~ Poggio Alle Mura, home to Castello Banfi ~

Yes, I said 2012 and it’s not a typo.  I am pleased to provide this exclusive early look at what is likely to be a rather excellent vintage for Brunello di Montalcino.  The wines below are finished blended wines, not barrel samples, and are waiting patiently for January 2017 when they will be officially presented at Benvenuto Brunello.  These bottles were provided to me directly from the cellars of the producers and have pristine provenance.  

When I attended Benvenuto Brunello as the 2009’s were released, what accompanied them were the delicate and delicious 2012 Rosso di Montalcino. At that time, I began anticipating what the 2012 Brunello would become.  This, albeit miniscule sampling, provides a bit of insight.  
Recently, at an intimate trattoria in Manhattan, we sampled the following wines with Enrico Viglierchio, the General Manager of the Castello Banfi Estate, who will be the subject of a future interview.  
2012 Castello Banfi Estate Brunello:  The first word in my tasting notebook is “Wow!”  This is a deep, dark cherry red that is nearly opaque clear to the rim of the glass. The aromas from the wine are very expressive with fresh flowers, baking spices and vibrant fresh tobacco leaf notes. There’s tons of red fruit here and amazing freshness.  Soft vanilla notes appear on the finish where this stays ripe and lively.  95 points.

2012 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello:  Ever so slightly darker than the estate Brunello, this wine exhibits wonderful aromas of crushed cherry and soft vanilla notes.  It’s restrained somewhat on the nose.  On the palate, the wine is much more exuberant and is absolutely loaded with spicy, ripe cherry fruit, fresh herb/anise notes and hints of vanilla. Long, long finish that trails off delicately with more black pepper on the end.  Definitely built for aging.  95+ points.
~ If you look closely, you can see the “vintage stickers” that were applied to the labels as the 2012’s in the cellar are not yet labeled for release ~ 
Back at Castello Tuscan Vines,  a primi of Bucatini all’amatriciana and a Fiorentina steak with basil pesto as a condimento,  we checked in on the next wine. 

2012 Caprili Brunello:  Deep dark violet color in the glass with an intense aroma of cherry liquer, fresh flowers, ripe tobacco and zesty black pepper notes. Concentrated and rich on the palate, this is very forward with lots of crushed cherry fruit, vanilla, tobacco and sandalwood notes.  As the wine opened more, violets began to emerge on the palate.  94 points. 
~ This wine featured a final front label but the back was unlabeled ~


It was very interesting to check in on some of these wines and I’ll be curious to taste them again in January.  While it’s not surprising that these wines exhibited very vibrant fruit profiles and a bit more pronounced attributes from oak,  I do expect that they will soften and integrate a bit before their official debut in January and further still by the time they arrive on the market.  

Although this was a small sample size, they displayed everything I remember from tasting the 2012 Rossos and then some, which is exactly what you’d expect.  Despite not decanting any of the wines, they were very forward and not shy with their character, even if they were mostly driven by primary fruit. What’s more, they were accessible, without loads of tannins obscuring their balance, finesse or elegance.
All were served with a variety of appropriate foods including various pastas, cheeses, chicken, porterhouse steak and even fish!  They were elegant and fresh with and without the food, though on their own, you could sense the structure from the tannins much more noticeably. 

Watch here for more coverage!  Salute!
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