This is a so-so vintage with immediate, sometimes overtly evolved wines that are better suited for near-term consumption. Vintners were put in a difficult position after an extreme heat spike in mid August that offset the alcoholic versus the phenolic ripeness of the notoriously finicky Sangiovese grape. Those who harvested early (mid to late September) got arguably more balanced wines in terms of acidity, but the mouthfeel is often lean and watery. Those who waited longer (the first or second week of October) got less balanced wines that sometimes felt jammy and hot. I had hoped that 2012 Rosso would save the day, but I suspect that many producers opted to put their best fruit aside for their Brunello. Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
The above note is from Monica Larner to subscribers of The Wine Advocate (which I am). When it comes to Italian wine, there are a select number of reviewers who I follow and think my own palate is closely aligned to. Antonio Galloni and Monica Larner are two people who are worth the subscription to the respective publications (Vinous and The Wine Advocate) just to hear the views on Italian wine.
Hence, it was interesting to read the note from Monica on the 2009 vintage for Brunello di Montalcino. I can’t remember if I have tried the 2009 Brunello from Biondi Santi (who I represent in Australia) but I have tried and loved the 2009 Brunello from Il Palazzone when I was at the winery last year.
With the release of allocations for the 2009 Brunello, it has definitely made me be a bit more cautious on importing the 2009 Brunello’s into Australia. Cautious in that I will retry the wines when I am in Italy in March/April and then make a call. If I like the wines (like I loved many of the 2008’s) then we will import the 2009’s. If I do not think they are up to speed (like the 2007 vintage for Brunello) then I will make the call to give it a miss and instead buy a back vintage Brunello from their cellars as a replacement.
That is the beauty about wine and one of the great things about Brunello. If you do not like a vintage (regardless if it is rated highly or not), there are many other vintages in the cellars of wineries in Montalcino available to purchase. One thing I try and do, is import wines I love to drink. Both now and for the long term. If I like it, regardless of the reputation of a vintage, I will import it and vice versa.