Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Look: 2009 Brunello di Montalcino

Article and Reviews by: Eric Guido

We live in a world where everyone is waiting for the next great vintage. Today, it’s just part of who we are. I’m guilty of it myself, in that I’m always associating ageability with quality. However, there’s an entire world of wine out there that isn’t stashed in someone’s cellar for decades. When I think Brunello, I think of a wine that needs ten years before I can touch it. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case, and beauty can be found in youth without feeling guilty for sacrificing the precious gems in our cellars.

This brings me to 2009 Brunello and the wines that I sampled at the 2014 Benvenuto Brunello event in New York City. Unlike 2006, 2009 isn’t a year of big structured wines for the cellar. Unlike 2007, it also isn’t a year packed with ripe, dense, sweet fruity wines. Instead, it’s a vintage that many in Brunello are referring to as traditional, like a vintage of old. Most of these wines showed some of the most beautfiul Sangiovese boquetes that I’ve ever encountered in a young Brunello. The are heavily perfumed with floral intensity while displaying ripe (yet not overripe) red fruits and spice.

One whiff is enough to toss you into a Brunello trance that can make your eyes roll back in your head. However, it’s on the palate that these wines take a sharp turn from the obvious. At most Brunello release events, I enter the room prepared for my gums to be ripped from my teeth by searing tannin and acidity. In fact, the hardest part is usually identifying the quality of the fruit versus the wines structure. However, that’s not so in 2009. Instead, these wines are fruity and juciy; some lacked depth, yet the best of them combined those juicy textures with a refined structure that peered out from behind their ripe fruit flavors. Those are the wines that will fill my cellar.

As for ageability, a number of them will mature well in your cellar (and I made sure to identify them in my comments). However, nearly all of these wines are drinking already, and the best of them should enjoy a broad drinking window.

In the end, 2009 looks to be a very good bookend to all of the big or structured vintages that we’ve seen or are in the pipeline. The one warning I’ll give you is to read the notes carefully, as some wines may score well now for the way they performed today, while others earned there merits on how well they should drink for many years to come. Most people know that I like a little backbone in my wines, and those are the ones that you’ll find on my table.

On to the Notes:

2009 Tenuta San Giorgio Ugolforte Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was beautiful and floral with ripe fruits, showing perfumed cherry and dusty sweet spice with chalky minerals; along with the slightest hint of oak from a deft hand. On the palate, it showed silky textures with ripe red berries and inner floral tones in a focused, clean, yet mouthfilling effort. The finish was staying, showing hints of structure. The San Giorgio Brunello was simply a gorgeous, complete wine. (94+ pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Il Grappolo / Fortius Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was very pretty and a bit rustic, showing ripe cherry with hint of citrus providing lift, as notes of soil and undergrowth filled the senses. Ripe strawberry and citrus notes that carried over from the nose filled the senses in this mouthfilling effort. A tannin and acid balancing act made for a dazzling finish as mouthwatering cherry notes coated every corner of the palate. (94 points) Find it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino V.V. – The nose was pretty, not overdone, just perfectly refined with floral perfumes, small red berries and hints of animal musk. On the palate, I found silky textures, which were accentuated by focused red fruits, hints of spice and juicy acidity. The wine’s structural components shined through on the finish, along with a note of concentrated red fruit. The V.V. from Le Ragnaie is a selection of the best fruit from older vines, and it has a truly regal and refined personality. (94 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was beautiful with perfumed floral tones, intense tart red berry, an herbal lift, underbrush and hints of animal musk. On the palate, it was focused, yet intense with young cherry, spice and soil tones, which lingered long into the finish. Hints of tannin and acid left the cheeks puckered and promised good thing to come. (93+ pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was floral and feminine, showing crushed strawberry, tealeaf, floral perfumes and hints of undergrowth. On the palate, rich, intense red fruit, spice and soil tones came across in a powerful expression of Sangiovese. The lasting finish showed notes of dried cherries and herbal tea with hints of tannin tugging at the cheeks. (93+ pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was dark and inviting with red berry fruit, underbrush, animal musk and a hint of brown sugar. On the palate, ripe cherry and spice was met by inner floral tones. Its full-bodied mouthfeel and precision of fruit truly left an elegant and pretty impression. The finish was long with intense, saturating red fruits that nearly masked the wine’s structural components. The 2009 Talenti Brunello was polished and satisfying, truly exceptional for the vintage. (93 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Loacker / Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was very pretty and floral with notes of strawberry jam, sweet spice, and herbal notes. With coaxing, the bouquet continued to gain more depth and dark fruit aromas. On the palate, it showed smooth, silky textures contrasting hints of tannin with dark red fruit, herbs and spice, which lasted into the finish. It was youthful with plenty of energy and concentration to improve for a number of years. (93 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was bueatiful, as it opened up in the glass to reveal tart red berry, dry autumnal spice and hints of animal musk. On the palate, bitter cherry with cinnamon and cedar saturated the senses yet remained juciy and fresh. The finish was staying with young red fruits that made the mouth water, followed by hints of cheek-puckering tannin. (93 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was vibrant and intense, showing dark, ripe cherry, brown sugar, floral undergrowth and hints of green stems. On the palate, it was juicy with brisk acidity, ripe red berry, inner floral notes, tealeaf and spice. The finish was staying with spiced red berry tones. There was little tannin to be found, yet this was a pleasure to drink now. (92+ pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was dark, inviting and intense, showing black cherry with hints of stem and beautiful floral perfumes. On the palate, it was juicy, yet with a good concentration of spicy red fruits and a nice acid-driven lift toward the close. The finish was long, showing tart red berry and dry spice. Capanna managed to handle the vintage well and showed enough stuffing to live up to the name, Brunello. (92 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Capanne Ricci Brunello di Montalcino –- The nose showed ripe cherry with dusty coco, sweet spice and hints of cedar. On the palate, I found tart red berries and herbs with brisk acidity and soft textures. Cherry and soil tones prevailed into the long finish with a lovely hint of ginger. (92 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Tenuta Carlina La Togata Brunello di Montalcino – The nose showed ripe red fruits, dusty spice, herbal tealeaf and a lifting citrus note. On the palate, it showed excellent concentration for the vintage with notes of cherry, cinnamon, cedar and minerals. The finish was staying, with hints of structure and intense red fruit, which seemed to saturate the senses. (92 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Col D'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino – This started restrained and closed on the nose, yet opened with time in the glass, becoming darker, riper and richer with notes of black cherry, cinnamon and ginger. On the palate, it was angular yet juicy with dark red fruits, hints of citrus and inner floral tones. The momentum faded a bit on the finish, showing youthful tannin and hints of dried cherry. (92 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was restrained in a youthful, closed up, fashion, showing young red berry, herbal and soil tones. There was a savory feel and excellent tension on the palate as red berry, cedar and tobacco notes washed over the senses. The finish showed hints of structure with spiced cherry lingering throughout. (91 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Pinino Brunello di Montalcino – The nose was restrained at first, yet it opened with time in the glass as notes of tart red berry, hints of menthol and floral perfumes filled the senses. On the palalte, it was juicy with a fenimen, light-bodied structure with red fruits and herbal hints. It finished clean with palate-cleansing acidity. (90 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino – The nose showed sweet spice, red berry and wood spice, turning darker and more inviting with time in the glass, morphing to tobacco notes. On the palate, ripe red fruits and spice rushed the senses, yet it was lacking any serious depth and structure. The finish followed suit with tart berry flavors clinging to the palate. (89 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino – The nose showed ripe and spicy red fruits with an outward and almost sexy personality. On the palate, it was juicy with ripe cherry and spice, yet there was a sweetness here that detracted from my expectations. The finish was clean with pleasantly fresh red fruits. I enjoyed this, but it lacked the stuffing I associate with Brunello. (88 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino – The nose showed sweet, almost candied, red fruits, black licorice and brown sugar. On the palate, ripe black cherry and hints of citrus washed across the senses with a slight tannic tug. The finish was fresh and lively with mouthwatering, spicy red fruits. Yet, as much as I enjoyed this wine on the palate, the nose was simply too sweet for my tastes. (88 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

2009 Le Macioche Brunello di Montalcino – The nose showed sour red berries, cedar and hints of herbs. On the palate, it was light-bodied with tart cherry and dry spices. A coating of dry berry remained throughout the finish, yet I craved more intensity. (87 pointsFind it on: Wine-Searcher!

3 comments:

  1. Nice post Eric. I think you have captured the 2009 Barolo vintage very accurately. I tend to buy wines from the better producers as I find that if they make a wine it is usually good. I have put the following into my cellar
    G. Rinaldi Brunate le Coste
    Bartolo Mascarello
    G. Conterno Cascina Francia
    Vietti Castiglone

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    1. Thanks Mark

      I'll probably grab the G. Conterno when prices come down a little, also the G Rinaldi's look really attractive.

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