Chianti and Brunello tasting

Chianti and Brunello at Scopri restaurant in Melbourne

The Line up
1997 Monsanto Il Poggio
1999 Isole e Olena Cepparello

2004 Monsanto Il Poggio
2004 Castello D’Ama

2008 Biondi Santi Annata Brunello
2008 Fuligni Brunello

2006 Il Poggione Brunello
2010 Costanti Brunello

2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello
2006 Cupano Brunello

2006 Argiano Brunello
2005 Valdicava Brunello

1997 Monsanto Il Poggio
Beautiful wine. Medium bodied. Beautifully balanced. Gorgeous mouth feel. Such finesse. Complex wine. You could bottles of this with ease. Drinking very well now but should go on for at least a decade.

1999 Isole e Olena Cepparello
Bigger and darker wine. Bit of VA but eventually blew off. Retains a bit of the oak influence especially compared with the Monsanto Il Poggio. It has chewy fruit with sour cherry and licorice on the palate. A nice wine.

2004 Monsanto Il Poggio
The structure and flavour profile was similar to the 1997 Il Poggio. Obviously showing more youth and freshness. I had amazing length and persistence on the palate. A gorgeous wine.

2004 Castello D’Ama Chianti riserva
Much bigger wine with back fruits. It has earthy overtones with powdery tannins. Robust wine. It has power but trades that for finesse and grace.

2008 Biondi Santi Annata Brunello di Montalcino
Very vibrant. Red fruited with razor like acidity. Very aromatic. Literally explodes in the mouth. Palate shows dried herbs and violets. Persistent flavours on the back palate. Probably WOTN.

2008 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino
Equally energetic as the Biondi. Lithe wine with a very refined and silky palate. More deeper colour and flavour profile to Biondi. It has impeccable balance.

2006 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino
Its quite a power packed wine. Dark fruited but still retains a degree of elegance. Showing a bit of mocha and dark chocolate. Very impressive.

2010 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
The Costanti appears to have settled down quite a lot since I first tasted it last year. It appears more relaxed and open. There is sensory overload on close examination. Its purity and layered personality keeps one enthralled. A beauty.

2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino
Quite opulent with lots of oak and very ripe fruit. Showy wine with a creamy texture. Lacks the typicity of Brunello. Modern expression of Brunello.

2006 Cupano Brunello di Montalcino
It is not too dissimilar to the Casanova di Neri in its style but does have a slight semblance of elegance.

2006 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino
Showed a lot of oak and tannins. Bitter chocolate and mocha on the palate but it lacked purity and was more oak dominant that I would have liked.

2005 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino
It was way over the top. It has an expression of Brunello that shows charry or roasted oak character rather than fruit. I cannot see it getting into balance and showing its fruit to its advantage.

I largely prefer more elegant wines rather that big robust ones and probably my notes show that bias. YMMV.

The only time I’ve been disappointed with Biondi Santi…was when it was a corked '90 Reserva (ouch)

Thanks for posting your notes. I own several of these wines and tend to rely on others’ impressions to help guide when to open.

Same here. Thanks for a helpful update.

Thanks for posting your notes, Sanjay; very helpful for a couple of buying decisions. My most recent knockout Brunello was Il Poggione’s 2001 Riserva.

Was the 2001 Casanova di Neri the regular Brunello (with the simple white label) or the Tenuta Nuova (with the black label)? The latter has a lot of new oak and tends to be dark and lush, the former I believe does not see barriques, and while perhaps a riper expression of Brunello, it is definitely red-fruited and lighter in color. I would guess both from your comments and from the nature of your tasting that it was the Tenuta Nuova you tasted (if I recall, I think the 2001 Tenuta Nuova was Wine Spectator WOTY?).

As far as Valdicava, here is something I wrote a few years ago on the board. I don’t say that to dispute your perception of the wine, and you aren’t the first person to taste Valdicava and think it has a lot of oak, but it’s mostly just to add to the discussion.

By the way, I’ve tried pushing this rock up the hill a few times on this board before, but Valdicava is not at all a spoofy/modern/oaked/whatever Brunello. I think the microclimate that its vineyards are in produces a strong fruit concentration in their wines, particularly in some vintages (2001 may be one of those), but the owner doesn’t use barriques or any modernist techniques, his wines are not high in alcohol, and they age beautifully. I think the intense concentration of the fruit when the wines are young can confuse people about where their wines are going.

Some comments from Antonio Galloni in recent years:

Vincenzo Abbruzzese is one of the most outspoken, passionate growers in Montalcino. His beautifully tended vineyards yield some of the richest wines in the region; and that’s where most of the focus is – on the vineyards. The winery itself is unremarkable and is equipped with just the bare essentials. All of the wines are aged in large, neutral oak; what comes through is Abbruzzese’s commitment to low yields, sustainable farming and non-interventionalist winemaking.

Valdicava has been somewhat of a controversial property over the last few years. The Brunellos are typically very concentrated and dense when young, which can make them hard to assess. Make no mistake about it though; these are very serious wines whose only difficulty lies in giving them a few more years in bottle than the vast majority of Brunellos. A vertical tasting last year going back to 1988 published on > > showed that the Valdicava Brunellos age exquisitely.

Well one bottle of the 2008 Biondi at our tasting was corked too. So a back up was opened. Fortunately, it was not a reserva.

Sorry, I cannot recollect off hand whether the Casanova was the white or black label. I did not take any photos either. I will have to ask the person who brought it to the tasting.

Thanks for the information regarding the Valdicava. Perhaps that is possible explanation. I would have to taste a fully mature wine to determine whether it sheds all the fat and shows well. Furthermore, even if it does will I like it? I have no idea. The question is would I go out and buy Valdicava. No. There are few in our group who have these in there cellar and I am sure I will have an opportunity to taste them at offlines down the track.