~ The late Franco Biondi Santi ~

It would be wrong to think of Brunello without thinking of Franco Biondi Santi.  While his wines may surely spark some controversy,  whether they are to your stylistic preference or not, I think it should be agreed that they are well made.  I’ve heard many insist that his estate fruit and his style excels in the more “classic” vintages and that in hotter years, the wines can lose some of their nuance and grace at the hands of increased ripeness.  Maybe that’s true.  In looking back on my review of the 2008,  I can visualize that notion after tasting the subject of today’s article.  It’s not meant as an indictment, criticism, or praise frankly;  merely an observation. 

~ The Biondi Santi Cellars – Image Courtesy of Steve Kubota ~
The 2009 Biondi Santi Brunello, in accordance with instructions from the estate,  was decanted 3 hours in advance of dinner.  No sediment was noticed in the bottle.  
In the decanter, the wine appears much darker than in the glass, where it is an almost transparent ruby red.  My wife was surprised:  “You can see right through it” – and that is exactly the case.  Upon first sip, the wine appears thin in body and slightly tart.  The decanting is necessary because at the 3 hour mark, it had plumped significantly.  
On the nose, the wine is somewhat monolithic with aromas of tart cherry, and spicy pepper notes.  Straightforward.  On the palate, the wine displays nice elegance and a feminine, austere nature.  There are full bodied notes of red plums, spices, chestnut and dried fennel.  It’s attractive and enjoyable, but it does not “wow” you by any means.   On it’s own, the wine is tannic and does not present itself well.  It needs substantial food.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, but we always taste wines with and without food at TuscanVines.  With dinner of mashed potatoes, nonnas braised short ribs, and sauteed spinach, it was a different story.   But this still falls short of the 2008 in my book.
The moral here?  Long decanting is a must in the absence of the wine being 15 years older.  I think as this ages, the tannins will shed and what may emerge will be a Burgundian Brunello with fine complexity across an austere frame.  It’s not a style I like to enjoy regularly, and it confirms to me that my 2004s and 2006s of this very wine will not be opened for some time.   89 points about $90 retail. 
~ The 2009 Biondi Santi Brunello requires long decanting and/or long patience for those hoping that increased complexity will emerge as the wine matures.  I’m not so sure. ~


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