Saturday 24 August 2013

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

This tasting was held in our monthly tasting group, and it was my time to open some bottles. I decided on six bottles of Brunello from two of the most historic properties in Montalcino - Fattoria Dei Barbi who produced their first Brunello in 1892 and the inventors of Brunello - Biondi-Santi.
All wines decanted one hour before the first pour.

1968 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria Dei Barbi
Even with one hour in the decanter this opens very mature and mushroomy on the nose, but actually grows and pull itself together with some time in the glass. Fine notes of dried cherries, cranberries, licorice, tea bags, pipe tobacco and lots of undergrowth. A high and interesting nose. Perfect maturity.
The taste is tight, mature and warm with notes of lingonberries, cranberries, autumn leaves and cigarette ashes. There is a fine acidity here and the tannins are soft but noticeable. Long and balanced. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2013/08)

1978 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria Dei Barbi
The ten year younger sibling is even better. The nose is deep and penetrating with gorgeous notes of ripe cherries, rose petals, forest floor, cigarette ashes, dried rosemary and a touch of banana peel. Pure and complex. Very fine.
The taste is tight, fresh and mature with notes of cherry candy, cranberries, licorice, cigarette ashes and forest floor. A very good warmth. Long and stylish. In a perfect drinking stage.
91p   (tasted 2013/08)

1988 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria Dei Barbi
The 1988 version from Fattoria Dei Barbi is more linear than the two previous vintages. The nose is medium deep with notes of violets, hard cherry candy, autumn leaves and some floral notes. Good but the fruit is a tad compressed.
The taste feels youngish with notes of black cherries, rosehips, black tea, balsa wood and violets. The finish is long, warm and with some perky tannins in the end. This could get better with some time in the cellar.
87p   (tasted 2013/08)

1977 Brunello di Montalcino Il Greppo, Biondi-Santi
Too bad!! This bottle have been manhandled somewhere along the line. If I had gotten this blindfolded I would have guessed an old Sercial on the nose. The taste is dry and foursquare. The level was fine, the cork was fine, but alas...
No rating   (tasted 2013/08)

1995 Brunello di Montalcino Il Greppo, Biondi-Santi
But the 1995 made up for the bad 77. A gorgeous, deep and complex nose with notes of the finest cherries imaginable paired with scents of rosemary bushes, Earl Grey tea, violets and some Cohiba aromas lingering in the background. This has structure and hedonism in a great package. A tad mature on the nose but it has far too go still.
The taste is tight, intense and packed to the rim with sweet/sour cherries, cranberries and lingonberry jam. The tannins are big and bold yet finely polished. The finish goes on for over a minute. Notes of licorice, forest floor, violets and sweet minerals adds to the complexity. A beautiful wine that will be even better in 3-6 years time.
95p   (tasted 2013/08)

2004 Brunello di Montalcino Il Greppo, Biondi-Santi
Oh, what a youngster! There are stuffing here for something great in due course but today you just get glimpses of what will come. The nose is tight, concentrated and a tad withdrawn with notes of hard cherry candy, dried herbs, pressed flowers and cigarette ashes. After some time in the glass there is a fine perfumed note. Very young. And promising.
The taste is young, tight and potent with notes of just ripe cherries, hard cherry candy, balsa wood, cigarette ashes and road dust. The tannins creeps up on you in the finish and makes a mark. A fine warmth. Give this baby 10+ years and it will become great.
91p   (tasted 2013/08)


  1. Just looking at the label, I would not give much credit at the 1977 B.S.
    Do you agree B.S. Brunello is one of the most elegant and silky wine of all Italy ?

    1. Well, I have had bottles with more bin soiled and dirty labels that have been outstanding.
      On the Biondi-Santi - elegant yes, powerful yes, aristocratic yes, but silky - on the five vintages I have ever tasted I wouldn´t use that adjective. Maybe the 1995 needs 20 years more to get silky...? :-)

  2. Are you getting any sort of refund-credit for the bad 77...?

    I hope so.....I do not think it was the so a bargain one..!

    Silky ?.....maybe the 77 was the one ?