Benvenuto Brunello 2014, New York

Benvenuto Brunello 2014, New York

If, like me, impatience has driven you to pop a Brunello cork prematurely, you may be interested to know that the 2009 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino will require no personal improvement in self-discipline 😉

benvenuto-brunello-2014-2aBrunello wines from the four-star 2009 vintage previewed January 27th at Benvenuto Brunello in New York. I found the wines to be generally open, opulent, with many …dare I say it … ready to drink early.

Accordingly, the vintage should be a great one not only for the restaurant market but also for the private consumer who wants pleasure in the short term from his Brunello spend. For collectors seeking cellaring potential, however, the five-star 2006 and 2007 vintages remain better options.

A seminar and guided tasting segment featuring eight Brunello di Montalcino wines was presented by Gloria Maroti Frazee, of Wine Spectator School. Maroti Frazee, to her credit, took attendees on a rather Socratic tour of Brunello wines and Montalcino terroir, teaching through astute questioning along the way. The seminar-tasting proved a great roadmap to delineate and distinguish differences between Brunello’s north and south growing zones.

At one point during the seminar, speaking of Sangiovese, the grape varietal responsible for Brunello di Montalcino, Maroti Frazee noted that, “Sangiovese whispers, not shouts, of its tipicita.” I so appreciate that statement as it does hint, I think, at one of the true beauties of Brunello, that being Brunello is so subtly reflective of variations in Montalcino’s altitude, soil, and temperature.

benvenuto-brunello-2014-1aOn the main tasting floor, I encountered many wonderfully open, plush Brunello wines from 2009 as well as stellar normale and riserva examples from the ’08, ’07 and ’06 vintages.

Yet, even in that context, it was obvious that Rosso di Montalcino wines from 2011 and 2012 being shown by producers alongside their Brunello entries were drinking spectacularly well, showing outstanding quality. Not to be too surprised, however: as noted during the seminar, approximately 50% of Rosso di Montalcino is produced from reclassified Brunello grapes. Discerning lovers of Sangiovese will do well to keep Rosso di Montalcino wines on their buying radar especially where a solid fix of good Sangiovese is required at times when the wallet is perhaps too thin to endure the pricier Brunello spend.

In summary, the Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines I tasted at Benvenuto Brunello 2014 NYC give continued testimony to the exceptional quality and terroir of Montalcino.

Memorable among the show’s exhibiter producers:
Canalicchio di Sopra
Cappane Ricci
La Fiorita
Le Ragnaie
Tenute Silvio Nardi
Paradisone – Colle degli Angeli
Santa Giulia

Special shout out to the IEEM team for hosting the event in a space offering a measure of elegance befitting Brunello wines. Gotham Hall was a gorgeous venue for this event!

Related Post, from my 2012 media trip to Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino – A Reflection

Weiser Kunstler Riesling Spatlese 2010

Weiser Kunstler Riesling Spatlese 2010

Riding the open flats past local corn fields is always a windy proposition during autumn. The wind that, when at my back, earlier made me to feel like a better cyclist than I really am, now bears down hard on my forward motion.

Tall, dry corn stalks look on with disapproval as I ride by. “Better riders than you have been by here today” they crackle, their dehydrated whisper chasing me row across row.

Across the road, sunflowers bow their heads politely down so as not to stare as I struggle past.

The breakfast of champions was apparently not on my morning table today.

weiser-kunstler-riesling-spatlese-2010-aTo distract you now from this tale of lackluster pedaling, I shall draw your attention instead to the more winning performance of Weiser Kunstler Riesling Spatlese 2010:

Unlike the flatlands around our local cornfields, Weiser Kunstler vineyards are located upon steeply terraced slopes of weathered slate in Germany’s Mosel region. According to the company website, Enkircher Ellergrub vineyard is the “heart of” Weiser Kunstler’s wine growing estate. The vineyard’s ungrafted vines – up to 100 years old – and terraces of Devon slate leave their mark on this concentrated, sophisticated 100% Riesling beauty.

Core nose of subtly ripe apple, peach, pear with a stony mineral focal point. Petrol, honey, and herb influence changing aromatics. Some residual sugar, yes – it is a Spatlese, afterall – but not overtly sweet. Rich, yet lean on the palate, with great mineral purity and the depth of an alpine crevasse. Hope to make my way back to this wine closer to 2018 that I might receive its full message.


Vopte Ugolini Morellino di Scansano 2010

Vopte Ugolini Morellino di Scansano 2010

Note: Vopte Ugolini Morellino di Scansano 2010 was provided to me as a tasting sample. If interested, see Vintrospective policy about wine samples here.

If our wicker basket full of old wine corks is any indication, I adore Sangiovese. One expression of that noble grape which remains memorable since drinking it back in fall is Vopte Ugolini Morellino di Scansano 2010.

vopte-ugolini-morellino-di-scansano-2010-1Within 15 minutes of pulling the cork, the wine opened up with rich scents of black cherry underlined with minerals, and a harmonic perfume of violets, saddle leather, almond and sandlewood.

With its savory palate showing notes of rosemary and grilled meat, the wine was stellar paired with NY strip steak. In the mouth, Pinot-like lightness belies the solid, well-structured frame of this Morellino. Immaculately fresh, the wine finishes with good length, entrusting you at the end to the silky grip of its tannins.

One of the best Morellino di Scansano wines I’ve tasted. Sensational.

90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. 20 days maceration, aged in steel and bottle.