It was July 2014 and I was in Tuscany tasting through an array of amazing wines with Laura Gray and Marco Sassetti of Il Palazzone. There was no shortage of excellent wines that day, but one stood out. After more than 5 patient years of waiting, I eagerly put this wine in my cellar. Last night, with greatness being displayed at Yankee Stadium, I decided to pour greatness into the glass. I was not disappointed.
Il Palazzone’s Brunello is produced only from estate properties that they own throughout the Brunello zone. Traditional methods are cherished at Il Palazzone. The grapes are hand harvested after obtaining yields dramatically lower than the DOCG regulations permit. Aging takes place for a minimum of 4 years in large Slavonian oak barrels and only in exceptional vintages is a Riserva produced. 2010 was one such vintage; the first since 2006.
Monumental. A standard bearer. A benchmark. It matters little to me what you call it or how I describe it. This wine is simply astounding. The 2010 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is pure, precise, and magnificent. In the glass we can observe a bright, shimmering, vibrant ruby color with deep violet highlights. It almost presents itself like a kaleidoscope that I could not stop starting at.
Immediately upon opening, the aromas lift easily from the glass. Freshly cut roses, lavender, wild crushed berry, sweet tobacco, new shoe leather and fresh fennel intertwine in harmony. On the palate, the wine is equally impressive. The concentrated wild berry flavors are fresh, nimble and lively and are framed by notes of warm, dusty earth, cypress needle, exotic baking spices, tobacco leaf and a hint of warmed chestnut. The acidity is perfectly balanced and the tannins, which are so well integrated they are seemingly non-existent, don’t assert themselves until you sip this without food. The long, long finish ends with a kick of sweet fruit and red licorice. If you have these in your cellar, I’d strongly recommend trying one. It’s so delicious now but despite the superlatives, I think it has room to improve both texturally and aromatically. 98 points. Limited importation/availability. May be available from the winery. Find this wine.