Benvenuto Brunello: 2003 Brunello di Montalcino Disappoints while 2006 Rosso Plays a Different Tune.

VinoWire’s Franco Ziliani attended the February 22-25 Benvenuto Brunello tasting in Montalcino.

With 4.5 million bottles on the market in a wide variety of styles and prices (ranging from 4 to 10 Euros ex-cellar), the 2006 Rosso di Montalcino proved the better wine at Benvenuto Brunello this year. Even the talented enologists working in Montalcino couldn’t perform miracles with the limited, imbalanced 2003 vintage of Brunello — which remarkably has been called a “four-star” vintage by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino. And it’s not a matter of aging or harmony that has yet to develop in bottle.

What was it that I found unconvincing the in the 2003 Brunello? The overwhelming majority of wines I tasted lacked the majesty, complexity, and character that make Brunello — when it is at its best — one of the most appealing wines in the world today. There were simply too many wines that I would call “I’d like to but I really can’t,” wines that appeared to have been topped off with 2004 and 2005 in an attempt to freshen up the 2003 vintage, which tended to be tired, cooked, overripe. Topping off with younger wine is allowed in the appellation (even though it remains a questionable practice) and in this case it merely made an imbalanced vintage more imbalanced. Many of the wines lacked cohesiveness and they showed excessive ripe fruit and jammy fruit, green tannins, too much wood and toastiness.

There were some exceptions (see below) but the 2006 Rosso played an entirely different tune, with beautiful aromatics, freshness, and fruity fleshiness and structure.

The following were the best 2006 Rossos that I tasted: Il Colle (which received a standing ovation), Lisini, Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto, Pinino, Sesta di Sopra, Uccelliera, Fuligni, Lambardi, Capanna, Brunelli, Villa a Tolli, Quercecchio, Sesta di Sopra, Argiano, Col d’Orcia, Siro Pacenti, Abbadia Ardenga, Campogiovanni, Mastrojanni, Il Marroneto, Brunelli, Terre Nere, Tenute Nardi, and Il Poggione.

My picks for 2003 Brunello: Il Colle (a winery that has emerged as one of the top producers of Brunello, perhaps the only “5-star” wine I tasted), Tenuta Le Potazzine, Villa a Tolli, Le Gode, Poggio dell’Aquila, Uccelliera, Col d’Orcia, Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse di Sotto, Capanna, Pinino, Pecci Celestino, Citille di Sopra, ed in misura minore Poggio Antico, Tenuta di Sesta, Il Marroneto, Innocenti, Vasco Sassetti, Abbadia Argenga, Le Macioche, and Sesta di Sopra.

The 2004 vintage will be a great one for Brunello di Montalcino. As we wait for its release next year, we can enjoy the 2006 Rosso in the meantime with its nice balance of tannin and fresh acidity, its beautiful nose and juiciness in the mouth.

–Franco Ziliani

Originally reported by AIS.


5 thoughts on “Benvenuto Brunello: 2003 Brunello di Montalcino Disappoints while 2006 Rosso Plays a Different Tune.

  1. Interesting. I recently tasted the 2003 Rosso di Montalcino Sassello and found it to be excellent and drinking really well right now–not heavy or overripe, despite the vintage–it’s a wonderfully drinkable wine for meat and cheese dishes.

  2. I have tasted quite a few of the 2003 Rosso’s with mixed results. A few have been very good while others have not been much better than cheap Chianti. It looks like the 2003 Brunellos will be hit or miss. Pehaps knowing more about particular vineyards (location, exposure, etc) will be important in selecting the better 2003’s.

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