As I sit here typing on my keyboard, the view out my window looks much like the image above. There’s a serenity to the ocean unlike any other aspect of nature and although it wouldn’t always be my first choice for a summer holiday, the relentless, steady, rhythmic, even mercurial personality of the sea beats out a calming symphony that is still very much awe inspiring. The miracles and complexities of nature, seemingly an oxymoron of simplicity, never cease to cause wonderment in my mind. Thus, wine. A natural, simple, yet utterly complex libation that transcends mere drink.
2006 was a wonderful vintage. Coming so quickly on the heels of the wonderful 2004 and even the good 2005, Tuscan wine lovers were delighted at the prospect of a third vintage even better than the previous two. Indeed, I find 2006 a bit more forward and approachable than 2004 which seems only now to be coming into a great drinking window. However, 2006 is difficult to top and today’s Cellar Note shows us why.
The 2006 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino is a deep crimson, garnet color that has barely faded in the 12 years of its life. We had carried the wine to a local Trattoria and were unable to decant it. Barring a few deposits of sediment, this was not a problem in the least. After about 15 minutes of air time and some vigorous swirling, fresh, lively aromas emerged from the glass. Crushed berry, Tuscan road dust, dried flowers and cypress needles are compelling. On the palate, the wine drinks beautifully. It’s so approachable as to seem in its prime drinking window, yet there is nothing here to suggest that the wine needs to be drunk. Nothing to portend that it’s beginning its descent down hill. Quite the contrary. This has loads of life left in it.
Sweet, ripe, vibrant red cherry notes are punctuated by soft mushroom, freshly crushed roses and lifting spice notes. Round and juicy, the texture is wonderful and the dusty tannins that appear toward the finish create an amazing texture to the wine. Fennel and powdered espresso notes join on the long, silky aftertaste. What’s not to like? This is simply a wonderful example of great winemaking in a great vintage. 95 points. A classic expression of Brunello. There are a few places to find this wine at auction or you can squirrel away a more recent vintage. Find this wine.
Salute amici…. and on final note, it’s amazing to see how similar this review is to the last time I tasted this wine back in September of 2016. I promise you, I did not look before I wrote this…..