How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

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Michael S. Monie
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How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#1 Post by Michael S. Monie » December 3rd, 2018, 2:35 pm

I've heard Brunellos are most often best enjoyed within their first decade of life. I went pretty long on 2010's from reliable producers and although I intend to check in with them from time to time, I'm wondering if these wines will still be desirable at age 20. Any thoughts on the subject? Thanks.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#2 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » December 3rd, 2018, 3:14 pm

mmmmmm ... just last week I purchased a 23 yo bottle and a 25 yo bottle. I sure hope what you've heard doesn't apply to me!
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#3 Post by Robert Broder » December 3rd, 2018, 3:23 pm

Curious myself. Bringing 2 bottles of 2001 Biondi-Santi Reservas to our annual holiday lunch this week for a large group of experienced tasters. Will report back.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#4 Post by Jeremy Holmes » December 3rd, 2018, 3:25 pm

Michael,

I have had quite a few at 30,40 and 50 years of age, including:

1980 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino
1968 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
1970 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
1979 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino
1979 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura

Each of the above were terrific, with true tertiary complexity.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#5 Post by Marcus Dean » December 3rd, 2018, 3:26 pm

I find I enjoy them the most at around 20 years of age

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#6 Post by Justin S » December 3rd, 2018, 3:35 pm

A few months ago, I had a bottle of 2005 Ucceliera (so a "poor" vintage). It was drinking really great and didn't taste "old." Would it last another 7 years to make its 20th? Don't know, but it would make it's 15th quite easily.

While some wines are going to last longer than others depending on the winery's style and the vintage, I'm not going to be opening any of my 2010 Bruenllos before 2020.

Which of your wines are you concerned about?
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#7 Post by Michael S. Monie » December 3rd, 2018, 3:44 pm

Jeremy: very encouraging. Thanks for the response.
Justin: the 3 producers I have the most of are: Il Poggione, Fuligni, and Costanti.
I have the opportunity to reload on the 2010 Il Poggione and Fuligni at attractive prices and wanted to have an idea that the wines wouldn't decline before I get to drink them.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#8 Post by Eric Ifune » December 3rd, 2018, 3:48 pm

At one time, Brunello had the reputation for needing lots of age. Picked early with little tannin management and kept in cask a long time required long aging. I still have a couple 1975.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#9 Post by Keith A k e r s » December 3rd, 2018, 3:58 pm

I have a hard time understanding who would make such a claim that Brunellos are best within a decade of their life. This may be true for a lower-end producers, but even then I have felt that such wines have benefited from extra age. There are plenty of 95s right now that are beautiful and I've had a fair amount of 01s that feel like there are another 15+ years left in the tank.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#10 Post by Ron Slye » December 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm

We have had some 1997s recently. One was pruney -- I think just made in a modern style and thus not aging well. All of the others were very good to excellent -- some clearly with more time ahead of them. I am less familiar with more modern vintages, but to say that Brunellos don't age well is not an accurate statement going by my experience.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#11 Post by Jonathan H » December 3rd, 2018, 4:49 pm

I have always subscribed to the thought that I should always give my Brunello's at least 10 years of age. Everything I have read, along with some personal experience, points to the fact that the 1997's are drinking really well now and have only started drinking really well within the last ~5years? Maybe it is a little different with more modern producers like Casanova di Neri? I popped a 2004 Tenuta Nuova in 2017 and it was definitely not in a good spot. I imagine it needs another 3-5 years. Anybody have experience with these wines?
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#12 Post by Dennis Atick » December 3rd, 2018, 5:10 pm

I will admit that Brunello is one of my wine blind spots, and I have no dog in the fight, but this fairly recent thread made some points against
https://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/v ... s#p2587345
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#13 Post by Mattstolz » December 3rd, 2018, 5:45 pm

depends a ton on the producer for sure, the ones you've got I would bet on to last a long time. I have an '88 Biondi Santi Im holding for a big Bday and have few doubts that the right bottle of Biondi could last much longer than 50 years

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#14 Post by Joe S. » December 3rd, 2018, 6:03 pm

I am drinking 1997, 2001, and 2004 now and they are all in a pretty good place. The '01 and '04 might not be at their peak yet. Good Brunello can definitely go 20+ yrs....
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#15 Post by Tim Heaton » December 3rd, 2018, 6:19 pm

I've had many dozen Brunello wines going back to 60s-80s in the past decade; can only remember one or two that were tired. A 1986 Caprilli that was purchased on release at the winery, and consumed recently was very fine. Fully mature, but satisfying on many levels. Fwiw, the wine never left Italia. Yes, they can age; non-riserva seem to do just as well. Naturally, the producer matters most.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#16 Post by Jeff Bloom » December 3rd, 2018, 6:19 pm

Definitely depends on the producer. I recently participated in a Biondi-Santi Riserva vertical tasting back to 1983 and the '83 was singing, while a 2004 was still way too young.

Your Il Poggione and Costanti have a long way to go (I have some of each and don't intend to touch them for 7 years or so, but I'm taking my age into account or I otherwise could wait longer). The Fuligni needs time as well, but in my experience less than Il Poggione or Costanti.

Personally I'm just starting to drink some of my "earlier drinking" 2006s.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#17 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » December 3rd, 2018, 6:21 pm

I've not had a lot, but Soldera and Biondi Santi Riservas at 20-30 years old are fantastic and in no way "old"
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#18 Post by Ron Slye » December 3rd, 2018, 6:26 pm

Jonathan H wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 4:49 pm
I have always subscribed to the thought that I should always give my Brunello's at least 10 years of age. Everything I have read, along with some personal experience, points to the fact that the 1997's are drinking really well now and have only started drinking really well within the last ~5years? Maybe it is a little different with more modern producers like Casanova di Neri? I popped a 2004 Tenuta Nuova in 2017 and it was definitely not in a good spot. I imagine it needs another 3-5 years. Anybody have experience with these wines?
Yeah the 97 Neri was okay, but no where near as great as some of the others.
Pietranera was the one that seemed stewed and off.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#19 Post by R. Frankel » December 3rd, 2018, 6:51 pm

I’ve really enjoyed BdMs in the 10-20 year range. Haven’t had any much older than that. At 10 they’re still youthful and show some tannin but have some development. At 20 they’re softer and show a lot more secondary notes. All go well with rich food. Il Poggione seems a longer developer, and Pacenti and Fuligni perhaps not as long. I’ve drank up all my ‘97s and ‘01s at this point, still have a few more ‘04s. Can imagine acquiring more ‘04, ‘06, and ‘07 for near term consumption. I haven’t touched my ‘10s yet.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#20 Post by James Billy » December 3rd, 2018, 7:51 pm

2009 Il Poggiones are supposed to be nearing some kind of maturity according to CT, but 2010s are nowhere near.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#21 Post by Subu Ramachandran » December 3rd, 2018, 8:15 pm

Never found these to be at peak, i.e. showing some secondary characteristics. Even with 15-20 yrs, again my sample size is too small, but would to learn more about the maturity profiles of these.

Perhaps Brunello as a region is relatively new with many different clones and regions each with different characteristics that we are only now beginning to learn.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#22 Post by Larry Link » December 3rd, 2018, 8:36 pm

Over the last 12 years I’ve gone thru 4 cases of Brunello primarily from 97, 99, 01, 04 and 10. I’m holding an equal amount for longer term aging. Producers are Fuligni, Il Poggione, Casanova di Neri, and Siri Pacenti among others. I believe a good Brunello needs at least 12 years to start showing much besides the youthful astringent tannins. Most should have no issues going 20 years and showing better than in their youth. My opinion of course.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#23 Post by D Scott » December 3rd, 2018, 10:05 pm

I always lament the lack of Brunello discussion - so here we go ...

Fully agree with Tim Heaton ... (Tim - what happened to your blog? I really enjoyed it)

Some of them age very well indeed - certainly beyond the 20-30 year mark; have had 75s, 81s, 88s, 93s, 95s to name a few 20+ year vintages that have been outstanding. Many ‘99s and ‘01s have been very enjoyable recently as well.

‘97 is a tricky vintage and should be measured accordingly ... some producers lost control of the heat.

I think they’re wonderful at the ~20ish year mark and develop significantly more complexity than they have at say the 10 year mark, though I enjoy them younger as well.

Michael, to your question - I have had several bottles of the 1999 Costanti and the 2001 Fuligni which have developed beautifully. No worries on holding recent vintages - I have been a buyer.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#24 Post by brodie thomson » December 3rd, 2018, 10:22 pm

Coincidently I opened the 1999 La Fiorita normale last night. It was really lovely and right in the zone. 19 years and going strong.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#25 Post by IlkkaL » December 3rd, 2018, 10:55 pm

1975 Il Poggione normale was quite amazing a couple of years ago - definitely fully mature aromatically but incredibly powerful, tannic and acidic. Then again I've had many young Brunellos from lesser producers where it would have been very difficult to project in any way a similar life span but if you have 2001s or 2004s from good, traditional producers I would not hesitate to forget them in the cellar for a decade or two still. Of course it is surely again a question of what phase of maturity your palate prefers. Personally I believe that what is great about Brunello is its capability to age and you really cannot experience any of that during the first ten years of a wine's life.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#26 Post by Claus Jeppesen » December 4th, 2018, 3:31 am

Michael S. Monie wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 2:35 pm
I've heard Brunellos are most often best enjoyed within their first decade of life. I went pretty long on 2010's from reliable producers and although I intend to check in with them from time to time, I'm wondering if these wines will still be desirable at age 20. Any thoughts on the subject? Thanks.
I´ve heard that Barolo is best after an hour on the radiator end with a spoonfull of sugar in... champagne.gif
The best Brunellli are great also after 25-45 years. 1975´s e.g. Poggione are extremely delicious now, as mentioned above
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#27 Post by Henry Kiichli » December 4th, 2018, 3:33 am

Some TNs

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=148060&p=2431199#p2431199

The 77 Biondi Santi Riserva was stunning
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#28 Post by Claus Jeppesen » December 4th, 2018, 3:36 am

Henry Kiichli wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 3:33 am
Some TNs

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=148060&p=2431199#p2431199

The 77 Biondi Santi Riserva was stunning
Yes, even 1977 (a difficult vintage in the rest of Europe) Brunelli are delicious. Also Montevertine
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#29 Post by Kirk.Grant » December 4th, 2018, 4:28 am

Robert Broder wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 3:23 pm
Curious myself. Bringing 2 bottles of 2001 Biondi-Santi Reservas to our annual holiday lunch this week for a large group of experienced tasters. Will report back.
I would imagine those are way...way too young at this point. I’m still sitting on their 2001 Anatta because all reports are that it needs another decade+. It will be interesting to hear how your experience goes though.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#30 Post by Claus Jeppesen » December 4th, 2018, 5:03 am

Kirk.Grant wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 4:28 am
Robert Broder wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 3:23 pm
Curious myself. Bringing 2 bottles of 2001 Biondi-Santi Reservas to our annual holiday lunch this week for a large group of experienced tasters. Will report back.
I would imagine those are way...way too young at this point. I’m still sitting on their 2001 Anatta because all reports are that it needs another decade+. It will be interesting to hear how your experience goes though.
2001 is tough. I agree with at least another decade
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#31 Post by Rory K. » December 4th, 2018, 10:04 am

Certainly the best have a mammoth aging curve, but even the average modern day Brunello annata for me requires a minimum of a decade. I am very surprised anyone ever told you the opposite. Brunello does suffer from tremendous variability but the number I've tried that needed to be consumed that young is pretty low.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#32 Post by Markus S » December 4th, 2018, 10:53 am

Ron Slye wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm
We have had some 1997s recently. One was pruney -- I think just made in a modern style and thus not aging well. All of the others were very good to excellent -- some clearly with more time ahead of them. I am less familiar with more modern vintages, but to say that Brunellos don't age well is not an accurate statement going by my experience.
97 was a ripe year, so some will show the roast. I think it silly to say to drink up by the time these are 10 years of age, since they come to market with at least 4 already. Saying to drink them up within 6 years of them being purchased is the mark of a fool. I'd venture around 15 years after vintage and plus to start enjoying them.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#33 Post by Mike Grammer » December 4th, 2018, 10:56 am

My recent experience would bend my thinking to no touchee until 8 years minimum. I'll add a sampling of notes from the last couple years, in part because I had taken note of my treatment of many of these:

January 2017:

2010 La Togata dei Togati Brunello

This took a little bit to unwind, about 2 hours, but was quite pretty when it did. Florals are added to a currant and leather showing on the nose. Palate has solid fruit and the tannins are already lovely and luminous here. Another very nice example of a vintage I love to pieces. This really came out to play the next day at brunch, but was perhaps done by the time the 3rd rolled around

2008 Lazzeretti Brunello

Opened this after picking it up on the recommendation of friend and Vintages consultant Michael. He wasn't wrong about this one. On opening, cedar and sandalwood notes mix with dark, dark plum and berry fruit in bouquet. And there's plenty of grip and almost flashy power on the tongue. It does settle in over the course of the night and the next day, but by the 3rd had picked up even more verve and power. Quite a showing.

2010 Argiano Brunello Riserva

This saw a decant for an entire day. The nose on opening was swoonful--full of gorgeous, full red fruit, touches of lilac and great array of baking spices. Later, darker fruit makes its mark along with some cured cedar and earth notes, a lot going on. This is just grand to taste---painfully young still but oh, what fantastic promise. I reiterate from my one taste at Benevenuto Brunello last spring that this may end up being the first red wine that reaches perfection for me. My next bottle is slated for WineFest V in 2020


February 2017

2010 San Polo Brunello di Montalcino

Needed the 3 hour decant, opens up with plenty of saddle leather, bits of coffee-mocha and black cherry. Delish--cured meat around cherry and spices.


August 2017

2010 Campogiovanno Brunello di Montalcino

I slow-oxed this for a full day and decanted it for about 1.5 hours. And it is singing a red fruit and cocoa song in the sniffer and on the tongue. That said, it checks in at 14.5% and is still a wild child---more so than any other 2010 I've yet had. I will keep my other bottle but leave it to sleep for some years. Also saved off some of this and will check on it tonight or tomorrow...


...the Brunello today is still very much on the showy, big and sweeter side

Oct 2017, included because it's a note on Costanti

2012 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino

Wanted to try a 12, I picked this up to share. Likeable red fruit and shaves of sweetmeats. To taste, it is quite accessible and has some velvet to go with exuberant red fruit. But both Berto and I prefer the true classicism of the 2010s and I'm not sure how long-lived this wine will be. Still, quite enjoyable and flexible with food


Finishing with 2 notes on Valdicava, one from Oct 2017 and one from Feb 2018

2001 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino

When Sherri (Shapiro) gave me some choices, I asked for some Italian. This was some bring. Pop and pour, fun little scent of walnut paste behind chickoree, currant and raspberry. This is splendid to taste. It just washes through your mouth and has a lovely Christmascake sidebar. Very friendly with my coq au vin as well. Just a study in harmony and effect. WOTN...

...the leftover 2001 Valdicava Brunello was even more memorable than the night before

‎1997 Valdicava Brunello

Really delish, has a lovely red fruit personality with plenty of freshness and life.


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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#34 Post by Kelly Flynn » December 7th, 2018, 10:23 am

I wonder what effect "the merlot years" had on the longevity of that range of vintages?

Joking aside, on average I give them ten years and plan to drink them within 20-25. There are exceptions, of course. Not long ago I had a wonderful 1979 Argiano Riserva. I operate under the general assumption of "the more traditional the producer, the longer they will go" -- though I have no real basis for it.

I have also been impressed with the ability of non-brunello sangiovese to age. In the past year I have had an otherworldly 1994 Felsina "Fontalloro" (bad year? ha!) and an outstanding 1995 Felsina "Rancia" chianti. Both have years of gas in the tank IMHO.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#35 Post by lleichtman » December 7th, 2018, 11:07 am

I go both ways on this. Young Barolos are interesting in their own right, at about 7-9 years, then they seem to need 20-25 years to get interesting again.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#36 Post by Jay Miller » December 7th, 2018, 11:35 am

Mattstolz wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 5:45 pm
depends a ton on the producer for sure, the ones you've got I would bet on to last a long time. I have an '88 Biondi Santi Im holding for a big Bday and have few doubts that the right bottle of Biondi could last much longer than 50 years
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#37 Post by Jay Miller » December 7th, 2018, 11:41 am

I was about to post that it can be great young as well, witness a beautiful 1999 Ciacci I had this year. Then I realized that wine was almost 20 years old. I might say that Brunello is best enjoyed when you're young enough to remember what year it is but I really enjoyed the Ciacci so maybe that isn't a general rule either.

Anyway, producer does make a difference. I'm not sure one can generalize from Biondi-Santi and Soldera to the rest of Brunello. But there's no doubt the former two will go the distance.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#38 Post by Mark Henderson » December 7th, 2018, 5:21 pm

I bought quite a few '01s and '04s and have opened several over the last two to three years. Fuligni, Lisini, Costanti, Fiorita amongst them. All have looked vital and full of interest, with great pleasure to be had drinking them, yet no doubt that could happily take several more years in the cellar. I would guess that a 15-25 year window might be a fair one.

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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#39 Post by k s h i n » December 7th, 2018, 5:40 pm

I agree with Mark. Most of them reach the maturity around 15, still showing generous fruit but also tertiary notes. If kept well, the 85 to 90 should also be drinking beautifully at the top. Just like Bordeaux or Rhone, they become burgundian as fruit fades. The super concentrated special cuvees like Valdicava Riserva Madonna del Piano should peak around 25-35.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#40 Post by dsimmons » December 7th, 2018, 6:19 pm

I'm with the give them at least 10 years crowd.
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#41 Post by Laurent Gibet » December 8th, 2018, 1:53 pm

k s h i n wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 5:40 pm
I agree with Mark. Most of them reach the maturity around 15, still showing generous fruit but also tertiary notes. If kept well, the 85 to 90 should also be drinking beautifully at the top. Just like Bordeaux or Rhone, they become burgundian as fruit fades. The super concentrated special cuvees like Valdicava Riserva Madonna del Piano should peak around 25-35.
I had a great Brunello horizontale tasting in october 2017.
For 2012, a vintage of concentration, the best wines like Soldera Case Basse 2012 (IGT Toscana, very powerful), Lisini 2012, Fattoria dei Barbi Vigna del Fiori 2012, L'Aietta 2012, Salvioni La Cerbaiola 2012, should age longly.
2014 was a difficult year, many producers did not produce a Brunello.
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Arv R
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#42 Post by Arv R » December 8th, 2018, 4:43 pm

By coincidence I'm drinking an 07 La Poderina BdM right now. Not sure its considered a top vintage but lets say its at least a good one. However the wine already tastes dried out and underfruited (to me). The idea that more wood/aging is automatically and always good doesn't make sense to me. Between fruit, freshness, and price I'd generally tilt toward Chianti (or rossos) vs. Brunello.
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Mikael OB
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Re: How Long Lived Are Top Brunellos From Outstanding Vintages?

#43 Post by Mikael OB » December 9th, 2018, 12:10 am

Have had little experience with aged brunello but got hold of a Fuligni from 1996 a while back, pooped about a month ago - my notes:

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Browning on the edges and on the first day, fresh fruits with red cherries (and berries). Leather and earthiness coming through, somewhat tart acidity and sweet orange (?) and licorice.

Main change on the second day - More pronounced menthol, still red cherries but tone of darker fruits. Still very fresh, the tart acidity nowhere to be found. Fresh, alive and the wine is definitely in a great spot, though no rush based on this bottle.

Long finish, rather smooth silky with fine grained tannins and still solid but balanced acidity. Towards the end sweet fruits flavors coming through.
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My impression based on this one bottle - confident it could continue to develop positively, another 10 years easily. More, why not?

Most of my cellared brunello wines have about 10 or less years, while easier and enjoyable to drink starting from about 10, they missed the depth of layers comparing to above wine.

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