Last Saturday, I organized a small double blind tasting of 2006 Brunello di Montalcino.  Four of us took three wines to a local ristorante and tried them over various primi and secondi piatti.  The wines were not decanted, but were all opened about 45 minutes prior to dinner. They were wrapped and numbered randomly.  I knew the wines being served, but I did not know which wine was which, as they were numbered by someone else.  
First came appetizers of fried eggplant with fresh roma tomatoes, garlic, and mozzarella and a stuffed tomato filled with risotto, broccoli rabe and shrimp that was drizzled with a light cream sauce.  Entrees that followed were spaghetti carbonara, chicken milanese, and roasted grouper.   Off we went..

Three Blind Brunello – Ready to go!

Wine Number 1

Dark crimson blackish red. The nose, shy at first, opens to reveal deep, ripe red fruits, leather and earth. In the mouth, the wine is full bodied and absolutely delicious. Sweet, juicy ripe fruit is framed by ripe and massive tannins.  Acids and oak all in balance.  Harmonic. Excelled with the carbonara as it really played nicely off the smokiness of the pancetta in the dish. This is stunning.  96 points.
Wine Number 2
Very aromatic. Floral, with berries and cherries on the nose.  In the mouth, the wine is medium bodied – more elegant than the first, softer, mellow. The fruit is ripe, juicy and balanced well with acids and tannins. Everything is here, just not as intense as wine #1.  90 points.
Wine Number 3
Dark reddish black, very similar in color to #1.  The nose stood out here. More concentrated aromas of fruit, flowers, sweet tobacco, earth.  In the mouth the wine is massive, rich, with loads of fruit, ripe tannins and acid – all in a graceful package.  Ripe berry, leather, tobacco, roasted coffee – this is simply a gorgeous wine. The finish is still somewhat chewy but very, very long.  Delicious with the appetizers and the entrees.  Wine of the night for me.  98 points.
We finished most of the food before revealing the wines.  It’s always interesting to taste wines like this because it really leaves pre-conceived notions by the side of the road. I was able to guess Wine Number 2, mainly because my experience with the 2001 and 2004 Brunello from that estate shows the wine to be somewhat lighter and softer in style. I had no idea which wine belonged to bags 1 and 3.  So off came the covers…

Three Blind Brunello – Revealed!

The Results

Wine # 1 was the 2006 San Filippo Le Lucere Brunello.  Every bit as delicious as I would expect after loving the 2004.  Received 1 first place vote, and 2 seconds.    About $46
Wine #2 was the 2006 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino.  I’m somewhat convinced that they save their best fruit for their “La Casa” bottling and their Riserva.  Received 1 first place vote, and no seconds.  About $34.
Wine #3 was the 2006 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino.  This is a massive, powerful wine that will easily last a decade in the cellar. Wonderful stuff.  Received 2 first place votes and 1 second.  About $54.
Lesson Learned?  Once again, I say, if you’re a lover of Brunello, you cannot miss buying the 2006’s.  They are readily available and affordable.  With some aeration, they charm now, but can clearly be cellared for 5-10 years in order to develop some aged complexities. 
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