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It was a frigid winter afternoon with temps in low 20’s, wind gusting to 25 mph and wind chill in single digits. So what was I doing walking the streets of NYC? It was the annual BENVENUTO (Welcome in Italian) BRUNELLO event at Gotham Hall in midtown Manhattan where each January the Consortium of Brunello of Montalcino introduces their new vintage of Brunello wines.  Are you still feeling sorry for my cold day at work?

In attendance were 43 winemakers from Montalcino (Mon-tal-chino) who poured 2011 Brunello di Montalcino (released every January in the 5th year following harvest), 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (released in the 6th year following harvest), and Rosso di Montalcino 2014 (released in September of year following vintage). Needless to say, the wines were outstanding – too many good wines in one tasting to appreciate (really?).

View up to Montalcino Tuscany

Montalcino, Tuscany

Montalcino is a hill town in Tuscany of 5,200 people located 26 miles south of Siena. It is an area of approximately 59,000 acres of which only 8,600 acres (15%) are vineyards  –  60% of vineyards for Brunello (wine). The region is known for its many micro climates which exist in elevations ranging from 360 feet to 1,950 feet. Brunello wine is made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes, locally know as Brunello. The DOC requires Brunello to spend a minimum of 2 years in oak and 4 months (6 months for Riserva) in bottles.

The 2011 harvest was a drought year with warmer than average temperatures. 2011 Brunello is forward, fruit-driven wines similar to 2007 vintage not made for long cellaring – quite different from the epic 2010 vintage which can age for many years.

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The following list was derived from my notes which dwindled as the tasting progressed (no surprise) so I have elected to list only the best (***) and very good (**+) wines. Pricing and availability were not available at press time.

CANALICCHIO DI SOPRA Brunello Riserva 2010 ***
CANALICCHIO DI SOPRA Brunello 2011 **+
CARPINETO Rosso di Montalcino 2013 **+
IL POGGIONE Brunello Riserva 2010 ***
IL POGGIONE Rosso di Montalcino 2014 **+
LA FIORITA Brunello 2010 ***
LA FIORITA Brunello Riserva 2007 ***
LISINI Brunello Ugolaia 2009 ***
SAN POLO Brunello 2011 **+

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Cheers, Bob the WineGuy

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