Pre-Frankenstorm TN: 2001 Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino

Light translucent ruby in the glass, with a mentholated, cherry-scented nose and a hint of sottobosco that is quite alluring.

Sweet cherry fruit that really spreads out on the palate, adequate acidity - all in, a very nice wine, although given that the vintage is only ten years old, the fact that this wine is so accessible right now with hardly any tannic bite on the finish leads me to wonder if this wine will age/further benefit from additional time in the bottle. Not implying that there is any concern here warranting immediate consumption, but the wine comes across right now as rather “open-knit”, with not a lot of underlying backbone.

That said, this is a wine that drank great on release only to go through a very awkward period that really gave purchasers of it concerns about whether the wine would ever emerge from this period of undrinkability, and I can say that based upon this bottle as well as the last one I tried about nine months ago, the wine has finally recovered from it’s “slumber”, and if you have it in the cellar, it would be worth your while to pull a cork and check it out. [cheers.gif]

Batten down the hatches. The chainsaws are fueled, the gutters are clear, the fridge is full and the generators are ready.

Roberto, you’ve had a Brunello thing going for a while. So many seem spoofed to me. I love the expressiveness of pure Sangiovese, but so far, BdM’s been a minefield.

Joanne and I opened these 2 tonight:

2010 Tue-Boeuf Puzelat Brin de Chevre Touraine - Turbid, very bright, minerals, citrus, and mild gooseberry. Vibrant and expressive. It worked well with appetizers of freshly made local venison bologna (a PA game commission bowhunter harvested it two weeks ago) and cream cheese, sprinkled with homegrown chopped parsley on baguette rounds.

2007 Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir - Pinot Funk to start. Wood spice and underbrush. Pleasing floral red briar fruit on the nose with hints of minerality and underlying woodsiness. The black and red cherry fruit is still fairly tight. Plenty of structure with a balanced attack and smooth finish. Needs time to unwind. We’ll see what Day 2 brings.


Based on the National Hurricane Center, it looks as if the storm will track right over your house. Stay safe . . . and protect my shelf in your cellar at all costs. [cheers.gif]

Rich, I think Brunello gets a bad rap - a lot of folks are still tuned up about “Brunello-gate”, but I think that has had a beneficial side effect in that it has actually brought the prices down relative to many other fine wine regions. I also think this whole “traditionalist versus modernist” argument is even more tenuous in Montalcino than it is in Piemonte (and I am personally agnostic about it in both regions). And finally, I think Brunello has many similarities to Burgundy, so I do think it’s important to get comfortable with certain producers styles before you buy, because the winemaking regimes can be so different from one vineyard to the next.

That said, as Ken Vastola has posted on numerous occasions, it really is more expensive Chianti, so if you don’t believe it delivers more than your typical CCR, then I’d say continue to avoid it, as you’d just be wasting money. And while I drink & buy Brunello, I drink & buy a lot more Chianti. But as much as I enjoy, for example, a nice Felsina Rancia Riserva (and I buy this wine regularly), I’ve never had one yet that I thought could compete with a Conti Costanti BdM, and that is why I continue to spend my cash on Brunello.

No problem. Your rack is next to an 8" thick poured concrete wall and 3 feet above the basement floor that has a 4" perimeter gravity drain system (which is working flawlessly) and a back-up (never needed it yet for 10 years) sump pump. The biggest risks to your wines are human related. The latest track has the storm center passing much closer and just south of Mr. Hughes house.

Bob. thanks for the perspective on BdMs. There seems to be a movement away from “Spoof” with a lot of Burg producers. Same with Brunellos? Burgundy house styles also seem easier to figure out…or maybe it’s just exposure and familiarity.


Going back to the original topic, my last bottle of the 01 Chiuse was good, and fairly approachable, though nothing that I swooned over.

I and others had some that showed some nasty off notes a couple years after release – something volatile and plastic-like. I don’t think that was just an awkward stage. Happily, it seems there are good bottles. It was so charming young!

John, at least IMO, what you have described and what I also experienced is the quintessential “awkward period”.

That is, the wine was great on release, then totally sucked for a period of time and has now re-emerged from that period of undrinkability. I will concede that I had never previously experienced that drastic of a change in a wine, but nothing I’ve seen so far would lead me to believe that it was anything other than a bad time to try the wine (or put another way, the wine was only bad in that one period of time, and has never been flawed otherwise).

I have a number of them still remaining in my cellar, so I will be able to test my “hypothesis” a number of times over the coming years [cheers.gif] .

Nothing like creating empirical wine data I always say… [cheers.gif]

Nice to see this update. I bought a bunch of this on release too and it was really great then. I never had a bad bottle myself, but I sure heard about them 'cuz I told all my friends to buy it too.

From what they described, it was pretty inconceivable how the wine could have gotten from point A to point B under normal circumstances, so the bad-batch theory seemed plausible. Hopefully that is not the case. Even so, I must’ve ended up with the good batch and I’m still thrilled to own some.

+1 and the price was right as well!