Wine notes

Saturday, 18 September 2010

BRUNELLO - 2005 V 2004

The Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino seems very pleased with the 2005 vintage of its most important wine: it bestowed no less than four out of a total of five stars on this vintage, although the growing season proved perhaps a tad too challenging to completely deserve this high accolade. Characterised by a cool beginning, affecting fruit set, it saw a hot and sunny July and August that accelerated the sugar accumulation in the berries. A wet and cool September, however, reversed the trend. While sugar levels were quite high, tannins struggled to ripen. Longer hang time on the vine to compensate for this tended to result in cooked and stewed fruit flavours in many of the final wines.

As a direct result, the colour of many a Brunello on this year's en primeur tasting in Montalcino looked dangerously mature, with several samples already showing brownish tinges. Combined with apparently high or unbalanced alcohol levels, giving the wines a burning sensation on the finish, this vintage, with some notable exceptions, seems to be for mid-term drinking.

It immediately raises the question as to whether the wines in general will prove to be worth their traditionally fairly high price tags. In several cases, it also got me wondering why producers had persevered in producing a Brunello at all, instead of opting out and producing Rosso di Montalcino, a category that serves as a 'second wine'. Rosso has the advantage that the regulations require a much shorter ageing period and it can be put on the market from 1 Sep in the year following the harvest, whereas Brunello may not be released until at least four years after the 1 Jan following the harvest. One can only guess that in 2005 neither recession nor Brunellogate was on the horizon, and hence there seemed no reason not to capitalise on the Brunello reputation. But even so, this seems an unsuitable philosophy in the long term if Brunello is to maintain its status as one of Italy's most important reds. And this reputation is, among other factors, based on the wines' supposed capacity for extended ageing, something that the 2005 vintage clearly hasn't got. Many wines will have reached their plateau of maturity within the next five years.

I got a completely different impression of the 2004, which, on the whole, is a vintage with real class and complexity, combined with freshness. In general, the colour of the wines showed signs of development, but looked much healthier with less browning. They also looked less opaque and impenetrable, which made me wonder, cheekily, and only for a split second, whether these wines are much more faithful, at least in colour and freshness, to the Brunello (Sangiovese) grape. Certainly, many of them will have a very good lifespan, although in some instances I can imagine it will prove hard to resist them right now. Prices will be invariably high, but I feel this vintage is far more interesting to invest in for cellaring and pleasurable drinking.

Although the Consorzio groups all 250 producers under its umbrella (and in its own words is the only consorzio in Italy to achieve this), the en primeur tasting did not reflect this fact, with several famous wines not available for tasting. This in itself is not surprising since these wines fetch prices on a cru classé level, and hence may have little stock and no real need to be present. But the most sorely missed, at least by me, was the 'next generation', ie the estates that only recently started to make a mark on the scene, those that are deeply involved with organic and biodynamic methods and demonstrate the quest for a clear sense of terroir in their wines. Not only would it have been very interesting to compare their wines with the more established names, it would also have shown that Montalcino is a dynamic region which has moved on after Brunellogate.


BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2005

Angelini, Val di Suga 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Medium brownish ruby. Heady, attractive, fruit is a touch stewed, but complex aromas at the same time. Peppery too, and the first hints of tobacco. Closed palate, but a good balance is struck between extract, acidity and stalky coating tannins. Approachable now – with food, that is. (WS)

Poggio Antico 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17.5 Drink 2012-2018
Deep ruby, only just beginning to show some brownish tinges. Very enticing, inviting modern nose, with hints of vanilla. With aeration more balsamic. Palate is more austere, with high acidity, and coating tannins. Marzipan and maraschino-cherry finish with hint of oak. Unsettled tannins at this stage but with very good length to compensate. Lay down. (WS)

Argiano 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very deep, evolved brownish ruby with orange rim. Sweet fruitcake with sexy oak and horse saddle, firmly pressing the populist button, shoe wax too. Contrasting astringency on the palate. Horse-saddle note creeps up, drying out the finish somewhat. (WS)

Banfi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Almost opaque dark brownish ruby. Quite subdued, fresh cherries steeped in chocolate. Quite mellow, round dark fruit and red fruit jam palate. Amazingly accessible and open already. (WS)

Banfi, Poggio alle Mura 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
The surprise of the en primeur. Even one of the sternest critics of Banfi, Franco Ziliani, expressed his amazement. Very dark developed ruby with orange brown tinges. Elegant and very appealing with quite soft, round, ripe fruit and hints of vanilla. Very good acid structure and stalky tannins complementing the whole. Charming, one with great mass appeal. (WS)

Barbi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Very dark and opaque, brownish hue. Oak and spice seems to take the upper hand at least at this stage. Touch stewed but also rich jam fruit and boisterous tannin. Fruit closes up, but a reprise on the finish with complex strawberry and cherry flavours. Very long, tannins will need time to settle. (WS)

Barbi, Vigna del Fiore 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17.5 Drink 2012-2018
Herbal and tobacco-leaf nose. Quite pure and focused fruit palate and firm coating tannins. Impressive for the vintage. (WS)

Baricci 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Already quite mature-looking orange brown. Orange peel and ironlike note on a compact, very tight nose. Hints of candied fruit. Stubborn palate showing very little. Perhaps this is yet to come? (WS)

Gianni Brunelli 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Very deep ruby with brown tinges and a narrow rim with orange brown tinges. Serious and quite complex, if subdued and peppery. Same compactness on the palate, with crunchy tannins. Acidity seems to emphasise the tannins at the moment, but it will settle. Complex finish. Slight doubt about its lifespan when the colour seems so developed already. (WS)

Camigliano 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Deep, medium-concentrated almost youthful ruby. Concentrated and truly fruit focused, no stewed impression here. Quite austere and compact at the moment with a big tannic spine but enough extract and aromatic development on the finish. Sinewy. (WS)

La Campana 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14 Drink 2010-2010
Impenetrable, almost black-brownish ruby. Popular, sweet nose. Volatile. Very sweet, almost jammy on the palate. (WS)

Canalino 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2015
Deep maturing ruby, with a narrow rim showing some development. Cherry pie and spice with a herbal note and a touch of vanilla. Quite popular palate with vanilla hints and coffee bean and a touch of tar on a cherry layer, and looks like it will mature fairly quickly. Crowd pleaser, but to be enjoyed with food. (WS)

La Carlina, La Togata 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
Medium deep, mature, orange-tinged ruby. Christmas cake and cherry jam with cinnamon bark and touch of graphite. Quite elegant, almost light, perhaps lacking a touch in concentration on the mid palate, but refreshingly gentle and focused. (WS)

La Carlina, La Togata dei Togati 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Deep developing ruby. Maraschino cherry nose. Very good persistent cherry fruit palate with good extract. Crunchy tannins too. Warm finish. Very good for the vintage. (WS)

Capanna 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Deep, concentrated dark ruby. Orange brown tinges on the rim. Almost Mon Chéri-like opening, but develops more dark fruit aromas. Palate is much more restrained, and the structure indicates more time is needed to settle and for the fruit to open up, but there is quite impressive length here. Will the fruit hold up? (WS)

Caparzo 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Medium-deep ruby, developed look. Very subdued cherry liqueur nose and oatmeal. Just the right amount of oak. Quite peppery. Youthful, and elegant palate with almost crisp acidity. Looks pretty well balanced. (WS)

Caprili 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Very dark medium-concentrated ruby and a lighter, brownish ruby rim. Dried cherry and oak. Very austere tannic structure. All bones and not a lot of flesh, it seems. (WS)

Casanuova delle Cerbaie 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Medium concentrated, evolved ruby. Telltale hot vintage nose with dried fruit notes and a touch volatile. Quite elegant fruit palate with good length. Perhaps the dried fruit character makes it a bit one dimensional. (WS)

Castelgiocondo 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Almost opaque dark ruby with black brownish tinges. Plum and dried fruit nose, almost international with hints of sweet oak. Succulent palate, not heavy at all, with grainy tannins kicking in on the finish and hints of dried fruit. Firmly pushing the popular button. (WS)

Castiglion del Bosco 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Very dark, almost black-tinged ruby and orange tinges on small rim. Port-like and stewed. Less fiery, almost sweet on the palate, but fruit doesn’t hold up well to the high acidity and rustic tannins. (WS)

Le Chiuse 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Deep ruby with orange-brown tinge. Shoe polish and minerals. Backward on the palate but there is some genuine fruit lurking underneath. Crunchy sweet-sour impression and interesting, almost complex finish. Big structure. Wait. (WS)

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17.5 Drink 2010-2018
Medium-concentrated dark ruby with a broad orange rim and brown tinge. Liquorice, marzipan, cherry liqueur and dark chocolate, touch of bacon. Heady, perfumed. Amazingly pure on the palate. Stalky, marzipan-like tannin. (WS)

Col d'Orcia 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Deep, dark ruby. Immediate stewed fruit impression followed by smoky, savoury notes. Somewhat one dimensional at this stage, but good length. (WS)

Collelceto 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Deep, developed orange ruby, bordeaux look-a-like. Pronounced, mature with hint of stable. Touch vegetal. Has not escaped the troubled vintage, but is more hindered by that vegetal character. (WS)

Corte Pavone 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very dark, opaque with black tinge. Closed nose with hints of black olive and sweet cherry. Succulent crunchy sweet-sour fruit impression. Lovely long-lasting flavours. Quite good for the vintage. (WS)

Cupano 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 13.5 Drink 2010-2010
Impenetrable ruby with black tinge. Big nose of sweet oak and coconut cream. Coconut and lashes of vanilla cream on the palate. Is this a dessert or wine? (WS)

Donatella Cinelli Colombini 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Very deep, dark ruby. Multilayered if a touch peppery and hints of oak and touch of tar. Nose and palate show restrained dark fruits, with hardly any hint of stewed fruit. Backward at this stage and quite tannic, but the fruit has a juicy quality to it. This will need some time to open up, but worth the wait. (WS)

Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Prime Donne 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Very dark, impenetrable ruby. Sweet and quite intense, and youthful palate. Very compact but with great extract and good balance between sweet fruit, acidity and firm tannins. Warm finish. (WS)

Fanti 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Impenetrable dark ruby with black tinge. Very accessible and flirty nose, but also developed with dark sweet fruit, Black Forest gateau, tobacco leaf and the merest hint of tar. Cinnamon bark too. Same flirty, popular, almost rich sweet appeal on the palate. International and lacking somewhat in identity. But doubtless appealing. Seems set for immediate consumption. (WS)

Fattoi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very dark, already developed ruby, broad orange rim with brown tinge. Popular leather and candied fruit nose and perhaps a hint of horse saddle. Sweet, opulent fruit too on the palate, only to be tempered by acidity. Mass appeal? (WS)

La Fiorita 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2015
Very dark, almost impenetrable. Quite international chocolatey dark-fruit nose with hint of leather, almost horse saddle. Palate shows little generosity in fruit and quite stalky tannins, but more fragrant on the finish. (WS)

Fornacina 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14 Drink 2012-2014
Developed orange ruby. Forest floor and leather. A touch of horse saddle. Quite rustic and hollow on the palate. (WS)

La Fortuna 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14 Drink 2012-2014
Deep concentrated ruby, orange tinge. Almost youthful compared with many other samples of this vintage. Sweet, heady and with hints of candied peel. The structure has not a lot of fruit to hold on to. (WS)

La Fuga 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Very dark, almost impenetrable. Open knit with red and dark fruit, baking spice and cherry-pie nose, with the beginnings of tertiary aromas. Compact and stalky. (WS)

Fossacolle 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2015
Deep ruby with brownish orange tinges. Vegetal and shoe polish opening. Elegant body, but seems to struggle between overripeness and underripeness at the same time. (WS)

Fuligni 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Medium-concentrated very mature-looking orange ruby, but with concentrated centre. Cherry cake and tiramisu, hints of vanilla. More fruit driven with aeration. Except for the grainy, dominant tannins, it cannot shake off the somewhat sweet impression it leaves behind. (WS)

Fuligni, Le Chiuse di Sotto 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Dark, and well-developed ruby, with broad orange rim. Also here the first hints are of dried fruit, but with very sexy oak handling. Quite skilled winemaking, but palate sways between austerity and sweetness. Will improve. (WS)

La Gerla 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2017
Quite lovely Bordeaux-like maturing ruby with orange tinges. Backward and closed, sweet, almost oriental spice. Lovely freshness and sweetness on the palate with medium-bodied feel. Quite understated and appealing. (WS)

Innocenti 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Medium-concentrated orange ruby with brown tinge. Earthy, balsamic, hints of bacon. Touch vegetal. Very sweet fruit impression on the palate reinforced by the low acidity. Astringent stalky tannins. (WS)

Lisini 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Maturing ruby tending towards brownish tinges. Warm, peppery, quite complex, but firmly in the dried fruit spectrum. As heady as the nose is, the more austere the palate. High acidity dominates the dried fruit finish. (WS)

Leonardo da Vinci, Da Vinci Collezione Speciale 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2014
Evolved orange ruby. Attractive at first, but much more restrained on the palate, lacking concentration. Does not live up to its 'Speciale' tag. (WS)

Le Macioche 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2015
Deep, brown-tinged ruby with brown-orange rim. Ever so slightly farmyardy. Firmly closed and astringent, and hard to detect fruit underneath, which pops up on the finish. Will the fruit ever come out? (WS)

La Magia 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2015
Opaque dark ruby with brownish-red tinges. Powerful nose with dried fruit notes, meaty notes too, and parmesan. Underneath it all lingering cherry. Livelier on the palate, with good length, but there doesn’t seem to be sufficient extract to balance out the astringency. (WS)

Mastrojanni 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Medium ruby with brownish tinges. Balsamic nose and taut, compact palate. Tannic but not astringent. High acidity melts away on the finish. Ends warm with subdued aromatic development. Wait. (WS)

Cantina di Montalcino 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2014
This Cantina was acquired by the Cantina Leonardi Da Vinci from Vinci, near Florence. Medium-deep ruby with brown tinge and orange rim. Almost Amarone-like nose with hints of cinnamon. Quite attractive fruit, but very big, stalky tannic structure. (WS)

Silvio Nardi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very dark with orange/brown rim. Intensely sweet fruitcake and dried fruit nose. Palate much less forward with astringent tannins. Seems very unsettled at this stage. Wait. (WS)

Silvio Nardi, Manachiara 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very dark with a broad orange rim. Backward, slightly alcoholic opening. Same backward palate, with what looks like an elevated level of alcohol. Fruit just about to shine through. Needs more time. (WS)

Il Palazzone 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14 Drink 2012-2014
Deep, mature orange ruby. Distinctly vegetal underneath fruit cake. Vegetal notes too underneath sweet fruit. (WS)

Il Paradiso di Manfredi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 13.5 Drink 2010-2010
Brownish red ruby. Opens with Sunmaid raisins aroma and the merest suggestion of Marsala. The palate resembles a skeleton with cloth wrapped around it. Oxidative finale. (WS)

Pian delle Vigne (Antinori) 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2015
Medium deep, with orange/brown rim of medium concentration. Fine nose, sweet and with hints of cinnamon and incense. Good balance between fruit and acidity. The palate seems quite mellow and soft with fairly low acidity. Slightly rustic, drying tannins and a warm finish. Already quite approachable. (WS)

Agostina Pieri 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Medium deep and quite youthful looking for the vintage. Inviting sweet complex peppery nose with maraschino cherry with a pinch of spicy oak. Herbal notes too. Impressive, rich sweet fruit, kept in check by lifting acidity. Bitter tannins, which complement the wine. Slightly burning finish. (WS)

La Poderina 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2014
Opaque, deep ruby with black tinge. Somewhat vegetal and spicy and reluctant. Quite interesting on the palate, though, but it remains to be seen if this turns into something more complex. (WS)

Il Poggione 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2015
Deep developed ruby. Chocolate fruitcake and cherry. Alcoholic. Similar aromatics on palate but struggles with the big structure. Astringent. (WS)

Le Ragnaie 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Medium-concentrated with broad orange-tinged rim. Stewed nose, fruitcake. Sweet stewed fruit and high acidity. Unbalanced. (WS)

Castello Romitorio 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Evolved dark ruby. Opens up slowly to fine, subdued strawberry and spice. Restrained cherry and black tea leaf. Drying but finely structured tannin. Elegant, not unlike a very slim supermodel. (WS)

Villa Poggio Salvi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Deep mature-looking ruby with an orange-brown tinge. Savoury, earthy, tobacco-leaf fruit nose with the merest suggestion of leather. Palate marked by acidity, but fragrant fruitcake and liquorice finish of medium length. (WS)

San Filippo 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Very deep ruby with black tinge. Subdued with hints of farmyard. Palate is all spine and little flesh. (WS)

San Polino 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Medium-concentrated maturing ruby with a broad orange rim. Dried fruit and cherry. Quite sinewy and a touch austere. Slightly rustic persistent tannic structure, but finish shows multilayered and complex if in the fruitcake and spice spectrum. (WS)

San Polino, Helichrysum 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Deep, almost impenetrable. Sweet, multilayered, almost powerful nose. Dried fruit spectrum but lots happening here. Palate shows great freshness and compactness of fruit, very well balanced with crunchy tannins. Very long and satisfying. (WS)

Poggio San Polo 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Deep, if somewhat lacklustre ruby with orange tinges. Sweet and a touch jammy. Sweet-sour fruit, quite refreshing if not overtly complex or long. For mid-term drinking. (WS)

Livio Sassetti (Pertimali) 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2015
Very deep, concentrated brown ruby with concentrated orange-brown rim. Opulent, sweet and somewhat stewed. Hints of kitchen spice. Lengthy sweet fruit on the palate. Not the most complex, and the hot vintage shows itself clearly in the fruit character. (WS)

Sesti 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2017
Evolved medium-concentrated ruby with orange tinges in broad rim. Garden herbs and forest-floor nose with hints of tar. Elegant lively fruit palate. Elegant too, the long finish. Tannic core. (WS)

Talenti 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Developed reddish-brown ruby, concentrated rim. Balsamic, herbal. Herb liqueur and dried fruit. More complex flavours on the palate, with sweet fruitcake notes balanced by succulent acidity. Tannins frame a long, almost sweet finish. (WS)

Terre Nere 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Deep dark evolved Bordeaux look-a-like ruby. Very appealing, posh well-balanced oak nose. Mellow sweet fruit with a layer of stalky tannins and acidity only making its mark on the finish. (WS)

Uccelliera 2005 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2017
Almost opaque, dark brownish ruby, with a narrow orange rim. Sweet herb liqueur and Black Forest gateau. Same generosity on the palate cut by high acidity, but overall balance is there. (WS)


BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 2004

Angelini, Vigna Spuntali Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2010-2017
Deep, dark ruby with slight orange-brown tinge. Ripe, multilayered and very appealing. Full-bodied sweet-sour fruit palate and generous long finish with pleasant grainy tannins. Popular style. (WS) 14.5%

Poggio Antico, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17.5 Drink 2012-2018
Very dark, impenetrable. Opens with nutmeg, hints of black pepper becoming increasingly more complex with aeration, followed by wonderful intense but not overtly sweet fruit. Long and persistent finish with flattering crunchy tannins. Distinctly international apppearance, but very well made. (WS) 13.5%

Banfi, Poggio all'Oro Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2010-2016
Deep, dark ruby of medium concentration. Soft, warm nose with hints of tobacco, new oak, and the beginning of tar. Not overtly complex on the palate but concentrated nevertheless, with a warm finish. (WS) 14%

Barbi, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Well evolved, very dark ruby with orange rim. Fine backward nose of sweet black fruits and hints of undergrowth. Concentrated, and quite youthful on the palate with grainy tannins. Just beginning to open up. (WS) 14%

Gianni Brunelli, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 18 Drink 2012-2019
Very deep, almost opaque. Sweet, dried cherry and tea leaves. Lip-smacking red and dark fruit and fine powdery but persistent tannins. Refreshing and elegant. (WS) 13.5%

Gianni Brunelli, Le Chiuse di Sotto Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Deep, maturing ruby with broad orange-ruby rim. Shy to open up, red fruits and hints of graphite. Youthful. Crunchy sweet-sour fruit impression. Ripe tannic structure. Fragrant, sweet and long. Ends a touch warm. (WS) 14%

Camigliano, Gualto Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2017
Almost impenetrably dark with a light orange rim. Seriously concentrated and a touch alcoholic. Juicy red and dark fruits and an edge of candied peel/dried fruit. Persistent but finely structured tannins. Long, generous finish. (WS) 14%

Canalicchio di Franco Pacenti, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17.5 Drink 2012-2018
Deep, evolved and quite mature-looking orange ruby. Sweet and earthy, but a lively bright concentrated cherry. Lots of juiciness here and firm tannic layer. Endlessly long. (WS) 14%

Capanna, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Deep, dark ruby with an almost black tinge. Oatmeal, cherry liqueur, hints of vanilla and the beginning of tertiary notes. Good persistence on the palate, but slightly rustic structure. (WS) 14.5%

Caparzo, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2015
Dark and slightly lacklustre ruby. Very backward, closed nose. Concentrated, intense dark fruit, with astringent and slightly bitter tannins. (WS) 14%

Caprili, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2010-2014
Opaque deep ruby, with almost black tinges. Opulent and popular dried fruit and cherries in alcohol with spicy oak note. Contrasting sweet, dried fruit and high acidity. Lacks stuffing? (WS) 14.5%

Castelgiocondo, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2016
Deep dark ruby with a black tinge. Interesting but very subdued nose. Same restrained palate opening up to sweet, jammy fruit, but astringent tannins are fiercely dominating at this stage. (WS) 13.5%

Castiglion del Bosco, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2010-2017
Very dark ruby with black tinge. Opulent forest-fruit nose. Big mouthful of dark sweet fruit and cherry and cassis notes. Very long and alcoholic and rich, quite a balancing act. (WS) 14.5%

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2018
Evolved dark and mature-looking ruby. Nose not yet opening up, but hints of liqorice, oatmeal and candied cherry. Intensely sweet fruit attack with bitter, coating tannin. Long and big. (WS) 14.5%

Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Dark, somewhat lacklustre ruby. Developed leathery fruit at first, with aeration more depth. Concentrated sweet fruit with acidic play giving tension to the palate. Slightly rustic, but not coarse, tannins. Very nice, multilayered length. (WS) 13.5%

Le Chiuse, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2015
Dark with brownish-orange tinges. Sweet vanilla and leather, and a vegetal streak. Slight vegetalness or earthiness seems at odd with the sweet, dark fruit. (WS) 14%

Col d'Orcia, Poggio al Vento Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Deep medium-concentrated ruby with a broad orange rim. Herbal, almost vegetal and savoury nose. Length indicates more is to come. (WS) 14%

Fattoi, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2010-2015
Very dark, opaque. Sweet caramelised dark fruit and horse saddle and nutmeg. Acidity gives the palate a juicy quality, but the finish ever so slightly dries out. (WS)

La Fiorita, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2017
Dark ruby. Slightly sweaty nose with hints of oak and touch of band aid. Lots of dark, ripe fruit on the palate, only tempered by drying tannins. (WS) 14%

Fornacina, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2010-2018
Deep concentrated ruby, with an orange tinge on the concentrated rim. Heady, ever so slightly port-like with hints of rose petals. Concentrated, succulent fruit, and compact, drying tannins, great frame. (WS) 14%

La Fuga, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2010-2016
Cask sample. Very dark, impenetrable. Openly international with plummy fruit and the beginning of tertiary tobacco notes. Vanilla hint on long extracted finish. Slightly drying finish. (WS)

La Gerla, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2017
Quite youthful, dark ruby, small rim just starting to lighten up. Balsamic and slightly vegetal nose. Intense sweet-sour contrast with a port-like, slighly stewed sweet fruit finish. (WS) 14%

Innocenti, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2014
Quite mature orange ruby. Sweet, rich, a touch alcoholic. Quite sweet attack too, but lacks lasting power on the finish. Bitter note. Already tired? (WS) 14%

Lisini, Ugolaia Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 18 Drink 2012-2020
Deep, almost impenetrable ruby with a tiny rim beginning to lighten up. Dark brooding fruit with hint of moroccan leather. Herb liqueur hint. Well balanced palate, fruit keeps on opening up into the finish. Classy with potential. (WS) 14%

La Magia, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2012-2016
Very deep, almost opaque with black tinge. Balsamic, savoury nose with hint of black olive. Richly fruity with somewhat rustic tannins. Popular. (WS) 14%

Siro Pacenti, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2012-2015
Deep, almost opaque but more youthful looking than most wines of this vintage. Touch leathery and not entirely focused. Lacks concentration. Somewhat coarse finish too. (WS)

Il Palazzone, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2019
Deep, mature ruby with orange-brown tinges in rim. Closed nose, hints of liquorice. Slow to open up on the palate, but lots of ripe dark fruit on the finish, with balancing acidity. (WS) 13.5%

Il Paradiso di Manfredi, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 14.5 Drink 2012-2015
Dark ruby. Quite vegetal nose. Sweet fruit with unripe highish acidity and slightly astringent too. (WS) 13.5%

Pian delle Vigne (Antinori), Vigna Ferrovia Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Cask sample. Dark ruby with broad orange-tinged rim. Very sweet fruit nose. Richly fruity and long but with distinct dried fruit character. (WS)

La Poderina, Poggio Banale Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2018
Very dark, imprenetrable. Posh oak and forest fruit. Jam, stalky tannins. Deserves cellaring. (WS) 13.5%

Il Poggione, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2016
Evolved dark ruby. First impression is of fruit steeped in alcohol, port-like, almost. Same rich sweet fruit on the palate, shot through by jumpy acidity. Ends warm. A big drink. (WS) 14.5%

Castello Romitorio, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2012-2019
Very deep, dark, opaque ruby with a black tinge. Beautiful mature fruit and oak nose. Restrained but succulent fruit palate with juicy acidity. Closes slightly up on a complex, fragrant finish. Very young still. (WS) 14%

San Filippo, Le Lucere Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16.5 Drink 2010-2016
Very dark and starting to look mature with small brickstone rim. Savoury with hints of white pepper. Palate shows much more open. Well balanced with good extracts and length. (WS) 14%

San Polino, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2010-2017
Deep ruby with the beginning of orange on a narrow rim. Quite sweet initially with notes of vanilla, and hint of cardamon. Great balance and richness of fruit, with depth and hint of vanilla pod on the finish. Accessible and with depth. (WS) 14.5%

San Polo, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2010-2016
Cask sample. Deep, almost opaque ruby. Hints of new oak and leather. Concentrated and sweet on the attack, the leather note dominates the stalky, warm finish at this stage. (WS)

Livio Sassetti (Pertimali), Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15.5 Drink 2010-2015
Cask sample. Dark and dangerously mature looking. Savoury, white pepper and dark chocolate. Just enough acidity to keep this big, plummy mouthful going. (WS)

Sesti, Phenomena Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 15 Drink 2010-2015
Cask sample. Very mature, deep ruby with brown tinge and orange tinges. Balsamic, herbal opening and very round and accessible, quite un-Sangiovese-like. Seems to mature quickly. (WS)

Talenti, Pian del Conte Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 16 Drink 2012-2017
Mature-looking ruby with orange-tinged rim. Black tea, dark chocolate and cherry compote. Subdued. Intense fruit lifted by acidity. More mellow finish. (WS) 14%

Uccelliera, Riserva 2004 Brunello di Montalcino 17 Drink 2012-2018
Opaque, deep ruby. Quite plummy, cherry, herb liqueur and orange peel. Perhaps only a touch oxidative. Surprisingly lean, tight palate, but very long. Will need more time. (WS) 14.5%