Archive for July, 2016

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino

Biond-Santi remains a beacon for traditionally made Rosso and Brunello. At 90 years of age, Franco Biondi-Santi insisted on leading my tasting of wines from cask and bottle. The years go by for all of us, but I haven’t seen any decrease in Biondi-Santi’s enthusiasm and passion. The Biondi-Santi wines are more approachable young than they used to be, but little else appears to have changed. Biondi-Santi harvests on the early side. The wines see long macerations on the skins – in steel for the straight Brunello (also known as the Annata) and oak for the Riserva – and are then aged in large oak casks.

2007 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino
94 pts

A Sangiovese Grosso Dry Red Table wine from Italy, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy

The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is gorgeous. The estate’s preference for picking on the early side is one of the factors that help balance some of the fleshiness of the vintage. This is an especially silky, supple Brunello from Biondi-Santi. The overt personality of the year comes through, but not at the expense of the house’s style. Floral notes reappear to frame the elegant, expressive finish. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2037.




About Biondi-Santi

Ferruccio took his grandfather’s clone of the Sangiovese grape, known as Sangiovese Grosso and identified as BBS11, to produce the inaugural Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino. At this time, the prized wine of Montalcino was not a red but rather, a sweet white, Moscadello di Montalcino, derived from the Muscat grape. Ferruccio’s pioneering spirit that embraced experimentation with clones, low yields, long maceration periods, long aging in wood, and cellar aging changed the history of Brunello.

With each generation at Biondi-Santi, Ferruccio’s vision advances a step further. His son, Tancredi, assumed control of the estate in 1922, effectually becoming the ambassador for Montalcino’s wines. More importantly, he possessed the insight to stock vintage wines—including the legendary 1888 and 1891—under lock and key. In 1927, he instituted the custom of topping off old bottles with wine from the same vintage and then recorking them, thus ensuring the integrity and age-worthiness of the wine. Indeed, Tancredi wrote the standards for the DOC that eventually formed the law regulating Brunello production.

Under Tancredi’s guidance, the wines of Biondi-Santi achieved legendary status. Tancredi’s 1970 recorking ceremony attracted worldwide attention, as his 82-year-old wine evidenced unprecedented youth and splendor. Tancredi turned the estate over to his son, Franco, who further solidified Il Greppo’s place in history. Until his passing in April 2013 at the age of 91, Franco Biondi-Santi, known as both “Il Dottore” and the “Gentleman of Montalcino,” ran the estate, producing nearly 70,000 bottles a year of classic, traditional, collectable wines. Biondi-Santi’s lean, aromatic and thoroughly remarkable Brunellos are best known for their incredible ability to age. Even 100-year-old Brunello from Biondi-Santi shows remarkably well.

Biondi Santi releases both an Annata, or normale bottling, and a Riserva bottling, making both only in good vintages and the latter only in great. While the Annata derives from vines between the ages of ten and 15 years, the Riserva derives from older vines between 25 and 80 years of age. sourced primarily from the iconic, historic Greppo plot. Grapes for both wines are sourced primarily from the Greppo plot, which consists of stony galestro soil intermixed with tufaceous clay. Biondi-Santi’s trademark aromatics and acidity, however, is attributable to the vineyard’s altitude that ranges between 1,300-1,600 feet above sea level. Both the Annata and the Riserva undergo fermentation in traditional Slavonian oak for 18 days, followed by aging in large oak casks of 800 to 7,000 liters for a period of two to three years, and the Riserva is released six years after the harvest.

The late great Franco Biondi Santi always said he wanted to make wines that were never old enough to drink, and the 1982 Riserva we offer today illustrates how long-aging, cellar-worthy and infinitely beautiful his wines were. To enjoy a Biondi-Santi Brunello as Franco would, slowly aerate it before drinking: uncork the wine, pour out about an ounce or two to increase the air-to-wine ratio in the bottle, and let the wine breathe slowly for approximately eight hours. Then, take your time to enjoy each and every sip.


The Reason You Need to Buy a 2010 Brunello Today

Tracy Byrnes
July 2016

The 2010 Brunellos are hitting the shelves of your favorite wine shop as you read this.

And while times are tight and many people don’t agree with spending a little extra money on a bottle of wine, for those of you who enjoy drinking it and are looking to make a sound investment decision in the wine world

What is a Brunello di Montalcino?

It’s a red wine made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes that are strictly grown in Montalcino.

Now Sangiovese is the grape of Tuscany, but like all things, location matters. Montalcino is a Tuscan city on a big hill so the land is very different than, say, in Siena, also in Tuscany, but 20 miles south and flatter.

So that makes the grapes very different. The Sangiovese grapes from Montalcino are browner, hence the name Brunello, which sort of translates to “little brown one.”

And they also have thicker skins, which means they have more tannins,

Tannins are the stuff in wine that makes the middle of your tongue and the front part of your mouth feel dry, but you need them because they give the wine structure and help it age. The tannins will soften and that dry feeling will go away after the wine has been in the bottle for a few years. Hence the need for patience in the wine world.

Now to be a Brunello, the Italians have all these funky rules. The wine must be aged for at least four years (five for it to be a Riserva). Two of those years must be spent in oak, and the wine must be bottled at least four months prior to commercial release.