~ Montalcino ~ 

I’ve preached over and over about my axiom “Producer over Vintage”.  To refresh,  this means simply that even in weaker vintages, excellent producers manage to make wonderful wine.  I’ve seen this in action countless times and I’m a firm believer.  

But can it work the other way?  Can a vintage be so good that it lifts even mediocre or weak producers to acceptable quality levels?   It’s not something I’d ever bank on,  but recently I think I’ve seen this exception in action.  

The 2010 Torraiolo Brunello di Montalcino was a new experience for me.  There’s no information on this wine.  I’ve never seen it before.  Never heard of it.  A search of the Brunello Consorzio website show no information at all about this label.   Discoviering that it was imported by the low end company Monsieur Touton,  I suspect this is nothing more than a house label made from purchased grower/negociant fruit.  

So what’s the rub?  This bottle was brought to a family dinner by my brother in law who challenged me to identify it completely blind.   I knew nothing about it. 

In the glass, the wine is deep ruby red with a characteristic lightening at the edge of the rim to rust/orange. It looks a bit advanced.  To me, it was obviously a Sangiovese.  The aromas gave that away with dried herbs, flowers, ripe cherry and a hint of spice.  Really wonderful to smell.  

On the palate, the wine displays medium to full bodied bright cherry fruit, with fresh acidity and a good tannic grip.  I was convinced by now this was 100% Sangiovese from Tuscany.  The fruit on the palate is joined by herbs, warm clay dust and a hint of spicy mushroom.  This is very attractive.   Here’s where he fooled me.  

Although I mused that it was Brunello, given the lighter body of the wine, I talked myself into thinking it was perhaps a Vino Nobile.  Always trust your gut!  In that vein, I pegged the price at about $28, which is exactly what he paid for this and the reason he picked it up in the first place.  He wanted my untainted opinion on the wine and we had lots of fun doing this. 

So it seems that in a vintage as exceptional as 2010,  you can find wines on the cheap that can raise in quality not often associated with the importer or the label.  This wine is delicious and while I wouldn’t cellar it very long,  it’s well worth the $28.  Tasty and typical.  90 points.  Purchased at Wegman’s Food Markets.

~ This tasty Brunello was a pleasant surprise.  I even like the label! ~ 


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