Monday 27 May 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XXVI

What to open with Sunday dinner? The roast is in the oven, the Madeira sauce is simmering and the root vegetables are ready to join the roast.
Well, the Brunello project is almost coming to an end, only a few chapters left, and I have some odd bottles left, among them these two. The Consorzio gives both 1979 and 1980 a 4 star rating.

Fattoria dei Barbi is one of the most historic estates in Montalcino. The Colombini family acquired it in 1790. It is one of the largest estates in Brunello, consisting of 338 hectares, of which 42 hectares is Brunello. Their first Brunello vintage was the 1892, sadly I haven´t got hold of that one...:-) The only previous vintage I have tasted from Barbi was the 1997 Riserva. More info here.

CastelGiocondo is the second largest Brunello producer with 152 hectares devoted to Brunello. The Frescobaldi´s bought the estate in 1989, so this bottle was made by the previous owners, a group of European investors that bought the estate in the 70´s and the 1975 was their first vintage. The estate itself is (also) one of Montalcino´s most historic ones, dating from 1100. I have the 1975 as well, will be back with a note on that one soon. Previous tasted vintages have been the 1994 & 2006, the 1995 and the 1997. More info here.

1980 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria dei Barbi
This opens a tad shy and restrained with some dusty red, mature fruit. But things really happens with a couple of hours in a decanter. The fruit flesh out into lingonberries and red currants with a fine dried up sweetness to them, with additional aromas of dry leather, gravel, licorice and some undergrowth. Fully mature with a fine, mellow character.
The taste is mature, dry and interesting with notes of dried rosehips, lingonberries, road dust and cigarette ashes. As with the nose, it becomes better with air. But there is a dry note in the end that tells me that this should have been drunk some 10 years ago. With the food it behaves nicely, and the nose is fine, but on its own it is a tad to dry on the palate.
86p   (tasted 2013/05)

1979 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, CastelGiocondo
Just wow! I really didn´t expect greatness from any of these two bottles, just hoping that they would fair well with the sunday steak. But from the get go until the last drop this bottle behaved brilliantly!
The nose oozes up from the glass with gorgeous aromas of muscovadosprinkled cherries, dried flowers, licorice, moist mushrooms, violet pastilles, sweet cranberries and lots of rosehips. The sweetness of the fruit is amazing given that this is 34 years old. Given this blind, I would have guessed it to be from 1990. Just stunning!
The taste is as fresh as the nose, with a lovely purity, freshness and bucketfuls of sweet red and black cherries. Notes of licorice, violet pastilles, rosehip powder, sugared coffee and lots and lots of fresh mushrooms. There is some maturity here but this is amazingly fresh for its age. A long, intense finish with a beautiful creamy structure. Really, really fine. And I bought this for 25 Euro...:-)
94p   (tasted 2013/05)


  1. Oh, there are some more Brunello to come... Many more. :-)

    1. Great - looking forward to that Soldera vertical...:-)

  2. Where did you get these relics?