Guys…typing this from the back seat of a car doing 90mph (Brian’s driving!) so please bear with me if this is messy
OK…so here I am checking in from Tuscany on our 2nd day of tasting. Today’s tasting was a highly anticipated portion of my trip as it was going to focus on the 2006 Brunello Riservas. Based on the quality of all the regular 2006 Brunellos that we have tasted in the last year, and the HUGE consumer response with thousands of cases sold, one did not have to me a master sommelier to know the Riservas were going to be very exciting.
Tasting wine at 10:00 in the morning is never easy, not to mention having to work your way through 44 Riservas. Thankfully Brian and I were fully caffeinated with some delicious Italian coffee and ready to go.
Much like the 2007 Brunello tasting everything was tasted completely blind…it really is the best way to do it so you are focusing on what’s in the bottle…not outside the bottle.
WOWSERS…I can tell you that these wines have tannin!!! BIG and STRUCTURED!! I was expecting to only like about 1/2 of the wines as I have seen a wide variation in this category of wine in the past as it has seemed to be a loose use of the term “Riserva”.
Of the 44 we tasted we really liked close to 30. And when I say liked…I mean REALLY REALLY liked. These wines, besides being big and structured, have great levels of concentration, mine reality and length. Clearly the better wines will be built to age for a long time but they showed this delicious intensity that made them irresistible and undeniable.
Bottom line…I’m a buyer!!!!
After a nice bowl of pasta (sorry, had to get that in ) Brian and I have had a chance to review our notes…and there were a lot of stars and checks next to our tasting notes.
As I am summing up the Riserva tasting from my iPad while driving in the car the detailed highlights will need to come next week.
I can tell you that I am SUPER ENERGIZED after these two days of tastings and can’t wait to dig in to these two vintages.
Stay tuned for more from Italy
Day 1 of our “Brunello Journey” is officially in the books…and what a day it was. Anyone who has taken that overnight flight can attest your first day on the ground in Italy can be a challenge, not to mention if it involves going straight from the airport into an organized tasting of 83 new-release Brunellos.
That’s right….83!! (I guess if you are going to do it….you should REALLY do it)
As most of you have heard from me already, the new vintages coming from Montalcino (2007 & 2006 Riserva) are some of the most exciting new releases that I have ever had the opportunity to purchase in my 18 years as the Italian buyer here at the store. When we were invited to this private tasting and knew we would have a chance to get an overall comprehensive view of the two vintages the answer was simple….YES YES YES!!!
The “first 83” wines were the 2007 Brunello Di Montalcino’s. All the wines were prepared and served to us blind in flights of 4 wines at a time, with a total of 21 flights. (If you ever want to evaluate the wine for the wine….do it BLIND)
When the list was revealed to us after 6 ½ hours of tasting (That’s right….we landed, drove 2 ½ hours and then powered through a 6 ½ hour tasting) there were some real surprises. I will get more detailed notes when home with a list of highlights. What I can tell you this morning is that 2007 will be a VERY user-friendly vintage. As anticipated, these wines remind me very much of the 1997 vintage in their up-front delicious nature. What will make them so special coming on the heels of the 2006’s is that 2006 has more structure and minerality (Built for long term ageing) and the 2007’s have a wonderful glycerol sweetness and intensity of fruit that truly make you understand the potential of Sangiovese from this region of the world.
Day 2 today will feature a comprehensive tasting of the 2006 Brunello Di Montalcino Riservas…44 of them to be precise….WOO-HOO!! Brian and I will be sure to eat our WHEATIES this morning as I anticipate these being BIG wines, but very exciting at the same time.
Stay tuned as we continue to taste and report back from Italy (As internet connections permit!!).
It’s hard work….but someone’s gotta get it done for all the Italian aficionados out there.
Signing off from Tuscany.