TN: A magnificent 2004 Brunello

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Kent Comley
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TN: A magnificent 2004 Brunello

#1 Post by Kent Comley » May 10th, 2018, 3:12 pm

maybe I am missing something but there is not much banter on the board about Brunello. I like one every now and again and buy a few from better vintages, but it seems to me that they fly under the radar a bit.

Last night we experienced an Antarctic blast, so I fired up the wood oven and cooked a delicious Osso Bucco. Great time to bust open a Brunello. I purchased the 2004 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino soon after attending a dinner where we compared 10 Brunellos from the 2004 vintage and this was my favourite on that night a decade ago.
The cork was nigh on impossible to remove, so so tight, causing the Lagouile waiters friend to crack the glass. Eventually I prized the bothersome bark from its burrow. After congratulating myself on my Herculean strength :) I poured a glass. Deeply tannic, tough, whoa.....wait.
Half an hour later, having warmed from cellar temp (14C) to room temp it emerged. Still a dark satsuma plum with some bricking at the edges, aromatically it is all dark fruits with some subtle herbal and savoury notes. The palate is powerful, all dark and sooty, the tannins nicely resolved. I would say that it is to my palate just entering prime time, but will hold for a long time. With the simple, rustic Osso Bucco and the hail lashing the window panes, it was a Brunello to remember.
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Andrew Demaree
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#2 Post by Andrew Demaree » May 10th, 2018, 3:25 pm

Sounds like a great night!

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#3 Post by Mattstolz » May 10th, 2018, 3:26 pm

brunello is definitely one of my favorites. I agree not as much chatter as you'd maybe expect, but theres a good amount every now and again

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Glenn L e v i n e
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#4 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » May 10th, 2018, 3:38 pm

Hail, Osso Bucco, & BdM FTW!
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Kent Comley
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#5 Post by Kent Comley » May 10th, 2018, 3:53 pm

I believe that FTW has two meanings..... both quite apt in this situation.

Matt, how do you rate the 2004 vintage for Brunello?
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#6 Post by Joshua Kates » May 10th, 2018, 4:29 pm

Not Matt,

But I really like the '04 vintage in both Brunello and Barolo. The former, I think, are just starting to come around now, and are indeed magnificent, as you describe, Kent. My most recent was an Il Poggione, which really sang after a little hour, unlike a showing a few years back. (Btw, have not had a Barolo from '04 that I have not enjoyed--great balance, classic, not the wildness of the '01, which some day may be great, but at least mine are not now.)

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#7 Post by PHuff » May 10th, 2018, 5:12 pm

Great story Kent, thanks for posting.....

The 2006 Fuligni is also a great Brunello. I didn't find the 06 as dark and deep as your description of the 04, to me it was more feminine and delicate, but still with great fruit and mouthfeel. It could be a vintage thing.......either way, Fuligni makes some great Brunello!
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#8 Post by PaulMills » May 10th, 2018, 5:18 pm

That is a great note. I have just recently started enjoying Brunello and have been buying a few to taste now and a few to hold. I have a 2013 Fuligini I want to try now, but I know it is way too young.

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#9 Post by Dave English » May 10th, 2018, 5:19 pm

Never heard of a cork being so tight the glass cracks. Must have been under some serious pressure.

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Kent Comley
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#10 Post by Kent Comley » May 10th, 2018, 5:36 pm

Dave, was quite a hard cork, but ridiculously difficult to remove. I don't know how many newtons of force were required but I was on the limit.....there was a real risk that the neck of the bottle would shatter.
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#11 Post by Kirk.Grant » May 10th, 2018, 5:50 pm

Kent, I drink & enjoy BdM from time to time and often find it’s also under the radar. One good thing about that is that I can buy 2001’s off the shelf in stores that have a great cellar selection for under $100.
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#12 Post by Tim Heaton » May 10th, 2018, 6:02 pm

PaulMills wrote:That is a great note. I have just recently started enjoying Brunello and have been buying a few to taste now and a few to hold. I have a 2013 Fuligini I want to try now, but I know it is way too young.
I opened one for a friend two nights ago in Bordeaux, it was absolutely singing at the one hour mark...and I bought three more the next morning
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#13 Post by PaulMills » May 10th, 2018, 7:11 pm

Tim Heaton wrote:
PaulMills wrote:That is a great note. I have just recently started enjoying Brunello and have been buying a few to taste now and a few to hold. I have a 2013 Fuligini I want to try now, but I know it is way too young.
I opened one for a friend two nights ago in Bordeaux, it was absolutely singing at the one hour mark...and I bought three more the next morning

Luckily I have three, but you make me want to add to that.

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#14 Post by Rory K. » May 10th, 2018, 7:32 pm

Fuligni is a wonderful traditionalist producer. I think Brunello has yet to recover from Brunellogate and a more general identity crisis, but there are plenty of great producers making terrific wine at reasonable prices right now, and it's never been better IMHO. International collectors still shy away from it unfortunately.
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#15 Post by Peter Papay » May 11th, 2018, 4:08 am

I bet you will hear a lot more chatter once the 2010's mature and be ready. It will however take some time though. In the meanwhile 01, 04 drinking nicely and 06 and 07 are coming around.

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#16 Post by Bob Hughes » May 11th, 2018, 4:18 am

Based on recent bottles, the '99 vintage is also drinking great right now. I have high hopes for both '06 and '10.

In terms of "lesser vintages", I've got a 2008 Pian 'dell Orino on tap for dinner tonight.

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#17 Post by John Kight » May 11th, 2018, 8:03 am

I recently also discovered how well the 2004 Fuligni was drinking. As a result, I've drank through 8 of my 10 bottles just in the past 3-4 months. I've actually been surprised by how advanced the wine is at this stage...nothing problematic (as the wine is delicious and expressive), just a bit more bricking and more advanced than I would have expected. By comparison, the 2006 is still quite primary (and extremely promising). I'm wondering if the 2004 was perhaps a bit riper to begin with (although neither 2004 nor 2006 was known as an excessively warm vintage).

I also have a few bottles of the 2004 Fuligni Reserva, but haven't tried one in about 4-5 years....I hope it's developing just as well!

One of the posts above refers to Fuligni as a "traditional" producer, but in my view this wine has always been more on the modernist side of things (although not extremely so). Unlike Barolo (where I really don't like to taste any oak), I actually prefer Brunello in the middle (to slightly modern) style. I certainly want Sangiovese character, but I like the wines with a bit denser fruit and some spice from Slavonian oak, which I think works great with the tart cherry fruit of Sangiovese. For reference Uccelliera is another Brunello I love, similar to Fuligni, but probably even MORE on the modern side (and probably pushing the edge in that regard--where any more density or darkness would begin to impinge on the Sangio character).

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#18 Post by Rory K. » May 11th, 2018, 9:27 am

John Kight wrote: One of the posts above refers to Fuligni as a "traditional" producer, but in my view this wine has always been more on the modernist side of things (although not extremely so). Unlike Barolo (where I really don't like to taste any oak), I actually prefer Brunello in the middle (to slightly modern) style. I certainly want Sangiovese character, but I like the wines with a bit denser fruit and some spice from Slavonian oak, which I think works great with the tart cherry fruit of Sangiovese. For reference Uccelliera is another Brunello I love, similar to Fuligni, but probably even MORE on the modern side (and probably pushing the edge in that regard--where any more density or darkness would begin to impinge on the Sangio character).
Slavonian oak is on the more neutral side I believe, less added spice flavor than either French or Hungarian, though I believe Fuligni still ages a small percentage in French oak Tonneaux. I like Fuligni for it's more medium bodied style.
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#19 Post by M. Chacchia » May 11th, 2018, 10:26 am

Kent,
Excellent vintage and producer. Glad to hear your bottle was showing well. I think 2004 is right up there with 2006 and just behind 2010 for Brunelli produced in the last 17 years. I enjoyed a bottle of 2004 La Serena, an Uccelliera, as well as an Il Castellare within the last year and all were really in a good spot. I don't have many '04's left, but I would recommend drinking now for most producers from the vintage- which doesn't mean to drink-up now, just feel comfortable opening and enjoying now.
Cheers
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#20 Post by M. Chacchia » May 11th, 2018, 10:29 am

Also, you may want to explore some 2015 Rossos as I have found many to be delicious. Not as complex as Brunello of course, but very good and very promising for the 2015 Brunello vintage.
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#21 Post by Craig G » May 15th, 2018, 7:00 pm

Kent Comley wrote:I believe that FTW has two meanings..... both quite apt in this situation.
”Four and twenty weasels?”
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#22 Post by Leonard Maran » May 16th, 2018, 1:40 am

This may have nothing to do with opening this bottle, but I have found that some Italian bottles have a smaller aperture. No Ah So for Italian wines for me.

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#23 Post by Jürgen Steinke » May 16th, 2018, 2:11 am

Rory,

no – Slavonian oak isn't less flavorful. Its different. Thats all. I attended an oak seminar held by Taransaud where we compared the same wine aged in different sorts of oak and from different sizes of barrels. That was very educational. All types of oak taste different. The biggest difference is the quality of the oak (how long stored so the green tannins are washed out) and how big the barrel. Brunelli doesn't rest in Barrique normally but in rather large foudres. Therefore the oak influence is not as strong as it is in Bordeaux i.e.

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#24 Post by Laurent Gibet » May 16th, 2018, 2:31 am

I recently successfully tasted Fuligni in a huge Brunello tasting (october 2017)

Rosso di Montalcino : Fuligni “Ginestreto” 2014
(100% Sangiovese Grosso)
A l’ouverture : DS15 - PR15 - AA14,5 - NH16
Un Rosso assez savoureux, digeste, rafraîchissant (griotte, fleurs, menthol, épices), signé d’une certaine sensibilité malgré son manque actuel de relâchement, avec quelques amers qui signent sa finale.
Après 5 heures d’aération : DS15,5 - LG16 - CDC15,5 - MS16 - FM1515.


Brunello di Montalcino : Fuligni 2012
(100% Sangiovese Grosso)
A l’ouverture : DS16,5/17 - PR17 - AA17,5/18 - NH18
Profil éthéré auquel nous sommes très sensibles… avec des parfums aboutis (fruits mûrs, presque exotiques, fleurs séchées, épices, orange sanguine, zestes), un corps gracieux, salivant, aux tanins fins conduisant une douceur subtile ; comme un grenache, la fraîcheur en plus.
Après 5 heures d’aération : DS16,5 - LG16,5/17 - CDC16,5 - MS17,5 - FM17
www.invinoveritastoulouse.fr

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#25 Post by Rory K. » May 16th, 2018, 7:33 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:Rory,

no – Slavonian oak isn't less flavorful. Its different. Thats all. I attended an oak seminar held by Taransaud where we compared the same wine aged in different sorts of oak and from different sizes of barrels. That was very educational. All types of oak taste different. The biggest difference is the quality of the oak (how long stored so the green tannins are washed out) and how big the barrel. Brunelli doesn't rest in Barrique normally but in rather large foudres. Therefore the oak influence is not as strong as it is in Bordeaux i.e.
Well perhaps because it is less often toasted and typically in larger formats that we always see Slavonian Oak described as neutral by winemakers. As for barrique, I'm not sure what you are responding too. I've traveled and tasted quite a bit in Montalcino and while they certainly aren't traditional, some producers do use smaller French barrels, I don't like it but it happens. Fuligni is one of many who have (So I've been told) gradually reduced the % of smaller French oak barrels in their program in the past decade, though it was never over the top I felt.
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#26 Post by Rory K. » May 16th, 2018, 7:40 am

PHuff wrote:Great story Kent, thanks for posting.....

The 2006 Fuligni is also a great Brunello. I didn't find the 06 as dark and deep as your description of the 04, to me it was more feminine and delicate, but still with great fruit and mouthfeel. It could be a vintage thing.......either way, Fuligni makes some great Brunello!

Wine Advocate says 06 was the first that Fuligni reduced the french oak down to 25%, which could partly explain it.
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#27 Post by John Kight » May 16th, 2018, 12:15 pm

To clarify regarding my "oak" preferences in Brunello, regardless of whether we're talking about Slavonian, French, etc., I enjoy the spicy cedar notes from oak in Brunello (which I presumed were Slavonian characteristics only because I had understood that was the predominant oak used in Brunello). I really hate chocolate, vanilla and/or coconut layered on top of Sangiovese.

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#28 Post by Kent Comley » May 19th, 2018, 1:06 am

Didn't see this as oaky at all. Just well judged from start to finish. In my past life worked in a winery where we used a bit of Slovenian oak. It is far more subtle than American and could be mistaken for some French Oak. Due to its price is more widely used than back labels indicate.
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