Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. One famous Tuscany wine.
Despite my promises it’s been a long time since I have reviewed an expensive ($50 and up) bottle of wine. Actually this bottle cost me $27 but at half the normal size it qualifies. Brunello di Montalcino is one of Tuscany’s top wines, except for the Super Tuscans such as the Tignatello inaugurating this column at a mere $100. Brunello is a recent breed dating back to only 1870. Try to get the 1888 vintage of which only five bottles remain. I had to be satisfied with the 2006 vintage from Marchese de’ Frescobaldi, vinegrowers since 1300. Their Dino was a friend of Dante and family archives contain wine orders from Henry the Eighth. This vineyard extends for 375 acres (150 hectares) near CastelGiocondo, a mere 3.6 miles (about 6 kilometers) from Montalcino, which is home to lots of medieval buildings including a Fourteenth Century fortress that has never been conquered. Brunello is pure Sangiovese (Grosso). The companion wine is a red blend from the neighboring region of Latium costing a quarter as much, for a regular-sized bottle.
Let’s start with the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : This red starts out ripe and accessible, boasting plum, cherry and chocolate flavors, then turns firm and tight on the finish, where tobacco and mineral notes take over. I like the potential of this when it integrates more fully. Best from 2014 through 2024. Score – 93. (Bruce Sanderson at the Wine Spectator web site, Aug 31, 2011)” And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was mouth filling, multilayered and long with chocolate. In the presence of Japanese rice crackers I tasted chocolate and dark cherries. My first meal centered on a slow-cooked shoulder lamb chop. The libation was disappointingly thin, offering some dark cherries. When paired with the accompanying potatoes the liquid’s provided more chocolate and was slightly longer. The lengthening process continued when paired with sweet potatoes and it became almost mouth filling. Then I added a generous amount of Louisiana hot sauce to the meat. This weakened the wine.
My next meal involved ground beef cooked with 4Cs chili powder, coriander, cardamom, and caraway, as well as onions and crushed tomatoes, over quinoa. Our Italian friend was long presenting chocolate and cherries but was thinner than it should be. In response to the side of green beans in a crushed tomato sauce the drink’s acidity and tannins were well balanced. Poppy seed cake for dessert brought out dark cherries and the wine was pleasantly acidic.
The closing meal was a boxed Baked Ziti Siciliano that I doused with grated Parmesan cheese. The liquid was long but somewhat thin and not very expressive, providing some chocolate. Dessert of Häagen-Dazs Dulce di Leche (caramel) ice cream gave Brunnie a wisp of metal
Final verdict. I am tempted to say, cut the price in half and make it a full bottle. In fairness I was told to wait until 2014. So do you think I’ll buy another one and cellar it for 2 or more years before repeating this experiment? Fat chance.
Access the companion wine A Central Italian Red Blend (Under $10)
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about this wine.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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