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Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Written by JW. Posted in Italy

IMG_4757At Vinexpo earlier this year I had the opportunity to taste twenty-nine Brunello di Montalcino wines from the 2008 vintage and eight Riservas from the 2007 vintage. I’m a student when it comes to Brunello and the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino offered a great opportunity to get down and dirty with the wines. There’s a lot to appreciate here. The best show balance, structure and acidity, with warmth and alcoholic punch. Not as dark as young Bordeaux, the thinner-skinned Sangiovese having less colouring matter than Cabernet and its relatives, the grape still provides Brunello di Montalcino with plenty of depth, sap and chew on the palate. When the balance is right there is a fascinating tension between the power, the warmth and the bite. I focus in this post on 2008 Brunellos, with thoughts on the 2007 Riservas up next.

Coming to the tasting with little experience of the wines presented a refreshing challenge. Good wine shouldn’t need explanation and it was interesting evaluating them with out any preconceptions. 2008 was seen as a good vintage in the region and for me the best Brunellos were well structured, with good levels of fruit and extract, and plenty of interest and length. The ones that didn’t hit the spot for me did so because they appeared to lack fruit, seemed prematurely aged and/or felt overly dry on the finish.

My picks? Clearly Antinori’s Pian Delle Vigne was exceptional, along with Castiglion Del Bosco and Corte Pavone from Tenuta Loacker. These stood out for their depth and concentration. I was also very impressed with Brunellos from Col d’Orcia, Collemattoni and Carparzo. Le Lecciaia was also good. Donatella Cinelli-Colombini also clearly makes very fine Brunello too. I particularly enjoyed their Reserva [more on this next].


I thought Castello Banfi’s Alle Mura, Fattoria del Barbi, Campogiovanni, Il Poggione, Mastrojanni and Solaria, were all very substantial Brunellos of genuine interest with plenty of depth and flavour. The disappointments? Casanuova delle Cerbaie, La Gerla, La Magia and Ridolfi didn’t show that well for me. These were less appealing for one reason or other, mostly due to apparent lack of fruit, depth and rather clipped profiles. These are well-regarded wines so I’ve probably put that cat amongst the pigeons a little. I’d be interested to hear from others with different experiences on these – comments are welcome!

As ever, and perhaps particularly more so given my inexperience with these wines, the notes are more important than the numbers. The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riservas were tasted immediately afterwards and I’ll post those notes up next. The following wines were tasted back in June during Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

Castello Banfi, Poggio Alle Mura, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Red; rusty edge; leather spice, some tea; warm ripe palate with depth; richness with leather, spice notes. Good palate with balance. Not dry on finish. [14.5%] Drink now – 2018. 87

Fattoria del Barbi, Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Deep looking; rusty red at edge; chocolate, some smoke; feels fuller with beef; broader and supple on the palate; big and thick. Chewy with nice bite at end. Now – 2020. 88+

Campogiovanni, San Felice, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; red brown at edge; meat, leather, ripe and lifted nose; some smoke too and apparent depth; nice warm entry to the palate; spice and tea notes; mature flavours; nice chew, feels mature. Little dry on the finish but overall pretty good. Now-2018. 89

Caparazo, Brunello di Montalcino, 2008

Darker at edge; red with rusty tones; chocolate, some resin and spice; good depth to the palate; resin and sap; nice extract with good chew and bite. Now to 2020. 90

Casanuova delle Cerbaie, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Lighter in colour – red at centre, browner at edge; little dumb on the nose; lacks definition and flavour on the palate; some spice; dry finish. Drink now. 85

Bartoli Giusti, Tenuta Communali, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; red brown at edge; slightly stalky, has strength and firm qualities; some smoke. Chewy. Goodish. Drink now – 2016. 87

Castel Romitorio, Brunello di Montalcino, 2008

Deep at centre; red brown at edge; warm ripe notes; some Golden Virginia tones; full and broad – I like this! Nice tension on the palate between the ripe fruit and the acid. Good length. Drink now – 2020. 90+

Col d’Orcia, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; red brown edge; spicy, tobacco influenced nose; some stalky undergrowth notes too; warmth and spice at the back; complex; nice density; satiny palate and gentle finish. Drink now – 2020. 91+

Castiglion Del Bosco, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid-depth; translucent red brown at edge; glossy; very attractive warm wine with depth; nice lift and depth to the nose; complex with leather, tobacco and undergrowth tones; big palate; ripe attractive; full and warm; good bite at the end. Drink now – 2023. 92+

Collemattoni, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; red brown at edge; nice lift, tobacco, spice and leather tones; quite full; spice and leather tones on the palate; more elegance here; spice and tea notes and soft, agglomerated tannins. Attractive. Drink now – 2020. 90+

Donatella Cinelli-Colombini, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid-depth; red brown; less glossy than Castiglion del Bosso; elegance here; less full perhaps but with attractive exotic spices, smoke and earthy notes; satiny palate with meat and leathery characters; nice chew and depth. Dry finish but plenty of depth. Drink now- 2020. 90

Domus Vitae Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Translucent red; brown at edge; full, funky spicy style; bit of the barnyard here; spices and leather; little old fashioned? Warm palate with spices and smoky characters and lapsang-souchong notes. Tannins soft and easy finish. Drink now. 87

Le Lecciaia, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; translucent centre; more chocolate tones with burnt notes; quite deep and full; palate equally full with more oomph than some; lots of material and a full style here. Nice chew and grip on the palate. Has depth and power. Drink now – 2018. 90

LaGerla, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Slightly deeper core; red brown at edge; nose a little dumb; some chocolate; leather; not unattractive; tea and spice on the palate; lacks fruit but an elegant style; some dry tannin at the back. Drin now – 2016. 86

Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Translucent red; tea colour at edge; firm nose; sturdy; then opens up; some warmth and spice; elegance to the palate; stalks, undergrowth; spice and smoke here. Drink now – 2018. 88+

La Magia, Schwarz, Brunnelo di Montalcino 2008

Darker colour – more red at edge, less brown; sweeter, some undergrowth; strawberry tones and resin too; palate a little mean and finishes chewy and astrigent. Disappointing. Drink now. 82

Corte Pavone, Tenuta Loacker, Brunello di Montalcino, 2008

Bold colour; denser and tighter to the rim than many; full style; warm entry on palate with soft, spicy and meaty characters; smoked meat characters; very full and appealing style. Like this. Chewy finish but no trace of astringency here. Very good wine. Drink now – 2020. 92+

Mastrojanni, Brunello di Montalcino, 2008

Little darker, lacks a bit of life in the glass; leather and tea notes dominate the aromas; some meat too; warm and weighty on the palate [15 degrees alc] but feels round. Flavour and length, if warm finish. Drink now – 2018 89

Piccini, Villa Al Cortile, Brunello di Montalcino, 2008

Rusty red; earthy and smoky nose, almost Islay whiskey tones; spices and undergrowth; lacks density on the palate and fruit; bit hollow and astringent finish. Drink now. 82

Pian Delle Vigne, Antinori, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Red at centre, brick edge; warm and spicy on the nose; attractive; clearly full and deep; some spices; mid-weight palate with spicy, red fruits and nice texture; nice bite and chew. Plenty of depth and chew here. Very good length. Drink now – 2023. 93+

Poggio Antico [Soc Agricola P Antico], Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; brown at edge; leathery; feels mature; full and easy palate; soft. Drink now. 86

Poggio Antico, Altero, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Red at centre; tea coloured at edge; lift and complexity to the nose; good depth; firm palate, actually rather tart and lacking depth on the palate. Interesting to start but short on the finish for me. Drink now. 86

Poggio Il Castellare, Bruna Barnconi, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Dark at centre; saturated look; warm resinous nose; wine gum notes; some banana; chewy palate with some depth. Not that bad in a chewy, mouth-filling way. Drink now – 2018. 87+

Teunta di Sesta, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Translucent at centre; red brown edge; stalky nose with tea and steel; warm and round; easy. Drink now. 86

Solaria, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Deeper colour than most; more oomph, less elegance on the nose; but feels big and deep; fuller, riper style on the palate; broader but with depth; nice grip too. Finishes will, not drying and has chocolate notes on the very end. Drink now – 2018. 90

Ridolfi, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth; translucent core; warm, some tea and leather notes on the aroma; chocolate; soft entry on the palate; some tea and chocolate again; astringent on the finish. Bit too chewy on the finish. Drink 2016-2020. 86

Uccelliera, Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Mid depth, translucent at centre; brick at edge; tea, roast beef; quite big and satisfying on the nose; soft easy palate; some beefy and meaty flavours; very mature and soft; long on the end with bite. Big and beefy. Drink now – 2020 88+


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