After years in the cellar, the plush 2007 Brunello di Montalcinos were unveiled this weekend at the annual Benvenuto Brunello (Welcome Brunello!) 2012 festival in my beloved Montalcino. The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riservas and the 2010 Rosso di Montalcinos were also released to the thirsty throngs of wine aficionados (and not-so aficionados). The early reports are that this shiny crop of Brunellos are another vintage 5 star year and that Brunello has never had two stellar back to back vintages like it has with the 2007 and 2006 releases.
For those of you that are not in the Brunello know, this special wine has been ranked as one of the best wines in the world – not just in Italy. I have been fortunate enough to become acquainted with this amazing wine due to my frequent trips to my much loved hill town of Montalcino in Tuscany. For a few years now, I have rented a little cottage just outside the walls of the village with a sweeping view of the valley of Siena. The little cottage, lovingly called Casavigneto (‘House of the Vines’), sits in the middle of a small Brunello vineyard owned by a lovely Italian named Enzo. The cottage sits just above the rooms where the casks of wine are housed and the slightly fruity smell of the deep burgundy Sangiovese grapes wafts delicately throughout the house. There is nothing quite like the sound of the wind gently rustling the leaves of the vines or the sight of the sun setting over the valley while sitting on the hillside sipping a glass of Brunello listening to the church bells above toll the evening hour. Truly magical.
But I digress. Back to the recent release and a quick primer on the wines of Montalcino….Brunello is born from the sangiovese grape – sangiovese grosso specifically (although the berries range in size from small to medium). The vines have adapted to the region’s specific terroir or location. The specific climate of Montalcino allows the grapes to ripen unlike anywhere else in Tuscany – producing the unforgettable Brunello. Three types of wine are produced – the Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and Rosso di Montalcino. The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino crop was just released to the market along with the 2006 Riservas which age gracefully for another year. The Rosso is required to spend only six months aging in oak and 1 year total aging before release. So there you have it – a quick primer on the wines of Montalcino. Now back to the story at hand…the Benvenuto Brunello 2012.
The early reports from the event are that the 2007 Brunellos are bright, more approachable and fruitier than the 2006 vintage. Both are 5 star vintages with the 2007s being slightly more drinkable at this stage due to their incredible fruit. Comparably the elegant 2006 vintage has better cellar aging potential. The 2007s are also a ‘lighter vintage that the 2006 or 2004, and displays less depth and richness than either’ according to Kyle Phillips over at the ‘About Italian Food’ site. The 2007 crop is being described as gorgeous and plush with notes of chocolate, cherry, blackberry and sweet spice. Yum………
And since it is so very important to taste for myself, I have emailed my wine contact in Montalcino to order some for my very own tasting. So in honor of this newest crop of succulent Brunellos, head out to buy a bottle (they can be pricey so look for a sale if you can) and taste the deep ruby richness of this wonderful wine. Enjoy!