Friday, January 23, 2015

Brunello 2010, Does it live up to the hype?

The 2010 vintage in Brunello di Montacino is being touted as "The vintage of a lifetime" by James Suckling who goes on to say “The year 2010 for Brunello di Montalcino is the greatest modern vintage of Italy’s most famous red wine region. Never have the wines been so profound in quality, character, and quantity from the best hillside vineyards of Montalcino. They represent a new paradigm for Tuscany’s unique sangiovese-based red.” Robert Parker scored the vintage 96pts, which the highest rating he has ever passed out for the Tuscan region!

You can imagine our excitement when this highly anticipated event finally rolled around this past Tuesday and we were able to get our first glimpse of the wines from this historic vintage.In fact, in a rare show of excitement both William and I hopped the train to New york and made our way to Gotham Hall to taste. When it comes to trade tastings, Typically one or the other of us makes it out to the event while the other is "minding the store" so this was a special occasion indeed. This time the hype was just too much and we were both compelled to make the trip.

Followers of this blog may remember a couple of posts that were touting the 2010 vintage in Tuscany as a whole and Montalcino more specifically when Jan and I went to this same tasting a couple of years ago and fell in love with the 2010 Rosso di Montalcino selection. More recently the northern part of Italy has gotten a great deal of fanfare as the 2010 Barolo's have been releasing. These are great wines also but that is for another day.

Mid Day on Tuesday, We made our way to Grand Central and then got a bit of exercise as we hoofed it from the station down to 35th street and across to Broadway to the venue and we weren't alone. Thousands of Buyers, Somms and Wine shop owners along with a good deal of press showed up to see what all the buzz was about. We dropped off our coats and then checked in at reception where we got our name tag and tasting glass. A deep breath and we were off to work...

The very first wine we tasted was Argiano Brunello and it really kicked off the event well for us. Powerful with great structure, beautiful fruit and very well balanced acidity along with a very nice nose and long finish. I since learned that Suckling has already reviewed it and here is what he had to say "An unforgiving and powerfully structured wine with fabulous grilled meat and granite stone character with dried berry and flower petal. Full body, chewy and intense. Great structure and extremely long and intense. Sexy austerity. Gets the juices going. Best ever from here." 98pts. That will make the shelf!

Next up for us was Uccelleria and it was right on par. Both of these Brunellos oozed of greatness, showing style and lots of dimension along with a depth of flavor that has been missing from Brunello for too many vintages. "Maybe the critics are right" I said to William, "This could be a fun day!". We marched on...

Capanna was another true stand out for the day and perhaps my personal favorite with a more brooding personality that  tells me that it is very young in what should be a long life. There were others that also showed very well and the category will be well represented on our shelves in the coming months. We found a couple of surprises and tasted one from a producer looking for representation that may have found himself an importer at the event. Too many of the producers that we hoped to see didn't make the event and that was the sad part of the day for me. This event that I have loved so much in years past has still not bounced back from when they moved it a few years back. It was something I wrote about to in the last post I did about this tasting.

There is still work to be done to determine whether or not we agree with the "Vintage of a lifetime" moniker  and we have other avenues for getting to taste more of these 2010's in the coming weeks and months including other trade tastings and in store opportunities with importers and salesmen.

Is it the vintage of a lifetime?

I guess the jury is still out on that one but we did find some more exciting wines from the very memorable 2010 vintage from Italy!


No comments:

Post a Comment