I think everyone knows about my love for Montalcino. Our Fratelli Brunello sold out overnight after this review from Campbell Mattinson.
At the end of this week, we will receive shipments from Biondi Santi, Il Palazzone and our own Fratelli D’Anna all containing 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino. These are some of the most exciting wines I have tried from Tuscany.
Orders will be dispatched early next week and most of our best restaurants and wine merchants have ordered these wines. Super excited!
Vintage 2010 Brunello.
Normally I give myself an afternoon in Tuscany to try as many wines as I can from not only the producers I import but also from those that I love to drink. And for the 2010 vintage for Montalcino, I couldn’t pull myself away from Tuscany and spent time the next morning trying even more 2010 Brunello. These wines are amazing. So complete and complex it is staggering.
After so much controversy in the past in Montalcino, it is fantastic to see a string of strong vintages to bring this town back and centre in the eyes of the wine loving public. I tried as many of my favourite wines as possible and it included wineries like Gorelli, Fuligni, Costanti, Il Poggione and La Fortuna.
Of course I got to visit the producers I represent like Biondi Santi, Il Palazzone (we also import Soldera and have our own label but obviously these wines were not at Vinitaly) and the good news is that in the next couple of weeks we will have a second allocation of the 2010 Il Palazzone plus the first allocations of Biondi Santi and Fratelli D’Anna.
Pretty exciting time for the wine loving public in Oz who are going to be hit between the eyes with some of the best Brunello they have ever tasted with the 2010 vintage Brunello.
If I take one thing away from Vinitaly 2015 it is that vintage 2010 Brunello is a once in a generation vintage. The wines across the board we of such a high standard that I think the quality level overall may even be higher than 2010 Barolo. Yesterday we tried the wines of Fuligni, Cupano, Costanti, Siro Pacenti, La Fortunata and Gorelli.
The 2010 Brunello from these producers were off the charts. What was also pleasing to see was that the 2009 Brunello have come along better than I thought and are actually drinking really well today.
Another highlight was sitting down with the legendary Emidio Pepe and his granddaughter Chiara who has the same spark as her grandfather.
The previous day we tried a vertical of Trebbiano spanning twenty years which was good but the fact the sommelier’s did not check the bottles when poured meant that there were some wines which should have been in the tasting.
Today we looked at Montepulciano spanning four decades. These wines were off the charts in quality and complexity and illustrated to me why Emidio Pepe is considered as one of the best wineries in Italy.
Today we drive to Alba and concentrate on Barolo and Barbaresco for the next three days which will be great.
Well it is crazy to think that we have been in Italy for 48 hours and already seem like we have done so much. Today was the first day of Vinitaly and it was great to catch up with the wineries that we love to represent in Australia.
One of the many highlights from today was trying the 2010 Brunello from Biondi Santi. The first shipment of this wine (which has been fully allocated) will arrive in Australia in a couple of the weeks and it was great to try this wine. It is one of the most complete Biondi Santi Brunello’s I have ever tried at such a young age. The winery has sold it’s entire production of BdM in a month of it being in the market and I am glad that we secured a second large allocation of this wine for June shipment to Australia via Mondo Imports.
Another highlight was trying the 2012 Cru’s and standard 2013 Etna Rosso from Passopsiciaro. I feel like the very essence of Mondo Imports is illustrated through these wines. Indigenous wines that show the territory they are grown in (Etna) and each vintage showcases the difference of the season. We should also announce in the next month or so another one of Italy’s best wineries will be joining our portfolio. We tried the wines again today and they are standouts. More in this soon!
After a big day, a sprtiz in Piazza Erbe is on the cards then a glass of vino at Bottega Vini.
After arriving in our warehouse yesterday from Italy, the 2010 @ilpalazzone stocks are already 2/3 gone and we have already polished off two bottles amongst ourselves! What a wine. Described by Antonio Galloni as a ‘very beautiful wine.’ I doubt the first shipment of this wine will last more than a week.
Luckily we have secured a second allocation which should arrive mid year. What a wine and illustrates why I have been talking up 2010 Brunello for the last few years.
Your going to gear a lot of hype about 2010 vintage for Brunello.
Sometimes vintages get hyped and it means nothing. Vintage 2007 was such a vintage and I bought zero bottles from the producers I represent in Australia. Instead I bought more 2006 and then 2008 (not a lauded vintage like 2007) which is something that I stick to. If I don’t like a vintage, even if it makes my job much easier (everyone loves reviews), then no matter how much the vintage is loved, then I won’t buy the wines from that vintage.
However, sometimes the moons align and I absolutely love a vintage that is hyped. 2010 is exactly the case and I have been trying these wines out of barrel and then bottle for the last four years. They have always looked great. They have always look balanced. And this is the reason why I visit Montalcino (and Barolo/Barbaresco) almost every year. You need to try the wines as they evolve from barrel to bottle to get an understanding of the vintage and the wine.
If I had to compare the vintage with another vintage, it would be 2004. However, I think the 2010 have better structure than the 2004 and should live for a very long time. What I love about the wines is that the have the perfect level of ripeness for Montalcino and acidity and tannin to burn. It reminds of maybe what great vintages were like twenty, thirty or forty years ago and long before global warming.
As much as I love 2010 Barolo, I love 2010 Brunello. Whilst I represent Biondi Santi, Soldera and Il Palazzone I would be buying all of the great producers: Fuligni, Costanti, Salvoni, Poggio di Sotto, etc. If you looking for a guide to follow on these wines, just wait. Whilst there are critics rushing to get out scores and reviews (and they are good), Galloni would be the person that I would be following. His reviews on the wines should be out in the next few weeks and if you have a wine merchant you relay on for Italian wine, then they should be all over this.
The 2010 Brunello’s from the wineries that I represent (plus my own under Fratelli D’Anna) should start to land in the next few weeks and I am going to have a tough time spreading them out around Australia. Not a bad problem to have though it it gives me lot’s of joy to see the wines of Montalcino from such a celebrated vintage, find a home with people that appreciate them.
Well for the last few years I have been making annual trips to Montalcino. The most recent in October to sign up Gianfranco Soldera for Australia and visit our good friends at Il Palazzone.
The wines of Soldera (starting with the 08 Soldera) should land in Australia around the end of January and be available at a wholesale level via our company Mondo Imports. It will have limited distribution due to it’s scarcity (these are the vintages that were affected by the break in at the winery a couple of years ago) but you should be able to secure a bottle at most of the prominent Australian independent wine merchants.
Another project that has been in the pipeline has been a 2010 Brunello di Montalcino under our Fratelli D’Anna label. The more I work on this label, the more I am thinking that the Fratelli wines will solely be based on Tuscany and in particular Montalcino. After parcels of fruit that we discover will most likely be under a different label and there is so much more I want to do with this concept.
So in short, our 2010 Fratelli D’Anna Brunello di Montalcino will leave Italy at the start of February and will be available in Australia at the end of March. We have only made 600 bottles and a few doz of those bottles need to go in my cellar for my daughters birth year. I can’t wait to get this wine in Oz and it is another exciting chapter under the Fratelli label.
Above is a draft of our label, note that on this draft they have left out the G will be rectified in the final cut but you will get the gist of what we are trying to do with the label design.
This week I am hosting a dinner at Cru Wine Bar in Hawthorn looking at the great wines of Serralunga going back to the 1990 vintage. Each wines has been chosen to highlight what I think is so special about this cru.
And that is the thing about Barolo and Barbaresco. Each cru is celebrated for producing a unique expression of Nebbiolo whether it is Serralunga, Monforte, Asili or Montefico.
The same could not be said about Montalcino, which is dragging it’s feet and I think will miss the boat unless it officially recognizes the need for sub zones or cru’s that exist in it’s denomination. We have already seen wine writers like Kerry O’Keefe in her fantastic book ‘Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy’s Greatest Wines’ talk about the need for subregions in Montalcino.
As much as I would love to host a dinner focusing on a specific sub region of Montalcino, there isn’t yet that level of understanding when it comes to sub regions of Montalcino as there is with Barolo and Barbaresco. I am sure, if there was specific sub regions recognised, consumers would have a far greater understanding of Montalcino and it’s wines. Until the time comes, I think it will be up to fellow imports and educators to somehow get the message across to consumers.
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.