Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Galloni 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Tasting Dinner: The region, the vintage, the wines

One of the ways in which Antonio Galloni's Vinous differs from his former employer Wine Advocate is the practice of building community with subscribers through Vinous Events which are targeted at "fostering dialog and education through once-in-a-lifetime seminars, tastings and dinners." One such event was a tasting of 2010 Brunello di Montalcinos held at New York's Lincoln Ristorante on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. This was a limited-seating event which promised "a comprehensive look at a number of the very best Brunellos from Montalcino's exceptional 2010 vintage" wherein the attendees would "taste the entire stylistic range ... from the super-classic to the ultra-modern" paired with offerings from Chef Jonathon Benno of the Lincoln in the unparalleled setting of the restaurant's East Dining Room.

I attended this exquisite tasting and will cover it in two parts on this blog. This post provides relevant background material while a follow-up post will provide the details of the actual event.

The Region
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is unquestionably one of the leading red wine regions of Italy and the world. I have covered the region at some length in a prior post and supplement that material herein with the sub-zone information provided in the chart below. This is relevant in that some of the wines presented in the tasting hail from some of these sub-zones.

The Vintage
The 2010 vintage yielded stellar wines in most of Europe's fine-wine regions; and Montalciono was no exception. Tim Atkin MW described the 2010 Brunello di Montalcinos thusly (Wine Searcher, 2/25/15):
At their best they are delicious, combining freshness, structure, opulence, and balance ... One of the unusual features of the vintage is that it was good everywhere -- from north to south, east to west.
In his normally understated manner, James Suckling (Tasting Report, 12/1/14) described the wines as:
... the greatest modern vintage of Italy's most famous red wine region. Never have the wines been so profound in quality, character, and quantity from the best hillside vineyards of Montalcino.
Galloni praised the vintage in a more studied fashion:
Two thousand ten has turned out to be a superb vintage for Brunello di Montalcino ... At their best, the 2010 Brunellos offer gorgeous Sangiovese purity, tons of site specifity and high quality across the board, all signatures of a classic Montalcino vintage.
The Wines
The wines on offer are presented in the chart below which shows (i) their geographic location and (ii) their positioning in the tasting. Some observations on the chart below:

  • The Montalcino estates are concentrated in the B column with significant clumping in the bullseye quadrant
  • Approximately half of the wines on offer are drawn from the cluster around the town of Montalcino
  • There is no apparent geographic rationale for the flighting of the wines. For example, the first flight has one wine from the north of Montalcino, one from the south of Montalcino, and one from the south of Castelnuovo dell'Abate.

High-level overviews of the vitivinculture of the producing estates are provided in the chart below. Biondi-Santi and Casanova di Neri have been covered in more detail elsewhere on this blog.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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