Saturday, August 29, 2015

2010 Brunello Vintage Report - Part 1

Benvenuto Brunello 2010

 I very much enjoyed this year's Benvenuto Brunello event, where approximately forty producers gathered to introduce the 2010 vintage. The setting was Gotham Hall, in Manhattan, as it has been for the last three years. It is a wonderful space, and a well run event, but the best part, of course, was the wine. This year was especially wonderful because the current vintage release is 2010.

After tasting approximately 40 examples of 2010 Brunello, it is safe to say this is an outstanding and classic vintage; a fact that is fairly well known thanks to the abundant press to that effect. Perhaps the most pronounced common thread among these examples is the freshness of fruit; not a "new wine" kind of fruit, but rather a freshly cut black and red fruit style. This freshness supports a finesse that I saw in many examples. By finesse, I mean an elegance despite the firm power and structure that comes with well made Brunello.
In a word, 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino is versatile. So many of them are drinking well now, but are still showing great composition, balance, and depth that indicates they will last and improve with age.
You won't find very many highly extracted "fruit bombs" in this year's class, except for those producers who have that style as a deliberate goal, but the fruit is completely ripe, and well supported by the acidity essential to the Brunello experience. The tannins are there as well, and in some cases they are pronounced, but that only speaks to the longevity of the vintage, which should be significant. Add to that the prevalence of great balance, and you have a vintage made for the classic Brunello lover.
Is this the vintage of the century or of a lifetime? I hope not, since this is the way Brunello should be every year, weather permitting. Should you run out and buy 2010 Brunello? Of course, but don't forget the other vintages which will be available at a lower price. Personally, I'm shopping for 2004 and 2006, in addition to the '10s. Enjoy!

Here are my notes on a few representatives and favorites from the event, and elsewhere.*

2010 Le Ragnaie "Fornace"  Brunello Di Montalcino $14% ABV $120

  There's a "wow" factor as the aromas push their way out of the glass making an immediate impression with dark, warm, red cherry blended with cardamom, turmeric, and cloves.The palate has a savory character, with sweet charred meats, anise, dark Earth, dried basil, and wonderful aromatic action. Quite complex, and hard to pin down, which is what I love about well made Sangiovese wines. Very well balanced and complete, with plenty of stuffing and a long finish. 96 Pts




   2010 Il Poggione  Brunello Di Montalcino 14.5% ABV $65

The nose is solid and finessed at the same time, showing dense, firm black cherry fruit and skins,  with some warm spice, rose petals, and lanolin. The palate has a dignified character with plenty of detail, but expressed in a reserved way, letting out a little at a time. There is delicious spiced red cherry with fresh acidity, and a firm streak. In addition there are layers of tobacco, aromatic dried herbs, and a faint dairy note. Clearly poised for a long life and improvement with integration, it can easily be enjoyed now too. Il Poggione consistently produces excellent, traditional Brunello at a price point that is very good for this level of quality and the 2010 is a prime example. 95 Pts


2010 Le Chiuse  Brunello Di Montalcino 13.5% ABV $57

The nose is full and firm with minerally black fruit richness at the core, faint vanilla bean, dates, sweet grilled meats, a little dark chocolate, and a layer of dried flowers.There's a pleasant, slightly chewy texture to the palate, with baked red cherry fruit that combines rusticity with subtle sweetness. The grilled meat carries through on the palate as well. Finishes with savory notes, and good balance. 89-90 Pts



  2010 Castello Banfi "Poggio lle Mura" Brunello Di Montalcino 14.4% ABV, $75

Straight forward with pronounced fruit, on the nose and palate, making up the primary component of its personality. The nose starts with some floral notes atop the solid black cherry, and woodsy brambles. There is a hint of caramel present there as well. The palate is full of tart black cherry and blackberry with some sandalwood and fine grained tannins. The mid-palate falls off a bit, but this is a relatively easy-drinking style that is ready to go now. 89 Pts




  2010 Il Palazzone Brunello Di Montalcino 14.4% ABV $85

The nose is firm, and a bit closed at the moment, but reveals more with coaxing. Pretty dried black cherry skins with a lovely floral layer, some charred Earth, and aromatic dried herbs all unfold with a little time. Later, some pie spice and tobacco evolve on the nose. The palate starts with fresh red cherry and blackberry flesh that are underscored by clean mineral Earth, turmeric, and more dried herbs. The structure is serious and finessed, with good acidity that blends into the fruit, and fine grained tannins underneath. Good length, and a elegant finish. Probably the most classic and best Brunello I've tasted from Il Palazzone. Outstanding. 95 Pts





2010 Bottega S.p.A. "Il Vino Dei Poetti" Brunello Di Montalcino 14.5% ABV Not Yet Imported

This wine offers the complete experience from start to finish. The nose shows dark black cherry that is tart, fresh and pure, followed by warm Earth, orange rind and dried herbs. The palate has a lovely light weight and soft texture, with more clean dark cherry, mouthwatering acidity, savory herbs, and a very fine grained grip. There are no week spots here, and the structure and balance bode well for a long life. 94Pts

2010 Caparzo Brunello Di Montalcino 14% A.B.V. $50

Rich blackberry fruit and a little sweet vanilla bean are notable on the nose, with some mineral notes as well. The palate has fresh blackberry, flinty Earth, and a dusty finish. Well balanced with a nice freshness. 90 Pts

2010 Col Di Lamo Brunello Di Montalcino 14% A.B.V. $60

This was a very pleasant standout in the class of 2010 that showed great complexity and finesse. The elegant nose starts off with dried black cherry skins, with subtle black cherry flesh and cranberry at the core, underscored by mineral Earth, dried basil, and a faint dairy note.Quite fragrant. The palate has a nice medium weight with tangy black plum, other firm, dark, aromatic fruits, grilled beef, and more mineral Earth. The structure is solid, and well balanced, with fine grained tannins that coat the mouth on the finish. Complete and satisfying, with good length on the finish. 95 Pts

2010 Ferrero Brunello Di Montalcino  15% ABV, $65 

Needed a few minutes to blow off at first, but opened up into a complex and solid wine with a distinct personality. The nose has notes of decomposed forest floor, charred meat, tobacco, lean blackberry, and dried black cherries, The palate shows full, firm fruit, with blackberry that is dark and serious. There are notes of anise, and aromatic wood with mineral Earth and dried cherry skins. Masculine, with big structural components and good balance, the development of this wine over time should be enjoyable. 93 Pts

*Watch for updates to this post in the future as I add notes from other producers.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agrre, this is an amazing vintage! (followed by 2012)