Brunello di Montalcino
The 2010 vintage seems as exceptional for Brunello di Montalcino as it is for Barolo and Barbaresco, providing the inspiration for Sydney-based importer Italian Wine Imports to stage a roadshow of 2010 Brunello.
There is no substitute for excellent weather throughout the growing season, and that’s exactly what 2010 provided. The wines have provoked a stream of superlatives from the major Italian wine critics, such as Walter Speller, who wrote “the great are fantastic, the good are great and the mediocre, good.”
I was lucky enough to attend a small preliminary tasting of 10 of the wines, six of which are available for us to buy. All are priced in the A$90s. Of those six, I really loved Le Chiuse (tasting), which is produced by a scion of Montalcino’s most famous wine family, Biondi Santi. The owner/operator, Simonetta Valiani, is a great grand-daughter of Ferruccio Biondi Santi. This is pretty much as good a Brunello as I’ve tasted, and a reminder that great wine needs fruit as well as structure and the all-important Italian savouriness.
Next was San Lorenzo Bramante (tasting), a very big, powerful, heavily structured wine built for the long haul. Next by my reckoning were a couple of wines that are not available, Salicutti (tasting) and Villa La Prata (tasting), so I will go no further, but the next two were tied on my score-sheet: San Carlo (tasting) and La Fornace (tasting). The former was all chocolate, cola and preserved plums; the latter chocolate, licorice, cocoa powder and extremely powerful.
These are statuesque wines, built to age. To give an idea of how much I liked them, I scored the top six wines between 95 and 98. No doubt there’s a welter of other smashing wines from 2010 which I will probably never get a chance to taste (c’est la vie), but, well, hope springs eternal.