Benvenuto Brunello!

Buon Giorno, amici!

I‚€™ve just returned from Italy, where I was lucky enough to visit Montalcino in Tuscany for the annual Benvenuto Brunello event celebrating the new vintages ‚€“ the last harvest plus the new releases of Brunello di Montalcino
(2002) and Riserva Brunello (2001), and Rosso di Montalcino (2005).
I plan to report in more detail later, but here‚€™s the skinny:
Winemakers in the Brunello DOCG are celebrating a string of strong
vintages, with the 2006 earning five stars, or top marks for an
‚€œoutstanding‚€ vintage from the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di
Montalcino, the trade group that represents all 200-plus producers of
Brunello. This follows four-star (excellent) vintages in 2005 and 2003,
with another outstanding rating for 2004. The rating for 2006, announced
Saturday, was commemorated with a plaque designed by Adam Tihany
installed on the town square.
The bad news for these producers was that the new release of Brunello
comes from the merely ‚€œfair‚€ two-star 2002 vintage. (By law,
Brunello must be aged at least four years, two years of which must be in
cask or barrel, and at least four months in bottle. Riservas are aged
five years from the vintage.) Heavy rains hit Tuscany at harvest time
that year, resulting in an uneven vintage. Many producers decided not to
make a Brunello that year, pouring all their wine into their Rosso
Even so, in my tastings I found several producers that managed to reduce
yields and preserve enough good fruit to make very appealing wines. My
favorites included Argiano, Banfi, Barbi, Castello Romitorio,
Talenti, La Fiorita, Tenuta Caparzo, Tenute Silvio Nardi, Tenuta
Oliveto, and San Filippo.

The 2005 Rossos were exceptionally strong as a category. These wines
should do well on restaurant wine lists and be a favorite of home
consumers, too. Look for these mini-Brunellos on your retail shelves

After I came back, I read that wine is not the only attraction these
days at Castello Banfi. It seems workers there discovered the intact
skeleton of a prehistoric whale. Now that‚€™s terroir!

(The photos show fog shrouding vineyards around Montalcino, as seen from a parapet of the hill town’s fortezza, and a sommelier presenting wines for tasting at the annual Benvenuto Brunello event.)


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One Response to Benvenuto Brunello!

  1.  Anonymous says:

    Castello Romitorio is seriously one of the worlds most evolved brunello producers!

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