Our lunch group had another stellar luncheon at our usual venue, The Santa Barbara Club. Our wine theme was Brunello.
In addition to 14 wines [13 Brunellos, 1 Chianti Classico], we had 2 starters and 5 dessert wines. When you do the math, that`s quite a few bottles for 15 people, also the usual.
We had a nice 5 course menu to pair with the following wines:
The first of 2 starter wines:
2015 BRANDER ROSE- made from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, this light red refreshing rose was a great place with which to prepare our palates; it was light and cheerful, lightly fruity and really pleasant; quite a dichotomy from what might be expected from these 2 varietals even in a rose; owner/ winemaker Fred who attended was pleased to share.
2007 MARCASSIN THREE SISTERS VINEYARD SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY- this was brought by one who has graced a dinner group we belong to with numerous wines from this producer, but been discouraged from doing so by our leader who is not enamored with them; so, he saw fit to share it with this group and thankfully so as this was a pretty fine Chardonnay IMHO; I liked the toasty apple, pear and citrus notes enhanced with Asian spices, bright acidity and a creamy, rich texture which served to stretch out the finish; it was in perfect balance and a treat from the nose through the tail.
The first flight of 4 Brunellos:
1997 ARGIANO BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- this bottle had some slight bricking and more evidence of aging in the tertiary fruit profile albeit a decent, enjoyable wine; it had a distinct earthiness to go long with some leather amidst the dark fruit notes that included more distinct cranberry; it was full bodied with some depth and length.
Interestingly, a few of us stayed around afterwards and re-tasted a few bottles and discovered another bottle of this wine that was close to being full. We had no idea as to who brought it and how this happened, but we did enjoy a few more tastes which were fairly reminiscent of the first bottle.
1997 CAMPOGIOVANNI BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- after noticing some aging in the color, the nose suggested it was clearly corked; since I have been respectfully and softly calling out flawed wines in the past, much to the disgruntlement of some of the group, it was refreshing to hear 5 or 6 others chime in “corked” as I just sat there and nodded.
2006 BIONDI-SANTI BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- an interesting selection to fit into the first flight with 2 97`s and 1 90`, this was the star of the first show for me albeit a youngster in comparison; it had an abundance of fresh, forward and yet pleasantly blended ripe wild fruit with an emphasis on wild blackberry which was accentuated with some chocolate and mild sandalwood; it was full bodied, complex and so fruity good; in time, it even seemed more mature and evolved with the myriad of flavors coming together; a really fine wine with years to go; one of my favs on the day.
1990 ALTESINO BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- the nose had a musty character that continued on and throughout; this wine had some predominantly cranberry flavors that dissipated toward the end; it finished a bit on the dry side; I`ve had a quite a few wines from this producer and all have been very good although I do not believe any of this one from this vintage; I`m thinking this is a bottle variation for this wine.
The 2nd flight of 3 Brunellos:
2004 ARGIANO BRUNELLO di MONTACINO- this had some of the wild cranberry/ cherry notes I picked up in others on this day; it was pleasant, had firm structure, OK mouthfeel and a decent finish.
1999 CAMIGLIANO BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- musty aromatics again jump out at first and are joined by a taste profile of pleasant fresh, dark fruit which belie its age with youthful, vibrant notes; it was full bodied and had good length.
2004 GIANNI BRUNELLI BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO RISERVA- there was an immediate sense this was a big time winner and it did not disappoint; the nose was very inviting and the taste
profile was further confirmation of the class and integrity this wine had; inundated with blueberry, black cherry and plum, it had fine acidity, a soft and smooth texture and was in perfect balance; by far, my fav of the day after the first go around; some others shined ever so brightly as well.
The 3rd flight of 4 Brunellos:
2004 CASTELGIOCONDO BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- young, vibrant fruit is immediately sensed in the nose and followed through in the taste; this includes cedar infused blackberry and blueberry notes which hang on until late in the palate as it finishes somewhat dry; this bottle could stand some time for the marriage of its components to come together; decanting is highly recommended.
2004 VALDACAVA BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- another young, vibrant, energetic wine that needs time and has all of the stuffing to evolve into something extra special and it`s good now; it`s so concentrated, serious, big bodied and complex with layers after layers coming unfolding; the fruit has an abundance of coffee, mocha infused blackberry, plum and blueberry which ride from the nose to the late palate before being overwhelmed by the firm tannins; I`m happy to have some of this in the cellar and now will just allow it to age gracefully.
2003 CONTI COSTANTI BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- this showed real good with nice fresh dark fruit offering a good taste experience throughout; it was medium bodied, had some complexity and structure and decent length.
1995 PIEVE SANTA RESTITUTA “rennina” [GAJA] BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- decanted prior to pouring; good at the outset and improving by the minute in the glass, this wondrous wine had a lot going for it; beautifully structured, it illustrated magnificence with layers of depth and complexity amidst a fruit profile including spicy, chocolate covered blackberry, plum and black currant and firm tannins; it grew on the palate and came to a long sustained climatic finish.
The 4th flight of 2 Brunellos and 1 Chianti Classico:
2007 FATTORIA LA GERLA BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO RISERVA- this had a lot of different tasty notes than its predecessors; I got a lot of talc, cedar, clove, sandalwood inundated red cherry and cranberry with a touch of wildness; it came on as being quite youthful with its exuberance and fruit forwardness; somehow, it impressed more than most others on this day and I had it in my top 5.
2004 POGGIO il CASTELLARE BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO- in a medium + body, this wine delivered really nice black raspberry, cherry and plum notes; it had some pretty stiff tannins that softened a bit by mid to late palate; the structure is such, I expect this to be around for a long time and mature in 10+ years and then stay the course for a few years afterwards.
2007 CASTELLO di AMA VIGNETO BELLAVISTA CHIANTI CLASSICO- made from Malvasia, Sangiovese and Merlot; this was one of my favs of the day, if not the fav after a 2nd time through; loved the soft and silky mouthfeel to accompany the talc, violets and rose petals accented cranberry and black cherry with the late arriving Bing cherry; it had perfect balance and a wonderful and welcomed long finish displaying the culmination of power and finesse.
The 5th flight of 5 dessert wines:
2015 PAUL LATO KISS ME AGAIN- this sweetie from a local winemaker who was in attendance was majorly sweet from the nose on; it had serious talc embellished red cherry liqueur served up in a creamy thick texture with a sticky residue coating the palate until a mouthwash or 2; made from 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah.
1987 AVIGNONESI VIN SANTO di MONTEPULCIANO- 375 ml bottle; with a Sherry brown color, this sweet gem was more than serious; it was thick and creamy and tasted like a Sherry with loads of caramel and maple flavoring supporting; even after just a small sip, it was another sticky requiring a mouth washing to move on.
2007 PAOLO RODARO PICOLIT COLLI ORIENTALI del FRUILLI- 375ml bottle; the nose was not nearly as big and bold as those before it; in fact, it was subtle and elegant with hints of peach and apricot which came on a little stronger in the taste; additionally, in came some honeyed apple, kiwi and grapefruit; this would be classified as the more effeminate of all the dessert wines we had.
1990 QUERCIABELLA VIN SANTO del CHIANTI CLASSICO ORLANDO- 375 ml bottle; made from Trebbiano and Malvasia; caramel colored, this had raisin maple nutty Sherry flavoring served up in a gooey, sticky substance.
2003 [CAMPOGIOVANNI] SAN FELICE VIN del CHIANTI CLASSICO- 750 ml bottle; another Trebbiano blend, this came off as a bit green; it had some mild maple flavors with a touch of honeyed apple; I`m guessing this needs some time to evolve.
As stated early on herein, a few of us stayed and re-tasted to find a treasure that was 4/5 full plus some re-visits to a few others. After 4 hours, it was time to call it a day and as usual, a good one at that.
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