Brunello for the Ages

Rarely will I review the same brand two days in a row, but such is the nature of *organized* tastings. This morning at 10 AM Pacific, I had to open this bad boy and share it with a group of other “influencers”. Their word–not mine. So, with barely a couple drags out of the bottle, it has sat here all day waiting for me. Nearly identical color and body to the Rosso of last night, perhaps a bit deeper towards the ruby-scale from its clear, amber-tinged garnet. Smelling much more tincure-ish, the nose brings up many vermouth-rouge notes and even Aperol-type bitters. The fruit runs much darker cherry, black and concentrated, and the bramble lying at the core a deep woodsy instead of younger–cheaper–version’s candied bright berry. It’s obviously ripe and thick, with heady alcohol coating every surface. The elegance is unmistakable, the barnyard refined and compost-y, but the herbaceous funk is everywhere: a testament to old-world Sangiovese and the house-style.

Apparently, 2015 was a quite warm year, and the 14-5 the wine ultimately displayed a bit higher than normal. This is probably why it shows so well at this young age: an almost *California* version which will no doubt be popular with their export market. Still, it’s a classic–and not particularly 99%-friendly. Obviously, I drink a lot of California wines, a good number of California Sangiovese’s, and also a generous helping of Tuscan 100% Sangio’s which are NOT Brunello’s, Rosso Montalcino’s or Chianti’s. These wines tend to be riper and rounder and fuller-fruited than the classic Italians, with vegetal funk firmly in check to appeal to the new-world demographic and possibly stemming from the scourge of Super-Tuscan-inspired palates. I love those versions of Sangiovese, but something like this takes you back a hundred years.

Clean and calm in the mouth, acid displaying at levels I don’t believe the “14-5” will ever have an issue with. The rich fruit is firmly integrated with tannin, making the two nearly inseparable. Brash and violently structured, peppery briar clanging away at the earth and mineral crispness and funkiness completely forgotten. I don’t have to sell you this wine: if you know, you know.

2015 BIONDI-SANTI Sangiovese Brunello Di Montalcino Tuscany Italy 14.5

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