Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brunello di Montalcino 2004: Notes on a Blind Tasting

Blind Tasting of 10 Wines Selected for Regional Characteristics
VINO 2009, New York
January 2009
Led by Karen MacNeil
Notes by David Waddington

Montalcino is a hilltop village in Tuscany located about 40 km south of Siena and 40 km from the sea. Vineyards surround the town on the northern, eastern and southern slopes. The hill was formed in different geologic eras, yielding a variety of soil types. The only grape allowed are the localized clones of Sangiovese. The result is a wine producing region with slightly different clones growing in a myriad of terroirs. Thus Brunello di Montalcino is one wine with many different expressions. The tasting was organized by the governing organ of the region, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, who chose the wines for their different expressions of the region.

Generally the wines showed black cherry fruit at their core surrounded by layers of tannin, acid and minerals. According to the Conzorzio, the average alcohol for the 2004 vintage was 14% which is unusually high, showing great ripeness. The powerful tannins and elegant acids are both strong preservatives and create the great aging potential of Brunello.


Wine #1
Aromas: Black cherry fruit, anise
Palate: Bitter black fruit, high acid, moderate tannin
Impressions: Quite delicious!

Wine #2
Aromas: Reticent black cherry, soy mineral
Palate: Soy, minerals, intense black fruit at the core
Impressions: Very lean, almost salty

Wine #3
Aromas: Dark raisins, soy
Palate: Deep dark flavors, black fruits, soy
Impressions: Big, full, brooding dark wine

Wine #4
Aromas: Dark black cherry, bitter chocolate
Palate: Complex dark fruits
Impressions: Surprisingly more open that the nose would suggest

Wine #5
Aromas: Tar, anise
Palate: Tar, anise, core of black fruit, tannic finish
Impressions: Definitely a wine for bottom feeders!

Wine #6
Aromas: Damp earth, soy
Palate: Soy, earth, umami
Impressions: All shadow and forest floor, not flawed, but no fruit today!

Wine #7
Aromas: Dark soy, red and black cherries
Palate: Broad black fruits laced with acid and tannin
Impressions: Nice

Wine #8
Aromas: Floral, reticent black fruit
Palate: Herbal elements, core of black fruit
Impressions: Finishes with good acid and tannin

Wine #9
Aromas: Black cherry, cassis, mineral
Palate: Dark fruits, tar and soil
Impressions: Powerful and concentrated

Wine #10
Aromas: Tart black fruit, spice
Palate: A fruit bomb with truffles and sweet integrated tannins
Impressions: Today was this wine's day to shine! A fun finish to an intense tasting.

So, there it is, Brunello 2004. As you can see, there is a definite pattern to the wines with the same flavors flowing in and out of the various wines. Depending on where the estates are located, they all taste different. The point is that overall, THEY ALL TASTE LIKE BRUNELLO!

Now THAT was a fun morning in the wine biz!

1 comment:

  1. David, are these 10 year hold wines?

    The 2004 seem rather ripe... no?