aren’t almost here, they’re here, NOW! And if you’re like most people there are a handful of loved ones that you still need to buy a gift for. The good news is there’s still time to get them a nice bottle of wine. Just because it’s last minute, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put thought into it.
This week I had the opportunity to have dinner with Tommaso Cortonesi of Tuscany's La Mannella. Years ago his Grandfather started making wine. However at that time, and for many years later the wine they produced was for consumption by family, friends, and neighbors. In 1985 they made the move to being a commercial winery and released their first Rosso di Montalcino.
Fittingly the last wine this week from Biondi Santi is their Brunello di Montalcino. This is perhaps their best known offering year after year and one of the legendary releases to emerge from Italy annually. The 2001 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Vineayrds sources for this offering are between 10 and 25 years old. This selection was aged in Slavonian oak for 3 years followed by a minimum of 4 months bottle refining. 4750 cases of this Brunello were produced and the suggested retail price is $190.
Not surprisingly this wine is very reticent at first. If you're thinking about drinking it now, decant it for 10-12 hours. As it opens the nose shows cherry, eucalyptus, vanilla and cedar notes. Spice is the hallmark of the mid-palate with nutmeg and pepper as the main attractions. These spices are accompanied by fresh fruit flavors of red plum, bing cherry and light wild strawberry. The finish is very long and persistent with spice, earth and terrific mineral notes that cling to the back of the throat as this one closes out. This is is a rich, full flavored wine that should be paired with an equally opulent meal. Osso Buco, Grilled Tuscan Steak and Shepherds Pie come to mind as obvious complements.
What I like best about this wine is the tremendous finish that goes on for a long time, offering great complexity. Right now, though, this wine is a baby. My recommendation would be to sock a couple of these away for an anniversary or other special occasion 15 or more years down the road. By then this wine will have had a chance to resolve itself, secondary flavors will be more developed and it will be more impressive all around. As noted above if you do decide to drink it anytime soon, decant it for at least 10 hours. A tremendous example of a benchmark Brunello in a very good vintage. Kudos to Biondi Santi.
Imported by Shaw-Ross International Importers.
Up Next: Winemaker Dinner, Renae Hirsch of Henry's Drive.
Please take a quick moment to vote for my blog
The third wine from Poggio Di Salvi I'm looking at is the first of two Brunellos. The other one is from Biondi Santi itself. Notes on that are coming up over the next few days. Brunello stands with Barolo and Barberesco as one of the triumvirate of most esteemed Italian Wines. There are restrictions on varietal, aging and the like on all of these wines to make sure, among other things, that quality in these regions stays consistent. All three can be tremendous wines with terrific aging potential when done right. The 2000 Poggio di Salvi Brunello di Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The grapes chosen for this particular offering are from a group of south west facing vines, all at more than 1,100 feet above sea level. It spent 30 months in Slavonian oak barrels and a minimum of 6 months in bottle before its release. Approximately 6,000 cases of this wine are made each year. This has a suggested retail price in the mid $70's but can be found for closer to $60.
This 2000 Brunello is incredibly perfumed with notes of violets, leather, cherry and cedar. From the first sip onward dried fruit notes, including sour cherry and red raspberry, are among the hallmark characteristics of this wine. Vanilla appears as a subtle undertone throughout. The finish on this wine is very long and persistent; spice, earth and fruit making their presence known. This will be a good match for mushroom risotto, strong cheeses, and slow-cooked, full flavored meats.
The 2000 Poggio di Salvi Brunello di Montalcino is built with layer upon layer of complexity. It evolves throughout an evening, revealing an impressive structure, refined power and elegance.
What I like best about his Brunello is that it's full flavored, rich and mouth-filling while never straying close to being too big, or in your face, in style. It is in fact impeccably balanced with tremendous acidity. Between that and the rich fruit, this wine has a nice long shelf life ahead of it. This promises to improve for the next 10-12 years and drink well for 5 or more after that, if not longer. At $60 or so this may not be a choice as an everyday drinker for most people. However, this is a great one to tuck away for a holiday or special occasion.
Imported by Shaw-Ross International Importers.
Please take a quick moment to vote for my blog.