~ Iconic Purveyor of Prime Meats in lower Manhattan ~

It started with a simple invitation to the Vias Portfolio Tasting; an event serendipitously located on the lower west side of Manhattan.  I’ll be penning an article in short order on the wonderful collection of wines that Vias imports, but today, I’ll choose to speak only of the inspiration placed within me by the lovely producers and their wares.  
~ Tomahawk Ribeyes from Ottomanelli ~
After tasting several 2010 Brunello and many other young wines that are difficult to judge in their youth, I was in the mood for some compelling maturity and since I knew that Ottomanelli was only minutes away, the die was cast.  
Ottomanelli is the closest thing you’ll find to Dario Cecchini in this country, sans the extravagance.  The meat is spectacular, inexpensive and lovingly butchered upon order.  After 10 simple minutes conversing with the venerable Jerry,  I left with plenty to stock the freezer and some gorgeous Tomahawk Ribeyes for the grill. 

~ Castello Romitorio:  Fortress, Monastery & Now Cellars ~


Abandoned in the 1950’s Romitorio’s rebirth as a winery occurred in 1984 when Artist Sandro Chia acquired the estate from his friend Baron Giorgio Franchetti. The restoration began immediately, followed by the transformation of its overgrown lands into vineyards, and the construction of a cellar on the Castle’s ground floor.  Like the passion and detail reflected in his paintings, artist turned vintner Sandro Chia quickly made Romitorio into a premium estate and destination.
Today, Chia owns vineyards in two separate sections of Montalcino which, like many other producers, allows him the benefit of blending different microclimates in order to create a more balanced representative Brunello. 
~ Vigneron & Artist: Sandro Chia ~
Production is painstaking at Romitorio – grapes are harvested by hand with an average yield of 30-50 quintals per hectare; on the lower end, a smaller than average yield.  Selection is severe for the Brunello and his Riserva.  
The wine is vinified in stainless steel and then aged in both French barrique for 12 months and Slavonian cask for 14 months.  Not less than 6 months bottle aging will be required before release.
The 2004 Castello Romitorio Brunello is simply outstanding.  It’s why you cellar Brunello. It’s why the hopes and dreams of those cellaring 2010’s today will be realized. Transcendent. We decanted the wine for 60 minutes to allow aromas to develop and to remove a noticeable but not significant sediment.
On the nose the wine is complex and hints at the power and elegance to come.  Crushed berries, flowers, leather, cured meat, pipe tobacco and turned earth are focused like lasers.  It’s a symphony to smell. 

On the palate, the wine is pure power coated in elegance.  The full bodied huge core of crushed red fruit is fresh but backed by all sorts of secondary bottle aged components.  Fennel, spices, leather, wet stones and silky refined tannins complete the package.  The finish goes on and on.  This is textbook, classic, compelling Brunello and simply, one of my most memorable experiences so far this year.  Bravo!  97 points.  Approximate Retail ~ $65.  

~ Beautiful color to the wine and the label; the regarding that latter, as you can see it can often be difficult to read ~

  E vero! 

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