According to Brunello Producers and the President of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Patrizio Cencioni (above, second from right), the 2004 vintage is “exceptional” and is expected to rival the famed 1995 and 1997 vintages. At a press conference in New York Tuesday, Cencioni noted that the harvest lasted until October 20 for the first time in over 10 years. This prolonged harvest allowed the grapes to reach perfect ripeness with mature polyphenols. The vintage, which was released in January, was awarded the highest rating of 5 stars. The wines are said to be very well balanced, with great color, structure and good alcoholic content thanks to ripe polyphenols. The wines are persistent on the palate and are expected to have considerable longevity.
During the press conference, part of Vino 2009, Italian Wine Week in New York, Cencioni also spoke about the other three wines from the Montalcino area. In addition to Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Moscadello di Montalcino DOC and Sant’Antimo DOC can be produced in Montalcino. Moscadello, made from the Moscato grape, is an ancient traditional wine from the area which is having a renaissance of sorts thanks to the efforts of a few key producers in Montalcino.
In terms of production capacity, Montalcino produces 7 million bottles of Brunello di Montalcino, 4.5 million bottles of Rosso di Montalcino, 600,000 bottles of Sant’Antimo and 80,000 bottles of Moscadello on a yearly basis. In response to a question by VinoWire, Cencioni said there were no plans to expand the territory.
Cencioni was quite upfront about the troubles, widely reported on VinoWire which impacted Montalcino and Brunello in 2008 regarding the alleged failure of certain producers to comply with traditional winemaking legislation for Brunello., i.e., that only Sangiovese can be used. He noted that the Consorzio, in a meeting on October 27, 2008, reaffirmed that Brunello di Montalcino can only be made from Sangiovese. Some producers had called for the inclusion of other grape varieties such as Merlot but they were outvoted. Cencioni noted that there has been considered debate about the issue but seemed to consider the matter definitively closed. Cencioni said that the Consorzio has not received any direct official information from the Italian legal authorities regarding the failure of individuals to comply with the rules for making Brunello.
He noted that the consortium is looking at new technologies which will be able to detect what grapes are in the wines based on an analysis of the anthocyanins or coloring substances. Sangiovese has very particular anthocyanins and therefore is extremely recognizable using these new techniques. Cencioni hoped that after a two to three year experimental phase, this new methodology would lead to practical applications and give the Consorzio a further tool for quality control.