Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Italian Wine Masters: 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

It was obvious at this year’s Italian Wine Masters event that many attendees were there to taste the new 2007 Brunello vintage. However, in this humble taster’s opinion, it didn’t take long for the 2006 Brunello Riservas to steal the show.

Last year, the 2006 Brunello di Montalcino normale were firm and structured with a core of intense fruit restrained within. In other words, they were full of potential. However, it’s amazing to me what the same producers can accomplish with the extra year of aging that qualifies the wines for Riserva status.

Often, a Riserva will come from a single vineyard or a special parcel within the same vineyard as the normale bottle. Sometimes it’s just those few casks in the cellar that demand special attention. In the end, whether that extra year is spent in barrel or bottle, I find Brunello Riservas to be the bottles I choose for my cellar and well worth the extra tariff.

Comparing these wines to the 2007 vintage is like comparing apples to oranges. The ’06 Riservas have all the structure and pent up intensity as the regular bottles, but with rich, darker tones that will flesh out into layers to be peeled back through decades in your cellar.

I know it can be hard to look back when a new vintage hits the shelf. However, I believe that any serious lover of Brunello should be considering the ’06 Riservas for their cellar.

On to the notes:

2006 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose showed dark, sweet red berries, herbs, cedar and an airy pine nettle note. On the palate, it was full, velvety and balanced with ripe red berries and spice against a firm lurking structure. The finish was long with mouth-coating tannin showing at the close. It was a total joy to drink and a bottle that has already found its way into my cellar. (96 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Tenuta Oliveto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose of the 2006 Oliveto Brunello Riserva was elegant, showing black cherry, candle wax and floral notes, with dark chocolate and herbs. On the palate, it was smooth and balanced with red fruits and spice that continued to build with time in the glass. The finish was long with sweet spices and silky tannins. (95 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose was intense; in a word, sexy, as sweet red berries, dark chocolate and spice filled the senses. On the palate, it was structured yet still showed masses of sweet, spiced red fruits, earth and soil tones. The finish was long and staying with inner floral notes. (94 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose showed dark, ripe red berries, soil and herbals, along with a sweet spicy sugar note. On the palate, it was velvety smooth with deep red fruits, ripe yet fine with underlying structure that dominated the finish and promised many years of development. (93 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Pertimali (LivioSassetti) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose showed dark red fruits and cedar box. On the palate, it was velvety with pure ripe red berries and earth. It was balanced to the core and only showed its refined structure in its tannic finish. (92 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Ferrovia – The nose showed black cherries with fresh-turned soil and cedar notes. It was expansive on the palate and filled the senses with tart fruits that turned to rough, drying tannins, which lasted into the finish. (91 points) Find it one Wine-Searcher!

2006 Fattoria dei Barbi (Colombini) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose showed red berries with soil and floral notes. On the palate, I found lean red fruits and herbs with a fine tannic structure that dominated the finish. This wine will need to be buried in the cellar for at least another ten years before it really starts to shine. (90 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2006 Donatella Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose showed red berries with herbs and bread crusts. On the palate, it was angular with sour red fruits and a fine structure. The finish was medium in length and pleasant, yet this bottle simply didn’t deliver the goods. (88 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

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