The qualitative assessment of Brunello di Montalcino 2003, assigned by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino , was fixed at 4 stars, meaning an "excellent year". The maximum would have been 5 stars (given in 2004, 2006 and 2007). For reference, 2002 earned two stars.
At the special event "Welcome Brunello 2003" two weekends ago in Montalcino, I was able to enjoy a forty wines blind tasting, all those selected were among the "traditional" Brunello style: the one we usually refer to in Italy as aged in big casks, and consistent with local traditional style, but one that is not so well known abroad.
Dear Snoothers: for me, your reporter at that event, the hot-&-toasted 2003 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino was a disappointment. Period.
Jancis Robinson, the famous british wine writer, had anticipated it thusly: Brunello's lovers, hurry to buy vintage 2001 and earlier, because for at least two years (2002 and 2003) will be better to be very selective in your buyings. Well, Jancis, you got it right. You can think whatever you want, but we must each be very selective in the purchases of this Brunello's vintage.
Here are the five wines that I rated the highest at the event:
* Claudia Ferrero, Pascena - S.Angelo in Colle (SI) Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
Small winery, based at the most southern area of Montalcino, it produces 6,172 bottles of Brunello. Color with limited in garnet tones, very clean, it smells good, aromatically tasty and very rich. One of the best ever tasted there. Congratulations. Price estimated at approx. €20 at the cellar.
* Lambardi , Canalicchio di Sotto - Montalcino (SI) Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
Another family owned winery, with Maurizio Lambardi driving operations. Vigneron shy and reserved, he says only what it's needed, the rest it's done by his wines, all in line with the results I found last year with the 2002 vintage. Aged in big casks (rigorously no barrique), slightly garnet colored, with good and clean perfumes, nice integrity of the taste, it appeared beautifully nervous. Price estimated at approx. €18 at the cellar.
* Lisini , La Chiusa - S.Angelo in Colle (SI) Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
Here we are speaking of a very well known winery. Elina Lisini was co-founder of the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino and represents an important part of the history of this territory. The business success has been assured by his nephew, Lorenzo Lisini Baldi. Twenty hectares of vineyards are the production base of Lisini, located 10 km. south of Montalcino. Lisini's status was at the top of personal approval for this unfortunate vintage: 2003 Brunello made by Lisini finally has a beautiful color, "healthy", with purple tones, crisp and balanced taste, with balanced tannins. A safe purchase, with the price estimated at approx. €45-50 at the wineshop.
* Franco Pacenti - Canalicchio , Canalicchio, Montalcino (SI) Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
Vigneron neighbour of Lambardi, in the basin immediately north of Montalcino's village, known as Canalicchio. Il Brunello di Franco Pacenti ha gusto lungo e aromaticamente assai piacevole, con profumi pulitissimi. Franco Pacenti's Brunello tastes aromatically and long and very pleasant, with nice and clean fragrance. It seemed to me a little too concentrated and dark in color, the tribute to be paid to hot-&-toasted 2003 here in Tuscany and all around Italy. Price estimated at approx. €50-60 at the wineshop.
* Giuseppe Gorelli - Tenuta Le Potazzine , Le Prata, Montalcino (SI) Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003
I got a suggestion from a reader and friend about the quality of this Brunello. And it jumped out of the blind tasting, all by itself. Slightly garnet in color, perfumes correct and clean, finally we got some beautiful balance and elegance in taste. Compliments to Mr. Gorelli, nice work and results. Price estimated at approx. €40 at the cellar.
Mentions of honor for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2003 Il Marroneto , Il Palazzone , Talenti , Uccelliera .
[ Giampiero Nadali is a marketing and interactive communications expert and author of the Italian wine blog, Aristide , where he writes about wine with an outsider and consumer-devoted approach.]
Welcome Brunello 2003
- Reply by Philip James, Mar 6, 2008.
Some pretty general approximations here, but 20 euros equates to around $30 US dollars today. However, with shipping, import and retailer markup that would probably be a $60 wine today...
This is when living in the South of France or in a small Italian mountain village becomes so appealing.
- Blog comment by Giampiero, Mar 6, 2008.
During my last visit in NY, I noticed that many italian wines have very competitive prices in your market. It's probably due to clever negotiatior in US that could be able to leverage on quantities and on the appeal, for an italian winery to be on the shelves of US wine shops.
- Reply by mark, Mar 6, 2008.
We definitely do enjoy a very vibrant wine market here in NYC. Most of the best wine stores are going to have substantial quantities of the wines from Italy and France, along with the usual US staple of California wines. No complaints here!