|~ Abbey near Montalcino ~
(image courtesy of Jenny Cuddihy)
Gianni Brunelli made his mark on the Tuscan landscape by establishing Osteria Le Logge, which has become one of the best restaurants in Siena. In 1987, he acquired the Le Chiuse estate from his father who was retiring and returned to Montalcino to make wine. Vineyard replanting began in 1989 and shortly thereafter, Brunelli acquired the Podernovone estate in Southern Montalcino. The two competing terroirs were sought out by Brunelli as a means to ensure a balanced wine regardless of vintage conditions. It was good foresight. His holdings in the north contribute freshness and acidity to the wines while Podernovone in the south contributes additional body, ripeness and roundness given the warmer temperatures. Soil conditions vary as well which adds additional complexity and minerality to the finished wines.
Sadly, Gianni passed away in 2008 and the estate is now helmed by his wife, Laura. Although she was and continues to be intimately involved, the esteemed consultant Paolo Vagaggini makes the wine.
|~ Laura Vacca and her dogs ~|
Recently we decided to try the current release from the Brunelli team and were greatly impressed. Given the excellence of the vintage and the style of Brunelli, we decanted the wine a full 90 minutes before dinner. As the evening progressed, the wine continued to open.
In the decanter, the wine is a dark, impenetrable blackish red color. If this were an inferior vintage, I’m sure many “professional critics” would be suspicious of other grapes in the wine. But since this is Vagaggini and a small producer, of course no one dares mouth such an assertion. It’s hogwash and those who report on reputable producers of Brunello know better and realize that venerable producers with estate fruit don’t need to augment their Brunello with non-Sangiovese grapes. Alas, some “critics” like to criticize. But I digress….
In the glass, the 2010 Gianni Brunelli Brunello is full of brawny, meaty aromas. Crushed cherry and spice are met with notes of cured and grilled meat, leather and mushroom. This displays a very interesting side to Sangiovese. On the palate, the flavors expand nicely with fresh, vibrant ripe fruit that is well structured and balanced against a substantial tannic backbone. Flavors of cherry, coffee, grilled meat, and blood are complex and seamless. While it was delicious with some grilled hangar steak, this still has so much to give. There will be plenty of 2010s you can drink in the near term. Put this one in the back of your cellar. But do put some in. 95 points about $45.
|~ Lovely deep color in this brawny, meaty Sangiovese ~|
May 6, 2015