It was January 2014 and I was attending the release of the 2009 Brunello at the Benvenuto event in New York City. As always, in addition to the recent vintage wines being poured, some estates pour their older wines. Capanna was one; pouring their 2006 Brunello Riserva. That day, I tasted that wine and made a one word comment in my tasting book. The next day I bought the wine.
Owned by the Cencioni family since 1957, Capanna’s estate sits north of Montalcino near the forest and hills of Montesoli. Encompassing some 20 hectares, the farm is one of the oldest in Montalcino and founder Giuseppe Cencioni was among the 25 original members of the Brunello Consorzio. Today, 16 hecatares are devoted to Sangiovese, 3 hectares to Moscato and 1 hectare to Merlot. The Montesoli Hill is widely regarded to be among the best Cru areas for growing Brunello and in 2006 Capanna hit it out of the park.
The last time I tasted this wine was almost exactly 3 years ago; as part of a larger birthday celebration. It made history then. It has acquitted itself marvelously in its reprise.
The 2006 Capanna Brunello Riserva is deep garnet with barely any lightening to the rim. What was more masculine now presents itself in a more elegant frame. An orchestral sense of harmony pervades the aromatic profile. Crushed cherry, fresh fennel, sweet pipe tobacco, red flowers and toasted notes combine wonderfully. Strongly perfumed.
On the palate the wine sends waves of crushed red and black fruit over your palate with loads of powdery, mineraly galestro infused tannins which coat the palate luxuriously. Christmas spices, toasted espresso bean, brown leaf tobacco and chestnut add complexity to the primary fruit package. Still very long, fresh, lively and young, there is no reason to rush through this. Another stellar showing if a bit less complex than in the past. 97 points. Price has crept up slightly. Find this wine.
I’ve written a lot about Castello Banfi on these pages, but when it comes to matters of Riserva, there hasn’t been as much said. Planted in 1992, the Poggio Alle Mura vineyard is the result of decades long clonal research conducted by Castello Banfi to isolate the best clones of Sangiovese to marry to their soil. Located at approximately 220 meters above sea level, the vineyard lies just below the walls of the Castello. Only in the best vintages are Riservas produced.
The 2010 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is stupendous. It is one of the best wines I’ve tasted in many years. Deep, blackish violet in the glass, it was captivating to look at. Here’s what happened. My wife and I were out to dinner. I poured a glass for her and a glass for me. She sipped. She reached for the bottle. That’s how the night was going to be!
Intoxicating aromas of crushed cherry and plum rise from the glass and envelop the table. Agitating the wine in the glass is barely necessary. However, it is easy to coax new leather, pipe tobacco, crushed blue flowers, toasted spices and cured meat notes from the glass.
On the palate, the wine is expansive, explosive and compels sip after sip. Elegant yet powerful, this Brunello has a perfectly ripe core of juicy red and black fruits that are fresh and tantalizing. It’s as if this is a barrel sample. Complexity comes from the smoked meat, sweet tobacco, roasted coffee bean and soft vanilla notes. The tannins are supple and ripe. The structure and acidity nearly perfectly balanced. I’m amazed at how wonderful this wine is now. If you have one, I’d drink it. It may last or even get better, but I can’t see a risk in opening this now. A wine of meditation. 99 points. Find this wine.
And that’s the way the story goes…….