It seems like every couple of years the wine press is touting the next great vintage from the world’s most famous wine regions. Writers love to work us into a frenzy making us believe if we don’t buy every bottle we can get our hands on we will never have an opportunity to taste these critically acclaimed wines. As someone who works in the wine industry I’ve almost become numb to the hype of the next “great” vintage.
This past spring at Vinitaly I was fortunate to preview for myself the much anticipated 2010 wines from Montalcino. Of course I was well aware of what the press had written. James Suckling for one wrote, “The year 2010 for Brunello di Montalcino is the greatest modern vintage of Italy’s most famous red wine region. Never have the wines been so profound in quality, character, and quanity from the best hillside vineyards of Montalcino. They represent a new level for Tuscany’s unique sangiovese-based red.” Wow could the wines really be that good?
From past experience I can tell you that tasting young Brunello especially from superb vintages (2004 and 2006 come to mind) is a challenging exercise. The wines are often very tight and closed with powerful tannins. These wines are generally best after a few years of aging in your cellar or wine vault. The thing that was most striking about the 2010s I tasted was how approachable they were at such a young age. Yes they were structured and tannic but were also loaded with rich fruit and freshness that made them incredibly drinkable.
The 2010 Brunelli are just starting to arrive in our stores and with all the superlative reviews I’m sure they will not last long. Two of our favorites, La Gerla and Poggio Il Castellare will be available soon. In the meantime look for the following in select ABCs.
2010 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino – “Absolutely stunning aromas of nectarine, orange peel, sweet black cherry, plums and flowers. Licorice and mushrooms, it’s full body, with layers of ultra-fine tannins and hints of tangy acidity…Truly wondrous…” 99 points, James Suckling
2010 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino – “A ripe and rich wine with blackberry, plum and mineral character that goes to mushroom and peppermint. Full bodied, fine tannins and a juicy finish…” 96 points, James Suckling
2010 Castello di Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino – “So much Tuscan dust in the nose. You can smell the soil, not to mention the dark fruits and flowers. Full body, with firm and silky tannins and a long and intense finish…” 96 points, James Suckling
Paul Quaglini, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq