~ Montalcino Street ~

Latent within the discussion I broached last month regarding the division over subzoning in Brunello is an undercurrent of an identity crisis that some feel pervades the appellation.  It’s a perceived matter of safeguarding the quality of wines that bear the “Brunello” name and thus, the subzoning argument which, if achieved, will presumably advertise the superior terroir of a given wine estate.

I’m not sure I buy the argument.  Though I think within the confines of Montalcino, there is certainly some unspoken idea that the name Brunello is being weakened by wines not attaining the quality that the reputation of the appellation suggests.  Today’s subject wine frustrates me and clearly in my mind, could be one of the examples for this perceived weakness. 

2006. A legendary vintage.  Perfect in almost every respect.  It produced wonderful fruit with aromatic and sensory complexity.  Wonderful wines with racy tannins and acidity capable of long aging.  It is a benchmark in recent times.  One thing I noticed  with the release of that vintage was the appearance of many single vineyard non-riserva wines that I’d never seen before. Another sure fire sign that the vintage was special or simply a way to create a wine that can command a higher price? 
The 2006 Mocali Brunello Vigna Raunate is a very good wine.  That in itself, speaks volumes.  It’s a deep ruby and fades to slight violet at the edge of the bowl.  Decanted for 60 minutes, the wine displays simple pleasing aromas of crushed red fruits, spice and menthol.  No complexity here – nothing exotic, special or noteworthy.  On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with soft red fruits mingling with spicy herbal notes.  One dimensional.  Tannins and acids are soft, subdued and very tame.  How is this from a classic vintage?  How did this warrant being singled out for a vineyard designate bottling?  In my mind, it didn’t. 
There is nothing “closed” about this wine.  It doesn’t need more time.  In fact, given the amount of sediment and the lack of structure here,  I’d suggest it should have already been consumed.  And that is another problem. This is straightforward wine.  I’ve had Rosso di Montalcino and Chianti Classico that are more interesting, more complex, and more substantial than this.  This is not what Brunello should be.  If this were the first Brunello I ever tried and someone pitched it to me as a wine so special that it was singled out for special bottling,  I’d wonder what all the fuss was about?  
Lest my readers think I’m being too harsh, let me state again that this isn’t a bad wine.  It’s well made.  It tastes good.  However, this should not be what Brunello is.  This wine doesn’t live up to the stature of the appellation.  That is what Montalcino should be worried about most.  Not which corner of which hill is demarcated on a label. 
At the end of the day, the consumer wants Brunello to mean something.  If they come across this, they may not be coming back. 88 points, about $50. 

~ Mocali Brunello Vigna delle Raunate ~
With this Brunello we had wonderful grilled pork chops, marinated in garlic and rosemary.  As a contorni,  garden fresh vegetables dressed in extra virgin olive oil with burrata cheese. 

~ The food eclipsed the wine ~

E vero!

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