Monday, March 20, 2006

Brunello di Montalcino – Super Tuscany Wine

Produced only in the town who’s name it bears, Brunello di Montalcino has become one of the best known wines in the world. Made from 100% Sangiovese the method of production has created a superb wine. Little known before 1960, Brunello di Montalcino was the first wine to have the prestigious mark DOCG. It gained more and more in reputation during the succeeding decade until it became, perhaps the most esteemed of Italian quality wines.

The growth of this wine has been spectacular. In 1975, 25 vineyards produced 800.000 bottles of Brunello. In 1995, there were 3.5 million bottles, made by about 120 vineyards, were produced. This wine comes into its own after 8 years of aging yet it can support as much as 20 years in a controlled climate.

Brunello di Montalcino is robust and aristocratic, a perfect balance to red meats, wild game and fowl and aged cheeses. The flavors are intense, broad and persistent. The color is deep garnet red. The perfume is penetrating. Everything about this wine says opulence. It is appropriate to have several bottles of this wine in your cellar. Each vineyard will have their own special method therefore it is worthwhile to try various producers until you find the one that tops your expectations.

Grape: 100% Sangiovese

Color: Intense Deep Garnet Red, with orange highlight at the fingernails (this is the ring where the wine meets the glass. The wine “clings” to the side and raises slightly from the surface)

Bouquet: Intense, Persistent, full and Ethereal, with scents of brush lands, aromatic woods, small fruit, a light trace of vanilla and fruity jams , all combined.

Flavor: Dry, warm, a bit tannic, robust and harmonic.

Alcohol Content: 12.5 %

Serving Temperature: 18-20 c.

Aging: at least 4 years, three of which must be in Ash or Oak barrels.

Decanting: At least ½ hour.

Pouring: Italian wines do not use micro filtration. Pour carefully to avoid clouding the wine. In the aged Brunello the madre (residual sugars and larger pieces of the grape) will form. When pouring never turn the bottle over instead tilt slightly past horizontal and leave a finger of wine in the bottle.

Glass: use a clear wide bellied, deep, stemmed glass. This will allow the wine to continue to breath and will release its perfume as you move the glass toward your mouth. This will allow the wine to continue to decant.

Note: The vintages, 2000 and 2003, are considered Superior. The 2004 vintage is considered Excellent, the best since 1997.


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