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.
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.
For those that follow Italian wine, know that Antonio Galloni is the man to listen to when it comes to which vintages and which wines to buy. Whilst there is sometimes a difference of opinion (ie Soldera 2006 with my wine group), I value and judge his opinion more than anyone else on Italian wine.
Vintage 2010 Overview
The 2010 Barolos have all of the attributes of a cool, late-ripening vintage; expressive aromatics, chiseled fruit, plenty of site-specificity and the potential to develop beautifully for years and decades in bottle. At the same time, the wines have gorgeous depth and richness, perhaps a result of the high temperatures in July. Next to the 2008s, which were generally brought in later, the 2010s have a bit less aromatic intensity, more tannic clout and greater overall structure. A number of growers mentioned that the berry size was small in 2010, which explains why the wines have the tannic presence they do. As always, there are a handful of underperforming wines, but they are the exception rather than the rule. In general terms, it is clear the Barolos are more successful than the 2010 Barbarescos, pointing out the need once again to consider each of these two areas individually. The 2010 Barolos are also several notches higher in quality and far more exciting than the 2009s.
Overall, 2010 can be characterized as a vintage with cooler than normal temperatures and a mid-October harvest for Nebbiolo. Total degree days were lower than both 2009 and 2011. Growers reported fairly normal conditions during fruit set, although for some estates rain in early May delayed flowering. June saw quite a bit of rain, but towards the end of the month, after flowering was completed. July was very dry with daytime temperatures at the high end of normal. Evenings were cool throughout the summer months, creating the diurnal temperature swings that are so favorable for gradual, even ripening. October brought with it high amounts of rain. Well-drained sites handled the rain well, but some vineyards were penalized. In a cool, rainy vintage, proper balance in the vineyards and reasonable crop loads were especially critical. Most estates harvested their Nebbiolos around the middle of October, which today is regarded as a normal time frame. By comparison, both 2008 and 2013 were quite a bit later, while 2007 and 2009 were earlier harvests.
Readers who have tasted the 2010s from Tuscany (especially Chianti Classico) and/or the 2010 Red Burgundies will have a very clear idea of the style of the vintage. It is a year that will appeal to classicists, as the wines are translucent and incredibly expressive. Stylistically, the 2010s remind me of the 2004s, but with more mid-palate pliancy and overall depth. Simply put, 2010 is the greatest young Barolo vintage I have tasted in 18 years of visiting the region and a lifetime of buying, cellaring and drinking these wines. Antonio Galloni
These wines will be released throughout this year and I will be spending a lot of time when I am in Italy and the Langhe in April trying these wines. Throughout the year, I will also try and organise a dinner focused solely on this Barolo vintage.
So bottom line is that if you want to start to collecting Italian wine and Barolo in particular, the 2010 vintage for Barolo is probably the perfect way to start.
‘2010 Barbaresco will be a very good wine, with medium body and beautiful balance, somehow similar to the classic 2004 and 2005 vintages .’ Produttori del Barbaresco
If I had to name an upcoming vintage that has most impressed me, then it would be 2010 Barbaresco. The wines from even an early age out of barrel, have shown both power and poise and if I was a betting man, I would put money on this being an amazing vintage for Barbaresco. It will produce traditional, long lived Barbaresco what should develop in the bottle over a number of decades.
Whilst the vintage did have some rain in early October, beautiful sunshine and perfect weather throughout September helped create conditions which allowed full ripeness of fruit, without excessive heat and a long growing season to enable the tannins to integrate with the wines.
In the next twelve months, there is going to lot’s of 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo hitting the market and this will give you a great insight into just how good the Barbaresco from 2010 will be from those same producers.
I can’t wait to head back to Italy next year and hopefully try the same wines out of barrel and see again how far they have come in twelve months.
The first of the 2010 vintage Chianti Classico’s are arriving in Australia and they are looking good. I tried the Catellare wine at Vinitaly in March and it looked really good. Last night at home it looked amazing. Exactly how I would want Chianti Classico to look like at a young age.
In good years I always put a few bottles of the Castellare away to drink with a bit of age. At the moment I am drinking 2001 and they are looking good. This I think will develop beautifully over the next ten years and it is the exact reason why I love Chianti Classico so much.
Anthony D'Anna: Italian wine importer and merchant in Australia