2010: A SUPERB YEAR FOR BRUNELLO
According to many experts the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino wines are outstanding!
The 2010 harvest in Montalcino benefitted from an ideal growing season. Mother Nature cooperated to produce outstanding Brunello di Montalcino wines. Brunelli that are full, suave, well balanced; complete wines that are remarkably charming. These full flavoured, elegant terroir wines should age quite well. Great Tuscan reds that impress with complexity and surprising freshness. This outstanding vintage could be the best since 2004.
At Les Conseillers du Vin, we decided to taste a selection of wines from reputed producers to verify the aging potential, richness and balance of this excellent Brunello di Montalcino vintage. How long should we leave these fine Brunelli in our cellar? And how much should we pay for these high quality Sangiovese based reds? A group of 16 experienced tasters analysed 7 Brunelli plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Results: Overall the wines faired extremely well! To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
All the participants agreed, there were no disappointing wines in this selection. But the mystery wine (# 1 Vino Nobile Canneto) did not get a single vote (in the top three). Two wines stood out: 1-Donatella Cinelli Colombini Riserva (30 pts) and 2- Altesino Riserva (24 pts). In third place was the ripe and full flavoured Campogiovanni Il Quercione Riserva with 15 pts, followed by the easy drinking San Polo (10 pts). It seemed obvious that 2010 is a great vintage for Brunello di Montalcino; the wines served in this tasting displayed good depth and concentration, with perfect balance and great aging potential. Unfortunately prices are high on many of these elite wines. Because of the overall quality level (2010) it is possible to find some very good wines that display similar characteristics in the $50 to $75 range. Also it must be noted that you will find varying styles in this prestigious appellation: the more classic, lean and firm traditional style, but also the ripe, full of fruit, darker coloured modern style. A positive trend that gives consumers a choice (of style). My top three wines were: 1-Campogiovanni Il Quercione Riserva, 2-Donatelli Cinelli Colombini Riserva 3-Altesino Riserva . See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1- Mystery wine: 2010 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Canneto $39 (Group score: 0 pt)
This was the mystery wine, but only four (4) participants identified it as such. Typical Tuscany/Sanviovese nose displaying scents of terroir (forest floor) and field berries. Medium weight with good structure. In a rather traditional style with firm tannins and lingering bitterness. Finished last with zero votes/points. My rating: 89/100
2- Brunello Riserva Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli $92 (Group score: 1 pt)
Only one 3rd place vote for this fine Brunello. In a classic traditional style with lively acidity and firm tannins. Its funky nose displayed some red fruit with terroir and animal scents. A bit austere for now. A solid structure assures good aging potential (5 to 10 years). My rating: 90+/100
3- Brunello Valdicava $129 (Group Score: 6 pts)
Surprisingly this highly reputed producer did not impress (only 6 pts). Lovely ripe fruit, for the moment dominated by oak/wood. Obviously still young, in a more traditional style with firm tannins and fresh acidity. Remains elegant. Good aging potential (5 to 8 years). My rating: 91/100
4- Brunello San Polo $76 (Group score: 10 pts)
Orange/reddish colour showing some evolution. Made in a lighter style, this lovely Brunello will reach maturity shortly. Some ripe fruit with hints of terroir and warm spices. Medium body with fresh acidity and average length. Drink now to 2022. My rating: 90/100
5- Brunello Riserva Campogiovanni Il Quercione San Felice $139 (Group score: 15 pts)
My favourite wine of the tasting. In a more modern riper style with great structure from lots of (softer/riper) tannins. Good extract, balance and length. Some dark berries with oak and animal overtones. Can be enjoyed now and over the next 6 to 10 years. My rating: 95/100
6- Brunello Riserva Altesino $110 (Group score: 24 pts)
For some, the most elegant charming wine of the tasting. Graphite, field berries with some oak and spicy scents. A rather refined perfectly balanced Brunello with lots of ripe fruit flavours. Very good aging potential (5 to 10 years). Very easy drinking for such a young wine. My rating: 93/100
7- Brunello Castiglion del Bosco $48 (Group score: 7 pts)
Made in a very traditional old school style: very pale colour with very little fruit on the nose. Light bodied with firm tannins, and high acidity. Not much extract, with a rather short austere finish. Might get better with some aging!? My rating: 88/100
8- Brunello Riserva Donatelli Cinelli Colombini $126 (Group score: 30 pts)
The favourite wine of the tasting. Thirteen of the sixteen tasters selected it in their top three. A more modern Brunello that displays lots of ripe fruit with great structure and solid tannins. A complex nose offering dark berry, earthy and animal scents. Very good aging potential: 5 to 10 years. My rating: 94/100
Photo: Wine Searcher