Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Benvenuto Brunello: The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and the 2005 Brunello di Montalcino

This year I decided to begin with the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, and then do a sprinkling of 2005 Brunello, for a couple of reasons.

First, the 2004 vintage was interesting, both because Nature smiled brightly in some areas (alas, less so in others), and because it came on the heels of the Brunello scandal -- in the 2004 vintage I had noted a distinct change in the color and character of some winery's wines with respect to older vintages. Put simply, they were much more what one would expect of Sangiovese, in terms of color, aroma and tannin structure. So I wanted to see if Nature's bounty carried through into the Riserve, and if the trends I had observed last year still held.

In terms of vintage quality, the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva echoed the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino, and this really comes as no surprise. Some of the wines are stronger than others, and this requires that one approach them with care, and, if one is buying bottles to set aside (and there are many that warrant it) one should taste first.

In terms of color and character, well... A number of the Riserve were considerably darker and more concentrated than the basic 2004s, and while one might expect this considering that they are Riserve, it is also possible that there was some backsliding. Unfortunately, the 2005 vintage is not going to provide a good answer to this question (more on this below), and therefore we'll have to wait until the 2006 is released.

The other reason I chose to taste through the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva was purely practical: Benvenuto Brunello is a two day event, and this year 136 wineries were presenting their wines. 136 Brunelli and a few vineyard selections is a lot of wine to work through in 2 days, especially when the wines are young, big, and tannic. By comparison there were about 70 Riserve, and in doing them all, rather than cherry-picking, I got a better idea of the vintage, and also had an opportunity to taste wineries I might not otherwise have selected.

And this brings us to the 2005 vintage.

2005 was one of the cooler wetter vintages in recent memory, and while Montalcino is a bit warmer and drier than Chianti, it is still in Tuscany. Therefore the wines are cut from the same cloth as the 2005 wines from other Tuscan appellations: brambly, tart, with considerable acidity and moderate, not too ripe fruit. This is a sort of vintage that I think displays its best with brief aging, and works very well with foods, but is not necessarily going to be something one wants to sip and think about. In addition, red wines from cool wet vintages are best drunk quickly, because they are not particularly ageworthy.

In short, 2005 was a much better year for Rosso di Montalcino, which is released young, than Brunello, which must by law age for 4 years prior to release. In vintages of this kind, all bets are off, and I think the most successful wines come from those who accept the hand Nature has dealt them, making wines that are lighter, and less fruity than Brunello from a more normal vintage, but display a willowy grace, and can show considerable finesse as well. Some of those who instead tried to compensate for Nature's stinginess through cellar tricks, which can include barrique use to impart tannins, or what is called the "taglio migliorativo," the addition of up to 15% of a different vintage that will (the winemaker hopes) compensate for the paucity of the primary vintage, ended up with disjointed wines, while others ended up with unusual combinations of under and overripeness, the result of bringing together two different wines (I consider distinct vintages to be distinct wines in this case) who really don't know what to do with each other and manage to stay distinct even as they share space in a bottle.

You might conclude from the above paragraph that you should simply avoid the 2005 Brunello di Montalcino. And you would be wrong, because the winemakers who worked well produced wines that are quite graceful. But you will have to select with care, and keep in mind that some of the winemakers who are normally a sure bet are among those who tried hardest (perhaps because they usually are a sure bet) to compensate for Nature's stinginess. Therefore, talk to the people in your wine shop, and if you are buying a case for a special occasion or to set aside to celebrate a recurrence, taste before you buy.

And this is why I think we will have to wait until next year to see if the colors and aromas of the 2004 Brunello di Montalcino represent a true change of course and not a bump in the road: Many 2005s display darker colors and richer aromas that are either the result of more intense oak than usual, or the addition of powerful ripe older vintages (e.g. 2003), and are therefore not really typical of Brunello. 2006 should give a much better indication, because it was a much better vintage that will not require these sorts of corrective measures.

And now the wines, in the order I tasted the Brunello di Montalcino Riservas, on February 19 and 20 2010

Abbadia Ardenga

Abbadia Ardenga Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Brick almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is vinous, and elegant, with rich cherry fruit supported by slight dusky greenish accents and clean spice, together with quite a bit of alcohol. A big wine that is at the beginning of a long journey. On the palate it's ample and rich, with fairly intense berry fruit supported by moderate acidity, which is more mineral than fruit driven, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bitter finish. It's graceful, but very young, and needs another 3-5 years to really get its bearings. This said, the tannins are already smooth enough that one might enjoy it with a steak.
2 stars

Castello Banfi

Banfi Poggio All'Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Brick almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, and more mature than some of the others, with dusky berry fruit supported by balsamic accents and clean cedar; the overall impression is quite harmonious, and with time mentholated accents also emerge. On the palate it's ample and very smooth, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by dusky cherry acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that are already becoming silky, and flow into a long clean bitter finish with tannic warmth and some sour berry fruit. Pleasant, and quite mature; if I didn't know the vintage I might have guessed older. It will drink well with grilled meats, hearty roasts, and substantial stews, for example boar with polenta, and is worth seeking out.
2 stars

Banfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is deft, with floral accents and vinous notes mingled with pleasant cherry fruit and some berry fruit acodoty with some underbrush as well. On the palate it's full, with elegant cherry fruit supported by clean slightly brambly savory acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean deft berry fruit finish. It's quite approachable, in a fairly delicate key, and will already drink well with roasts or stews, though it also has the legs to age well for many years. One of the 2005s that best impressed me.
2 stars

Fattoria Dei Barbi

Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Brownish almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is quite traditional, with saddle leather and some savory accents mingled with hints of eucalyptus. Not much fruit, but it is graceful. On the palate it's ample and quite smooth, with moderately intense leathery fruit supported by warm mineral acidity and very smooth tannins that flow into a clean leathery finish. It seems much older than it is, and the acidity is oddly lacking; what there is mineral, and harmonious, but it's lesser key and as a result the wine seems fairly flat. A pity, because the nose was elegant. This said, if you like the style you will like it.
1 star

Baricci
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Baricci Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately rich -- not quite muted, but not open either -- with dusky berry fruit supported by cheeky sour cherry acidity and by some spice, with hints of cedar as well. It's still developing. On the palate it's ample and smooth, with moderately intense fairly mineral berry fruit supported by mineral acidity and silky smooth tannins that flow into a long savory finish with berry fruit underpinning. It's not as rich as I might have expected, and though there is acidity it's not as perky as I would expect a young Brunello to be. Elegant, but slightly settled on its laurels.
2 stars

Brunelli

Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is young, with rich fruit supported by clean spice and slightly mineral acidity with an underlying pungency as well. On the palate it's full, with fresh lively cherry fruit supported by deft berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bright berry fruit finish. Pleasant in a cheeky sort of way that brings to mind a smiling teen; it's very young but already drinkable, and will work very well with grilled meats or a roast if you feel you must open it. But if you have patience, it will do beautiful things with time, and still be climbing in 10 years.
91

Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with deft cherry fruit supported by spice and alcohol, and also by some cedar. Airy, and gives an impression or being ready to drink. On the palate it's ample and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by deft acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bright berry fruit finish that gains definition from lasting acidity and smooth tannic underpinning. Quick to write, but harmonious and quite pleasant to drink; will also age well for many years.
88-90

Camigliano

Camigliano Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. Looks quite charged. The bouquet is powerful, and strongly wood laced, with cedar and vanilla mingled with alcohol and minerality, and some pungency, but not much fruit. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderately intense plum fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by tannins that are very smooth. There's something cavernous to it; it brings to mind a great open space that is also rather dark. I would have liked more depth and freshness. Ripe ripe fruit is good, when it has the acidity to support it, but there isn't enough here.
1 star

Canalicchio di Sopra

Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and an orange almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, and young, with cherry fruit supported by some vegetal acidity and by delicate cedar that nicely balances the fruit. Harmonious, though very young, and is still falling into place. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich ripe cherry plum fruit supported by dusky berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly long prune finish with cedary tannic underpinning. It's elegant, in a quite ripe fairly international key, and if you like the style you will enjoy it, though I would give it another year or two to get its bearings. If you prefer brighter acidity, and fruit that's redder it won't work as well for you.
2 stars

Canneta

Canneta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black brick ruby with back reflections and pale almandine rim. The bouquet is intense and brooding, with quite a bit of alcohol supported by greenish mentholated accents and moderately intense cherry fruit. It's in mid stride, but already has quite a bit to say. On the palate it's ample and rich, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by brisk mineral cherry acidity, and by tannins that have a warm splintery burr and flow into a clean bright berry fruit finish with tannic underpinning. It's pleasant, but very young, and will benefit from another year or two in bottle; expect it to age well for 10-15 years. If you like the style, which is middle of the road, it's worth seeking out.
88-90

Canneta Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is dusky, with greenish accents and some pungent balsamic acidity, supported by slight barnyard tang. A bit rustic, but does have quite a bit to say. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich sour cherry fruit supported by deft berry fruit acidity and by tannins that gain definition from a slightly greenish burr, and flow into a warm sour berry fruit finish. Graceful, and will drink very well with foods, in particular roasts and grilled meats of the elegant variety, such as a porterhouse steak, and will also age well for many years.
2 stars

Capanna

Capanna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is dusky, with smoky hardwood ash mingled with balsamic accents and some penetrating spice; there's also some cherry fruit. On the palate it's ample and smooth, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and by fairly bright acidity that flow into a rather blocky tannic finish. It's still very young, and needs another couple of years to get its bearings and for the nose to develop. At present the oak is quite evident, especially on the nose, but the fruit and acidity are sufficient to counter it on the palate, and with time it will fold in. I expect it to go places, but the score reflects where it is now.
1 star

Caparzo

Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with back reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, with vinous notes and dusky graphite shaving bitterness mingled with red berry fruit and some spice, and, as it opens -- it's quite closed -- berry fruit acidity and some minty jammy accents. On the palate it's ample and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by moderate sour cherry acidity that gradually emerges to provide warmth, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a long clean berry fruit finish. Graceful, and will drink very well with foods, in a slightly less aggressive key; the tannins are there and support, and the acidity directs, but there's nothing brash nor overly bright about it. If you like the style it is quite elegant, and will drink nicely with red meats or stews in the short term, and also age nicely for a decade or more.
2 stars

Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Dusky almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is shut tight, though swishing brings up some dusky brambly accents with underbrush as well. On the palate it's fairly full, with ripe cherry fruit supported by smooth moderately intense acidity that has a brambly cast, and by splintery tannins that flow into a rather tannic finish. It's a bit of a disappointment; the palate is fruity but comes across as a bit thin, and while this is in part youth it's also the wine.
1 star

Caprili

Caprili Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is closed, and swishing brings up just a bit of cedar, and some airy spice. Not much fruit. On the palate it's fairly rich, with bright cherry fruit supported by deft berry fruit acidity, and by smooth tannins that have a slight savory burr and flow into a clean fairly bright sour cherry finish. The nose is lagging behind the palate, and I would give it at least a couple of years to catch up, at which point it will be graceful, and also age well for many years thereafter. In short, it's a work in progress now, but one that will be quite nice when it's finished.
2 stars

Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Impenetrable almandine with black reflections and lam rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with an initial rush of shellac mingled with spice and some red berry fruit. Not much in the way of acidity, and it seems rather ripe. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderately intense berry fruit supported by rather slight acidity, and by tannins that have a greenish cedary overlay and flow into a clean greenish finish. I'd have liked more brightness overtones the fruit, and greater depth to the wine.
1 star

Castelgiocondo

Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense; there's spice, mingled with cedar and some greenish notes, but not much fruit, and it's not as clean as it might be. On the palate it's ample and soft, with fairly rich cherry plum fruit supported by brisk acidity and sweet tannins that flow into a sour finish. It's again not as clean as I might have liked, and this is a pity because I rather liked the 2004 Brunello Base I tasted last year.
1 star

Castello del Romitorio

Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Impenetrable pigeon blood ruby with barely visible black reflections and cherry rim. Looks younger than it is, and also concentrated. The bouquet is powerful, with hardwood ash and some balsamic accents, but not much fruit; there's also quite a bit of alcohol and as it opens some dried mushrooms also emerge. On the palate it's ample, with moderately intense cherry plum fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and by fairly bright cherry acidity. The nose is behind the palate by at least a year, and it needs several more to really come into its own. It will, I think, be worth waiting for, because at present the nose is in hiding.
2 stars

Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly bright, with cherry and forest berry fruit supported by greenish mentholated acidity and by warm spice, with some slight balsamic notes as well. A bit up in the air, but pleasant. On the palate it's ample, and rather soft, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by sour berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bright finish. Pleasant in a rather light key, and while this is in keeping with the vintage, it's in some ways more like a Chianti than a Brunello, This said, it is quite pleasant to drink, and will work nicely with grilled meats or roasts, and also has the capacity to age well for a number of years. Though it is ready now.
2 stars

Castiglion del Bosco

Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with red berry fruit supported by spice and slight greenish accents, with underlying cedar. Nice balance in a youthful key. On the palate it's ample and fairly soft, with moderately intense berry fruit and moderate acidity, supported by smooth sweet tannins that have a slight peppery cedar laced burr that flow into a warm spicy finish. It's in mid stride, and has yet to digest the wood that kept it. It will develop nicely over the next couple of years, and age well for a decade or more, becoming lacy with time.
2 stars

Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Delicate almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is elegant, with ripe cherry plum fruit mingled with mentholated spice and hints of underbrush and leaf tobacco with some cedary underpinning too. Quite young. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich bright cherry plum fruit supported by lively sour berry fruit acidity and by smooth tannins that have a warm burr and flow into a clean fresh berry fruit finish. Graceful in a lesser vintage, somewhat slighter key, and will drink well with foods now though it also has the potential to age well for a number of years.
2 stars

Ciacci Piccolomini D'Aragona

Ciacci Piccolomini D'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up some vegetal accents mingled with graphite and candied cherries, and quite a bit of alcohol. It's not doing much for me. On the palate it's ample and languid, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet acidity, and by tannins that are rather evanescent, flowing into a sour cherry finish. I'd have liked greater depth and definition to the tannins, which are delinquent, and don't do their duty.
1 star

Citille di Sopra

Citille di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up cherry plum fruit supported by some cedar and slight saddle leather. In progress. On the palate it's ample and soft, with cherry plum fruit supported by mentholated acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly long sour cherry finish with slight peppery undertones. I'd have expected more depth, and also, at this stage, brighter acidity and (especially) tannins.
1 star

Poggio il Castellare

Poggio il Castellare Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is in mid stride, with leaf tobacco mingled with spice and a fair amount of alcohol, and also as it opens jammy plum fruit. On the palate it's ample, and languid, with opulent plum fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fresh plum finish. Very opulent, and quite soft in a fruit driven overripe key; it almost feels like a concentrated fruit juice, and if you like this in a wine you will like it. But it's not what I look for in a Brunello.
1 star

La Fortuna

La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Elegant lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is elegant, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by dusky graphite bitterness and some penetrating cut tobacco. Nice depth and quite young. On the palate it's graceful, with rich slightly sour cherry fruit supported by brisk berry fruit acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean warm berry fruit finish that settles quickly (perhaps a little too quickly) into lasting warmth. Graceful in a cheeky sort of way, and will drink nicely with grilled meats or roasts; I would give it a year to get its bearings and expect it to age well for a decade or more.
2 stars

La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Lively black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly sweet, with berry fruit supported by cedar and some penetrating spice, with hints of underlying leather as well, and some ripe yellow peach; a fellow taster also notes dried prunes. It gives an impression of size. On the palate it's ample, with cherry plum fruit supported by bright slightly balsamic berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are smooth and a bit softer than I might have liked in a young wine; it needs a year to get its bearings, and will then age nicely for a number of years. It's softer and riper than previous vintages of La Fortuna have been, and this is an effect of the vintage, I think. I would give it a year to find itself and then drink it with a steak.
2 stars

Col D'Orcia

Col D'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with warm balsamic accents mingled with berry fruit and some spice, also considerable alcoholic warmth. On the palate it's full, with bright rather bitter red berry fruit supported by spice and fairly rich balsamic acidity, and by smooth leathery tannins that do have a warm burr, and flow into a fairly long warm slightly balsamic finish. It's pleasant in a fairly traditional key and though one could drink it now, it will also age nicely for a number of years. Quite pleasant, and worth seeking out if you like this style.
2 stars

Col D'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with balsamic notes mingled with some greenish accents, some acidity, savory notes, and some bramble. Not much fruit. On the palate it's fairly rich, with dusky cherry fruit supported by clean savory spice and moderate acidity, while the tannins are quite smooth. The wine is surprisingly ready for a just released Brunello, and while I don't object to ready-to-drink wines I would have liked greater depth to it. It will, I fear, fade in a relatively small number of years.
1 star

Corte Pavone

Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Impenetrable pyrope with black reflections and cherry rim. Looks younger than some. The bouquet is fairly intense, with sweet plum fruit laced with graphite and savory pungency. It seems quite ripe, but isn't expressing itself well. On the palate it's ample and fairly sweet, with cherry plum fruit supported by dusky cherry acidity, and by tannins that have a greenish vegetal burr and flow into a fairly long bitter finish. The grapes must have been exceedingly ripe when they were picked, and the wine doesn't have the definition nor the tightness I would have liked. If you like big soft, fairly sweet wines you will enjoy it, but you have to like the style.
1 star

Domus Vitae

Domus Vitae Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine in the rim as well. The bouquet is intense, and rather rustic, with greenish balsamic accents and warmth supported by India ink bitterness and moderate acidity; as it opens cedar also emerges, but there isn't much fruit. On the palate it's ample, and soft, with full sour cherry fruit supported by fairly bright berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are very smooth and quickly fade, allowing acidity to carry into a long tart finish. It's languid and curvy but lacking in the definition tannins with more backbone would have given.
1 star

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, with sour berry fruit supported by haunting greenish accents -- almost green peach skin fuzz -- and a fair amount of warmth; as it opens sweeter notes also emerge. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich, rather sweet cherry fruit that has some plum accents, and is supported by clean berry fruit acidity and smooth tannins that have a slight burr, but aren't really aggressive, and flow into a clean sour cherry finish. It's pleasant in a cheeky middle of the road key, and will drink nicely with stews or roasts in the short term, and also has the capacity to age for a decade or more.
2 stars

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, and a bit earthy, with wet clay mingled with bramble and underbrush, and some alcohol, and underlying it all rather shy greenish berry fruit. On the palate it's ample, with fairly bright sour cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity and by tannins that have a warm balsamic overlay and flow into a peppery greenish finish. A classic cool weather wine, and a pleasant expression of the vintage; it's about ready and will drink well with grilled meats or light stews, though it also has the capacity to age for up to 10 years.
2 stars

Fattoi

Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is rustic and penetrating, with considerable animal tang mingled with balsamic acidity and hints of shoe polish. On the palate it's ample and soft, but bright, with lively cherry plum fruit supported by bright acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that are lighter than I expected, and flow into a plum cherry finish that settles into acidic warmth. It's ample and soft, but not as ripe as wines this ample and soft are, and if you like big sweet wines that have a red berry cast rather than prune, you might want to consider it.
1 star

Ferrero

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Ferrero Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with red berry fruit supported by greenish mentholated accents and jammy sweetness, with a fair amount of alcohol and some cedar as well. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich, ripe plum cherry fruit with some sweet accents supported by moderately intense acidity, and by tannins that have an angry peppery purr and flow into a hot tannic finish with underlying plum that must be fairly intense to make it out from under the tannins. It's still very, very young, and the tannins need at least another year to round and smooth, at which point it will drink well with stews or roasts, and be something to consider if you like fairly lush very ripe wines. Because the grapes were quite ripe, and this translates into both the sweetness and the prune accents of the fruit.
2 stars

Fornacina

Fornacina Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is eye opening, with greenish accents mingled with spice and alcohol, and some candied fruit. Charged, and still not completely settled. On the palate it's ample and smooth with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by tannins that lay a splintery veneer over the tongue, and flow into a fairly long tannic finish with bright acidity. It's still up in the air, and needs another year at least to get its bearings and come together. It will in any case be ample and rather soft, because tannins (in my experience) don't gain intensity with time, and is therefore a wine you should consider only if you like the larger softer end of the scale.
1 star

Gianni Brunelli

Gianni Brunelli le Chiuse di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, and quite ripe, with mentholated prune fruit supported by cedar and a fair amount of alcohol; it gives an impression of ripeness. On the palate it's ample, and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by moderately intense berry fruit acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that aren't as broad as I might have liked, and flow into a clean dusky cherry fruit finish that settles into lasting warmth. It's ripe but not overripe, and with considerable concentration of fruit, but the tannins aren't as powerful as I might have liked, and this makes the wine less interesting than it might have been, at least for me. If you like the style it's pleasant enough, but you have to like the style.
2 stars

Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with greenish berry fruit supported by deft vegetal acidity and hints of more balsam than cedar; it's elegant in a youthful key. On the palate it's full, with rich rather languid cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean elegant cherry fruit finish. Graceful, and will drink nicely with succulent grilled meats or roasts now, and also has the capacity to age well for 8-10 years at least. Pleasant, and if you like the style, which is fairly traditional, it's Worth seeking out.
2 stars

Il Palazzone

Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, with candied cherries mingled with menthol and some sweetness; it seems quite ripe. A ripeness confirmed on the palate; it's big and soft, with ample red berry fruit supported by moderate acidity and by blocky cedary tannins that will need at least a year to smooth, and perhaps two. It's a bit disjointed, and does need time to come together, but it will in any case be soft, with less acidity and tannic definition than I would hope for.
1 star

Il Poggione

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with sweetish balsamic acidity and balsam mingled with mentholated cherry fruit and supported by a fair amount of alcohol and deft spice. On the palate it's ample and soft, with fairly bright berry fruit supported by soft berry fruit acidity and by tannins that are smooth and have a slight balsamic cedar underpinning, and flow into a clean fairly rich sour berry fruit finish. It's a touch overripe, and smooth and soft, and quite approachable in a lesser vintage key. It also has the legs to age nicely for a number of years, and will do interesting things with time. In short, nice.
2 stars

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is rich, and quite ripe, cherry and forest berry fruit supported by jammy accents and clean mentholated spice. Pleasant, and nice balance. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful fairly sweet cherry fruit supported by deft berry fruit acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean rather bitter finish. Quick to write, but harmonious, and will already drink well with a roast or a stew, though it's at the beginning of a long journey. Worth seeking out if you like the style, which is deft and nicely balanced, but has a little more residual sweetness than some, and is a result of the ripeness of the grapes.
2 stars

Innocenti

Innocenti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up leather and some savory accents with underlying spice and warmth. On the palate it's ample and soft, with rich cherry plum fruit that gains roundness form slight sweetness, and is supported by moderate acidity and smooth sweet tannins that are not too intense. It's a bit settled.
1 star

La Colombina

La Colombina Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with leathery berry fruit laced with pungent greenish accents. On the palate it's full, with bright rather sweet cherry fruit supported by greenish vegetal acidity and tannins that are frankly cedar-laced and flow into a warm tannic finish. It's a bit disjointed, in a very ripe key, and needs another year at least to get its bearings and decide what it wants to be. I found myself wishing it were tighter and brighter, because the fruit is rather overripe and brooding.
1 star

La Fiorita

La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, and jammy, with quite a bit of alcohol and peppery spice mingled with cherry jam, sweetish cedar, and dried prunes. Quite ripe, and hulking; it gives an impression of sweetness too. On the palate it's ample, with powerful cherry plum fruit supported by moderately intense acidity and by tannins that are decidedly splintery and flow into a warm dry splintery tannic finish. It's developing, and needs at least a couple of years for the tannins to smooth. When they do it will be ample in a soft, ripe, but not too ripe key. If you like the style you will enjoy it, but you have to like the style.
1 star

La Fornace

La Fornace Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with greenish accents mingled with jammy plum fruit supported by some cedar and by menthol and some graphite shavings. On the palate it's ample and sweet, with full plum fruit supported by moderate acidity and tannins that are soft and very smooth, and flow into a warm plum laced finish. Cavernous, and doesn't really work for me.
1 star

La Gerla

La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, with cut tobacco bitterness mingled with underlying berry fruit and greenish accents. It's very much in mid stride. On the palate it's bright, with rich cherry fruit supported by lively berry fruit acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that have a slightly greenish peppery spicy cast from wood, and flow into a fairly long warm finish. The palate is much more along (and presenting better than) the nose, and I would give the wine a year for the various pieces to come together and catch up with each other. If the nose follows the palate it will be pleasant in a middle of the road key.
2 stars

La Lecciaia

La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with cherry fruit supported by greenish accents and some licorice and spice with a fair amount of alcohol as well. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich cherry prune fruit supported by sweetish berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean berry fruit finish. Pleasant, in a ripe soft key, and if you like the style you will enjoy it.
1 star

La Lecciaia Vigna Manapetra Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, with plum prune fruit supported by spice and greenish accents supported by quite a bit of alcohol. Big wine. On the palate it's ample and fairly rich, with soft sweet sour cherry prune fruit supported by warm citric acidity and sweet tannins that have a slight burr, and flow into a warm tannic finish. It's a bit disjointed, and needs time to come together, but it will always be ample and rather soft, and is something you should only consider if you like this style.
2 stars

La Palazzetta

La Palazzetta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, and balsamic, with warm savory acidity as well, and hints of wet stable straw. On the palate it's ample, with rich spicy cherry plum fruit supported by moderate plum acidity and by tannins that are greenish and have a warm, angry peppery burr. It's pleasant, in an ample soft key, and will drink well with foods. But you have to like the style. Within the context of this style, I liked it better than many others.
2 stars

Lazzaretti

Lazzereti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Dusky almandine with brownish black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with green leather and some balsam mingled with spice and cherry fruit that has some candied overtones. Powerful. On the palate it's ample, and fairly soft, with bright fairly sweet berry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and moderately intense rather balsamic acidity that flow into a clean dry rather tannic finish. It brings together a rather unusual combination of combines a degree of overripenss with a traditional cast of flavors and aromas, and is particular. I'd have liked brighter, less ripe fruit but this is my preference.
1 star

Le Chiuse

Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with leathery accents and greenish spice mingled with some balsamic notes and savory accents;. On the palate it's ample and soft, with bright berry fruit supported by balsamic acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a soft rather delicate finish. It's graceful, in a delicate lacy traditional key, and will age nicely for a number of years, though not too long,
2 stars

Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
black almandine with black reflections. The bouquet is closed, though swishing brings up brambles and some brambly acidity with some graphite shaving bitterness as well. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by brambly cherry acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a brambly berry fruit finish that's fairly long. Deft, and quite elegant in a cool vintage key; it doesn't reveal strange attempts to compensate for what the vintage didn't give, and this is positive. It will drink nicely now with simple roasts or light stews, and will also age nicely fro 5-10 years, though I wouldn0't go much further.
2 stars

Le Macioche
(+39) 0632600127

Le Macioche Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with sweet cherry jam and hints of menthol with a fair amount of alcohol on the nose, and also some delicate balsamic accents. On the palate it's ample and soft, with balsamic cherry fruit supported by warm balsamic acidity and by smooth (very smooth) tannins that flow into a balsamic slightly savory finish. If you like wines that have backbone and acidity it won't work for you, but it does display an elegant swooning grace and will be pleasant to drink in the next 5-8 years, though I don't know how long it will age beyond then. Because of its softness it's more a wine to be drunk by the glass than a food wine.
2 stars

Le Macioche Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is rich, with lively cherry fruit supported by mentholated acidity and sweetish candied accents. Gives an impression of considerable ripeness, and is also quite young. On the palate it's ample, and rich, with sweet cherry plum fruit supported by moderately intense acidity, and by tannins that have brambly greenish accents and flow into a decidedly bitter brambly finish. The fruit is surprisingly ripe considering the vintage, though the greenish cast of the tannins is more in keeping with 2005, and this makes me wonder if some 2003 was added in the cellar (a legal practice called a taglio migliorativo). It will drink well with grilled meats, though I would give the tannins a year to fold in.
2 stars

Lisini

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, with dusky red cherry fruit supported by greenish accents, cedar, spice, and a fair amount of alcohol. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a long clean berry fruit finish. Quick to write but quite harmonious, and also displays considerable depth and finesse. It's barely ready now, and will age well for many years. Worth seeking out.
90

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, with very little emerging from the glass. On the palate it's ample and soft, with cherry plum fruit supported by (very) moderate acidity and smooth sweet tannins. Considering the vintage, which was cool and wet, the degree of ripeness, far into plum, is a bit of a surprise. I would have liked greater depth and more acidity, and while the former might have been difficult the vintage should have provided ample acidity. Much more than I found here.
1 star

Pacenti Franco Canalicchio

Pacenti Franco Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with cherry supported by greenish accents and some spice and also by a degree of sweetness. On the palate it's a bit thinner than I expected, though this is also youth: the fruit is fairly bright berry fruit supported by greenish acidity and by very dry cedary tannins that dry the tongue and flow into a long warm dry finish. With time the tannins will fold in, and if they do completely it will age nicely because it's one of the more acidic 2004 Riserve I've tasted, becoming lacy and ethereal. But that's for the future, and at present it's really not ready. If you like this rather traditional style and have patience, it will be worth waiting for.
2 stars

Pacenti Franco Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is greenish, with cedar and some penetrating chemical accents also from wood. Not much fruit, and one has the impression that the wine was more oaked to make up for vintage deficiencies. On the palate it's ample and quite smooth, with dusky berry fruit supported by bitterness more than acidity, and by very smooth sweet tannins that flow into a rather bitter savory finish.
1 star

Padelletti

Padelletti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with tart berry fruit supported by some greenish cedar and clean spice. Very young, but harmonious and is coming together. On the palate it's bright, with lively cherry fruit supported by fairly bright acidity and tannins that are warm and dry, flowing into a dry finish; it needs another year at least to come together, but is pleasant in a fairly traditional, not overripe key, and will drink very well with grilled meats or roasts in the short term, and age nicely for a decade or more.
2 stars

Palazzo

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with balsamic accents and warmth mingled with sweetish cherry fruit and some menthol; it gives an impression of softness. On the palate it's ample and fairly soft, with moderately intense balsamic cherry fruit supported by clean balsamic acidity and by very smooth sweet tannins that flow into a warm balsamic cherry finish. It's pleasant in a softer traditional key, which is an odd combination, but one that also works fairly well. If you like the style, you will enjoy it.
2 stars

Pian Delle Vigne

Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up some greenish mentholated notes and spice. Not much fruit, but it's still developing. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderately intense cherry plum fruit supported by smooth soft tannins and moderate acidity. I'd have liked greater depth and verve to it.
1 star

Piancornello
(+39) 0577844105

Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is somewhat overripe, with sweet cherry fruit supported by some greenish accents; it's also still developing and has a ways to go. On the palate it's richer than I expected from the nose, with bright cherry fruit supported by graceful berry fruit acidity and tannins that are fairly smooth, and flow into a bright fairly tannic finish that's also rather dry. It needs a year to get its bearings, and will be graceful in a willowy, not too powerful key. But I do think it will display pleasing finesse with time.
2 stars

Pinino

Pinino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, with some berry fruit and greenish accents. Ample and very soft on palate, with delicate cherry fruit. Not overripe, but not too much acidity and the tannins are smooth and retiring.
1 star

Podere Brizio

Podere Brizio - Roberto Bellini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Black almandine with black reflections. Oaky nose with a fair amount of cedar and some spice mingled with sweetness; not much fruit. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderately intense cherry fruit supported by fairly sweet acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean soft finish. I'd have liked greater depth, and brighter acidity.
1 star

Podere La Vigna

Podere La Vigna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with cedar and some greenish accents mingled with berry fruit and some spice. On the palate it's ample and soft, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by moderate berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are quite smooth and ripe, and flow into a clean fairly bright berry fruit finish. Pleasant in a fairly international key, and if you like the style you will enjoy it; I would give the nose a year to come together, because it's still developing, and expect it to age well for 8-10 years.
2 stars

Poggio Antico

Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep pyrope with black reflections. Muted nose, swishing brings up some mentholated berry fruit and slight cedar with underlying spice. On the palate it's ample, and soft, with cherry and forest berry fruit supported by delicate acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly sweet finish. Graceful in a sweetish middle of the road key, though the nose needs a year to catch up with the palate.
2 stars

Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, with some cedar and slight berry fruit and hints of sweetness, it's closed, though more swishing brings up some berry fruit. On the palate it's ample and quite soft, with moderately intense red berry fruit supported by sweet citric acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that are rather evanescent and fade into a lemony finish. It is the child of a weak vintage, but is weak itself, and I would have liked more acidity and more life. The Italian that comes to mind is manca polpa, not enough flesh.
1 star

Poggio dell'Aquila
(+39) 0577848533

Poggio dell'Aquila Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with brownish black reflections and almandine nose. The bouquet is warm and balsamic with some cedar and sweetish accents. Not much fruit. The palate reflects the nose, and it is quite soft, with moderate berry fruit supported by moderate acidity and smooth sweet tannins. Too soft for me.
1 star

San Filippo

San Filippo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Pale almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. Soft sweet bouquet with berry fruit and some mentholated spice, and slight pungency as well. On the palate it's ample and soft, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by sweet smooth tannins, and by fairly bright acidity. Pleasant in a ripe but not overripe key, and will drink nicely in the short term with grilled or roasted meats, though I would have liked more backbone to the tannins, which are to the smooth end of the spectrum.
2 stars

San Polino

San Polino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. Medicinal nose with greenish accents and some cedar mingled with menthol, and some rather pungent cedar. Not much fruit. On the palate it's fairly rich, with cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are smooth and sweet, and flow into a clean rather bitter dry tannic finish. It's fairly direct in a middle of the road key, and needs another year for the nose and the tannins to develop, after which it will age well for a decade or more.
2 stars

San Polo

San Polo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections. The bouquet is candied, with sweet cherry fruit supported by jammy accents and some menthol, also a fair amount of alcohol. On the palate it's rich and soft, with cherry plum fruit supported by moderate acidity and smooth tannins that simply abdicate their duties of support and direction, I would have liked more depth and more power, and also more direction.
1 star

Sassodisole

Sassodisole Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is warm, and balsamic, with some cedary notes and moderate berry fruit acidity, but at present little fruit. Traditional in feel. On the palate it's ample and soft, with balsamic cherry fruit supported by slightly bitter balsamic acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that are very ripe, and flow into a soft balsamic finish. It's traditional in flavor cast, and very soft, and if you like the combination and the style you will enjoy it. Because of its softness it is more a wine to be drunk by the glass than a wine to go with foods.
2 stars

Sesti
(+39) 0577843921

Sesti Phenomena Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, and rather pungent, with cut leaf tobacco and greenish accents mingled with savory spice and sea salt. Quite traditional, and if you like the style pleasant to sniff. On the palate it's full, and softer than I had expected from the nose, with ample cherry fruit supported by sweetness that confers roundness, and by deft balsamic acidity, while the tannins are ripe and quite smooth. Pleasant in a ripe soft traditional key, and if you like the style you will enjoy it.
2 stars

Siro Pacenti

Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly sweet, and slightly balsamic, with cherry fruit supported by dusky graphite shaving bitterness and some spice. On the palate it's fairly rich, though a bit flat, with moderate berry fruit supported by slight acidity and by tannins that have dusky graphite shaving burr, and flow into a fairly bitter finish. It's settled, and I would have liked more acidity; as it stands it lacks verve.
1 star

Solaria

Solaria Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with mentholated berry fruit supported by sweetness and some bitter smoky accents, with hints of anise seed as well. On the palate it's ample, and soft, with delicate sour cherry fruit supported by sour berry fruit acidity that is fairly warm and slightly balsamic, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a long sour berry fruit finish. Pleasant in a soft, graceful, traditional key, and if you like the style you will enjoy it; I would expect it to age nicely for 8-10 years, becoming lacy with time. A problem? I would have liked more upstanding tannins, though those present are quite ripe and quite smooth.
2 stars

Talenti

Talenti Pian di Conte Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up candied cherry fruit mingled with berry fruit jam and some mentholated accents. Needs time. On the palate it's ample and fairly sweet, with cherry fruit supported by clean sour berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bright berry fruit finish. It's middle of the road in key, and I'd have liked slightly brighter acidity, but it will develop nicely over the next couple of years -- give it the time -- and then age well for a decade or more.
2 stars

Talenti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with cherry fruit supported by clean bright berry fruit acidity and some greenish accents that gain depth from berry fruit acidity and hints of sweetness that aren't quite brown sugar but in that direction. On the palate it's fairly rich, with sweet cherry plum fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and only moderate acidity that flow into a clean fresh berry fruit finish. It's much riper than I would have expected a 2005 to be, and more in keeping with a much hotter vintage. If you like the style, which is ample, ripe, smooth, dusky, and soft, you will enjoy it, but you have to like the style.
1 star

Tenuta di Sesta

Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with balsamic accents and spice mingled with sour cherry fruit. Pleasant in a traditional key. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich sour cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity, and by tannins that are flatter and blockier than I might have hoped; it has a flatness to it that makes it feel blocky, while slight graphite shaving bitterness is also distracting. In short, more interesting on nose than palate.
1 star

Tenuta La Fuga

Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Lively black almandine with black reflections. The bouquet is intense, with jammy greenish accents and spice mingled with menthol and a fair amount of sweetness, also some prune. Seems very ripe. On the palate it's ample and very soft, with cherry plum fruit supported by moderately intense cherry acidity, and by tannins that have a slight peppery burr and flow into a warm peppery finish. Big, soft, and quite ripe, and because of its softness and relative sweetness better suited to being drunk by the glass than with foods, other than (perhaps) spicy stews.
1 star

Tenuta Le Potazzine

Tenuta Le Potazzine Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with black reflections and lam rim. The bouquet is moderately intense and still developing, with some berry fruit accents mingled with balsam and some underlying cedar. Not much acidity on the nose, though there is some menthol, while the fruit is berry fruit, with some dried floral accents. On the palate it's ample, and fairly rich, with deft cherry fruit supported by clean sour berry fruit acidity and by very smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean bright berry fruit finish. Pleasant, though the nose needs another year to catch up with the palate, and it will be graceful in a rather willowy key. I would expect it to age 10 years at least, and it's worth seeking out if you like wines that privilege finesse over raw power.
2 stars

Tenuta le Potazzine Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almadine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, and frankly balsamic, with balsamic notes and greenish balsamic acidity supported by savory sea salt and some spice. Not much fruit. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly bright sour cherry fruit supported by moderate acidity and languid tannins that flow into a clean rather languid finish. It's clearly the child of a cooler vintage, but displays a certain brambly grace, and is pleasant to drink. You have to like the style, however.
2 stars

Tenuta Oliveto

Tenuta Oliveto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Impenetrable pyrope with black reflections and dusky cherry rim. The bouquet is powerful and sweet, with jammy prune accents and some menthol supported by abundant alcohol. Big and soft. On the palate it's ample, with rich cherry 0plum fruit supported by brighter than expected berry fruit acidity -- prune and cherry -- and by tannins that are ample, and soft, but do have a peppery burr that flows into a long prune finish. If you like the style it is quite drinkable, more by the glass than with foods, but you have to like the style. If you prefer brighter, tighter wines it won't work for you.
2 stars

Tenuta Vitanza

Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, though swishing brings up some mentholated berry fruit and hints of cedar. Still developing. On the palate it's fairly bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by berry fruit acidity and by tannins that have a warm cedary burr and flow into a clean fairly bright warm tannic finish. It's a bit young, and needs another year for the nose to develop and the tannins to smooth in. This said, it's delicate and fairly light; I think it might become lacy with time but if you prefer wines with greater body and power it won't work as well for you.
2 stars

Tenuta Vitanza Tradizione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black lam with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense with leathery accents and some spice, but the overall impression is one of closedness. On the palate it's ample, with moderate berry fruit supported by some acidity, and by tannins that are very smooth and quite soft. I'd have liked greater intensity and verve; while it's not rally settled it's headed in that direction.
1 star

Terre Nere

Terre Nere Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Almandine with black reflections and brownish almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, and decidedly balsamic with some greenish cedar as well; it's clearly up in the air. On the palate it's ample and fairly soft, with moderately intense cherry fruit supported by balsamic acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly soft finish. I'd have liked more depth and backbone; it's a bit settled, rather like a person with a curved spine.
1 star

Tornesi
(+39) 0577848689

Tornesi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Black almandine with black reflections and lam rim. The bouquet is muted, with some candied cherry fruit and slight balsamic accents, but not much else. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderately rich cherry fruit supported by balsamic acidity and balsam laced tannins that carry into a very warm finish. It's still quite young, and the nose needs a couple of years to develop, within the style it is harmonious, but I found myself wishing the tannins had more verve. It's not quite flat, but not really lively either.
1 star

Uccelliera

Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004

Deep black lam with black reflections. The bouquet is smoky and bitter with spicy savory accents, and leaf tobacco, but not much in the way of fruit. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich berry fruit supported by moderate acidity and smooth sweet tannins that lead into a warm tannic finish. It's very young, and the nose has yet to come together completely; it is at present direct, but will drink well with grilled meats, roasts, or stews, and there is acidity sufficient for it to age, at which point it may do interesting things. In other words, a wine I would give time to.
2 stars

Vasco Sassetti
(+39) 0577835619

Vasco Sassetti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black lam with black reflections. Candied nose, with candied cherry and some dusky notes mingled with alcohol. Not much acidity. On the palate it's ample and quite soft, with cherry plum fruit supported by just enough mineral acidity to provide steerage (now), and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a brief finish with dome hazelnut accents. Big, and smooth, but I found it lacking in direction.
1 star

Ventolaio

Ventolaio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with balsamic notes mingled with sweetness and spice, and some, but not much cherry and forest berry fruit. On the palate it's ample, with soft sour cherry fruit that's more intense than I expected, supported by fairly bright berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean sour cherry finish with tannic underpinning. On the palate it's graceful, in a rather traditional key, with bright acidity that keeps it on its toes and makes it interesting, and I would give it a year for the nose to catch up.
2 stars

Verbena

Verbena Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep brownish almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is greenish, with balsam and cedar mingled with slight barnyard tang, and some menthol as well. On the palate it's ample and soft, with moderate berry fruit supported by languid berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a quick finish.
1 star

Villa Poggio Salvi

Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Lively almandine with black reflections and lam in the rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with sour cherry fruit supported by dusky greenish acidity and by pleasant spice. Still developing, and needs time. On the palate it's ample, and softer than I had expected from the nose, with moderately intense rather flat cherry fruit supported by some berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are ample and cedar laced, flow into a warm tannic finish. It's lacking in verve and oomph, and I would have liked more and brighter acidity and fruit.
1 star

Pertimali

Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
Deep almandine with black reflections and brownish almandine rim. The bouquet is dusky with balsamic accents and savory spice supported by warmth and some dried flowers. Fairly traditional in feel. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich sour cherry fruit supported by clean slightly balsamic acidity and by smooth tannins that have a warm balsamic underpinning and flow into a warm clean finish. It's fairly direct, and also very young; there's something stumbling to it however, and I wonder how it will age.
1 star

Brunello 2005

Agostina Pieri

Agostina Pieri Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, in a cool weather key, with brambles and slight balsam mingled with underbrush and some underlying spice and berry fruit. But it's mostly bramble and coolness at the outset, while as it opens menthol also emerges. On the palate it's ample, and soft, with rich cherry plum fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and moderate acidity that flow into a clean rather sour berry fruit finish. It's very much the child of a cool vintage, though there is a richness to the fruit that makes me wonder if they added a little of something richer (a legal practice). To be quite frank, it's softness is such that it will almost be better by the glass than with foods. I would have liked more acidity and aggressiveness on the palate, which is a bit too settled.
1 star

Il Paradiso di Manfredi
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Il Paradiso di Manfredi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep black almandine with black reflections and lam rim. The bouquet is intense, with considerable balsamic notes mingled with sea salt and some spice, and also hops (of the sort used in making beer) with underlying savory accents. A bit unusual, and this is likely a factor of youth. On the palate it's fairly rich, and oddly sweet, with powerful sunny cherry fruit supported by citric acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly warm soft finish. Unusual, and not what one would expect from a Brunello in a normal vintage, but it does show what can happen when it rains for much of the summer and people do their best to correct matters in the cellars.
1 star

Tenute Silvio Nardi

Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Lively almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is muted, in a greenish key, with spice and some underbrush but not much in the way of fruit. On the palate it's ample and again rather green, with greenish berry fruit supported by brambly acidity and lively greenish tannins that flow into a brambly finish. One can almost feel the rain coming down, but it does display a pleasing grace and considerable vitality. It's not a wine to consider if you want something smooth, or rich, or powerful, but it dose display finesse and is very true to the vintage. I rather enjoyed it, and if you're a thoughtful wine lover -- it's not immediate -- you will find that it has much to say.
2 stars

Lambardi

Lambardi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2005
Deep almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with greenish cut tobacco and some acidity mingled with spice, and slight sweetness. On the palate it's ample and fairly soft, with slight sour cherry fruit supported by moderately intense berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are slightly blocky, and this is a factor of youth. It needs a year to get its bearings and come together, at which point it will be graceful in a lesser vintage key. At present it brings to mind a pretty girl in a frazzled bathrobe, and that is what I record, though I expect the picture will be different in another year.
2 stars

3 comments:

Alessandro Bindocci said...

Hi Kyle. Thanks you for tasting our wines and for your thoughtful considerations. We have reposted them at our blog Montalcino Report. Buon lavoro, Ale

Anonymous said...

You are my Hero! Bravo on the list, even down to the links. This is the best wine review site bar none. Thank you, sir!

Kyle Phillips said...

Anon, Thank You!