Brunello di Montalcino 2010 has already established itself as the greatest Brunello vintage ever. The vintage releases began in January of this year, five years after the harvest. Brunello di Montalcino’s ageing requirements are painstaking, demanding two years in wood and the total ageing requirement of 50 months. The vintage has received unilateral praise from critics, with over five perfect 100 point scores awarded and an abundance of 96 point and greater scores. This is extraordinary given that the average price per six bottle case was around £160, offering unprecedented value for money. The market has been feverish and collectors have filled their cellars with these remarkable wines.
Traditionally the backbone of great Italian wine has been the wines of Piedmont (Barolo), Amarone and Brunello di Montalcino. This vintage is raising the global cachet of Brunellos which until now have fortunately lagged behind the Super Tuscans and Barolos in price. Brunello de Montalcino is cited south of Chianti which is warmer and drier meaning the grapes are harvested when riper, with slightly higher alcohol. Montalcino is built around a large hill, with a higher altitude than Bolgheri and also higher than Chianti, producing smaller berries with a smaller pulp to skin ratio; this means greater concentration and tannic grip. Therefore, Brunellos tend to be riper, fuller in body, higher in tannin and alcohol than Chianti.
2010 is recognised as a truly great vintage in Tuscany and Piedmont. The weather in Montalcino in 2010 was as perfect, the growing season was exceptionally long, with a warm June carrying on into a beautiful July. August was cool and sunny and September was gorgeous. The grapes were picked at the winemaker’s leisure and came into the wineries ripe, fresh and saw a flawless finale. Many seasoned winemakers declared the growing season as the best they have experienced in their winemaking careers. The wines are extremely complex, balanced and powerful, capable for ageing in bottle for two decades.
The combination of wonderful quality and excellent pricing for the consumer will go a long way to cementing Brunello in the hearts of new markets and buyers. The 2010 vintage has created a fanfare and the best possible marketing tool for this venerable winemaking region. Moreover, the rumours coming out of Brunello presently are that 2010 will be backed up by a strong 2011 vintage and that the 2012 vintage may even surpass the 2010. This is a good time to start collecting Brunellos. Our advice at the City A.M. Wine Club is to stock up now, before they’re completely sold out. We have access to the leading estates so please contact us for our Brunello di Montalcino recommendations.
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