Chianti on Steroids!
Brunello is the name given to Sangiovese by those that grow the grape in Montalcino, and Sangiovese is the grape used to make Chianti. And there are two Chianti appellations, Chianti and Chianti Classico. Confused?, we’re only starting. The latter is expected to produce the superior Chianti but, as in all Italian matters of wine, that is not always the case.
And then there is Brunello. There are two major problems with Brunello for the Australian wine drinker –
1. They generally cost 2+ times the best Chianti, and
2. Once you’ve had a good Brunello you will probably refuse to buy another Chianti.
Some History (from Wikipedia)
Brunello is produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 120 km south of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. Brunello, a diminutive of Bruno, a male given name which means brown, is the name that was given locally to what was believed to be an individual grape variety grown in Montalcino. In 1879 the Province of Siena’s Amphelographic Commission determined, after a few years of controlled experiments, that Sangiovese and Brunello were the same grape variety, and that the former should be its designated name.
In Montalcino the name Brunello evolved into the designation of the wine produced with 100% Sangiovese. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines.
Notes from the Winemaker
Castello Banfi is a family owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany. The grapes for this Brunello are sourced from hillside sites with calcareous sandy topsoil and rounded stones.
A full bodied wine with hints of liquorice and chocolate complements the concentrated, velvety cherry fruits on the palate. Very well integrated tannins and long finish. Enjoy over the next 5 to 10 years.
Colour is deep red with some light brick.
Bouquet is rich dark cherry, chocolate and licorice, along with earthy, savoury notes. Some oak is evident along with a little alcohol sweetness, and some savoury spices.
Palate is medium to full bodied, no alcohol sweetness evident at all. Flavours are savoury with more of the dark cherry, chocolate and savoury spice. The tannins are solid and savoury, but fine. The wine is clean, rich and slinky in the mouth; a fine structure of great balance between fruit, acid, oak and tannins.
You need to drink this wine with food. We had it with Jamie Oliver’s ‘Hit ‘N’ Run Traybaked Chicken’. OK it’s not his best effort in dish description, but it tasted damn good, and showed that this wine doesn’t need anything too fancy, it just needs food.
This is another amazing purchase from Costco in Sydney; I continue to be completely surprised by the quality of wines they are getting in from both the old and new world, and some very fine vinous gems from Australia, including several standout great wines from the Hunter Valley.
Costco rotate their wines regularly, so I would strongly suggest that you Sydneysiders race into Costco and buy a couple of these. This is a great Italian wine at most reasonable price.