HK Wine Society Tasting & Dinner: Mature Brunello, 1975-1998

Langham Palace Hotel, Mongkok, Hong Kong
Tasted Wednesday, April 29, 2015 by Goldstone with 418 views

Introduction

Nigel of HKWS very kindly put together a superb blind tasting to test the thesis that Brunello doesn't age as well as Barolo. He then pulled two of HKWS' "last of the 'stash' 1990 Brunellos as centrepiece of a super Tuscan-themed dinner.

Flight 1 - Blind Tasting (12 Notes)

12 wines under some time pressure......it was prudent to keep some of the better ones to savour after the results had been collected.

  • 1975 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 92 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent amber-brown colour. Nose is musty, high-toned and clearly old. Palate was light, bright crisp acidity, dry biscuit finish....very dry. Quite reverberant. This really blossomed into a lovely wine before fading sadly into prune juice. 92 at its height.

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  • 1977 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino 87 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent bright cherry colour with a slightly brown edge. Nose has good black cherry fruit, graphite and nail varnish. Palate is bright, lively, extremely dry but enjoyable 'brick dust', stone fruit. Very approachable but not much length and faded very quickly. This was the 'Giuseppe Cencioni' release.

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  • 1990 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 90 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent and very young-looking red cherry colour. Nose of black cherry and oak, quite tight. Palate seemed very slightly corked, very dry, lots of fruit, powerful, muscular and quite heady. The bottle drank over dinner was better, perhaps because of a longer decant.

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  • 1990 Val di Suga (Angelini) Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Lago 90 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent, bright and youthful-looking but with a hint of amber at the meniscus. Nose is very reticent but hints at ripe raspberry and faint oak....young. Palate is youngish but has extended into its drinking window. Nail varnish on entry, good dry brick and fruit then very resonant and reverberant inside the head on the finish. A great wine that I really 'get'. This was the group's #2 and my #6.

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  • 1990 Val di Suga (Angelini) Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Spuntali 93 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent almost purple-red but with an amber edge. Nose is tight and oaky, muscular and high-toned. Palate is absolutely beautiful....fruit-driven rich but light and very balanced. Growling resonance and heady on the finish. Great length. Super. My #3. There was quite considerable bottle variation and he bottle at dinner wasn't quite so exciting.

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  • 1995 Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 88 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Translucent purple-red colour and clearly one of the youngsters. Nose of nail varnish, light and almost dilute, reticent. Palate is similarly light, dilute and feminine with raspberry fruits and a dry tannic finish of raspberry pips. Very mouth-drying on the finale although with some resonance. Too young.

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  • 1997 Azienda Agricola due Portine (Gorelli) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 83 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Bright, transparent jeweled ruby colour. Nose had lots of red cherry but was closed and hard to coax. Palate is light, very fruity, almost Beaujolais.....meh! My #12, the Group's #1.....weird.

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  • 1998 Soldera (Az. Agr. Case Basse) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 92 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Transparent, brightly-jewelled ruby colour. Nose is closed but with nail varnish and strawberry fruits, lots of oak, hints of a big Burgundy. Palate is sharp acidic attack, light and definitely young but with a puzzling and alluring lightness and power. I really liked this but thought it was perhaps a Burgundy 'ringer'. Would love to re-visit. My #4, Group's #4.

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  • 1988 Cerbaiola (Salvioni) Brunello di Montalcino 94 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Semi-transparent and the colour of heavy old velvet curtains. One of the older wines? Nose is heavy and bulky...lots of oak but well integrated...muscular and powerful. Palate is immediately...GREAT! Open, fruity, poweful, integrated, good resonance and a forever reverberance on the finish. Simply superb. My#1, Group's #3. I wrote "BUY!" beside my tasting notes.

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  • 1988 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa 86 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Semi-translucent ruby-purple colour (I wrote "clearly one of the young wines"). Nose is closed and dominated by the oak. Palate was too young, heady, too much alcohol, very dry tannin, "come back in 5 years". Very surprised when it was revealed as a 1988.

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  • 1995 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 87 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Colour is rich, deep semi-transparent jeweled ruby. Nose is closed - oaky, too much varnish, too young. Palate is a lovely accessible balance of fruit and oak but still very primary. Chocolate. Heady and muscular. Needs quite a few more years to develop. Apparently an under-recognized producer and an under-recognized vintage so is good QPR.....it might have something to do with the very 'rustic' label on the bottle.

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  • 1995 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio All'Oro 93 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Tasted blind in a line-up of 12. Semi-transparent purple-red colour and young-looking. Nose is beautifully floral and with wafts of warm strawberries with classic BdM paint thinner/nail varnish remover in the background whereas it would normally be in the foreground. Palate is just deliciously accessible....light, feminine and Burgundian....very light but with a totally surprising heady and extremely reverberant finish. Lovely. My #2 and just marginally bettered by the Cerbaiola di Salvioni 1988.

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Flight 2 - Scallops, Crab, Lobster, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Apple, Fennel & Pink Grapefruit (1 Note)

A super first dish from Chef Paul McLoughlin, who is an old friend of HKWS

  • 2012 Ca' Marcanda (Gaja) Vistamare Toscana IGT 87 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT

    Bright, youthful silver-gold colour. Nose is oily (that's the Vermentino) but light and citric, fresh saddle leather, saddle soap - so aromatic. Palate is moderate acidity, great weight, heady resonance and reverberance inside the head on the swallow but a rather flat 'stinging nettles' mid-palate lets it down badly.....you can only taste the barrel and not the wine. A pity because the nose promised so much.

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Flight 3 - Braised Iberico Pork Cheeks with Hand-Cut Pasta, Pine Nut Sauce & Leaves (1 Note)

This was a gorgeous dish and really complimented the Argiano

  • 1990 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 91 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Transparent, jeweled, purple-hued crimson watery at the meniscus. Phenolic nose of nail varnish remover, black cherry,cocoa 100% black chocolate, still quite prominent oak. Palate is lovely acidic freshness, elegant and harmonious higher-toned black and red cherry. Very fresh and vivrant. Nicely elegant length and resonance on the finish. Excellent with food - beautiful with the Iberico park chop.

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Flight 4 - 'Acquerello' Risotto with Mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano & Pesto (1 Note)

Another beautiful and authentically rendered Tuscan dish.

  • 1990 Val di Suga (Angelini) Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Spuntali 91 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Semi-opaque ruby turning slightly to amber at the edge. Nose is....lovely!...fresh, lifted, slightly stinky feral element, high-ish piano notes. Palate is dry red brick dust and air-dried cherries/apricots. Quite meaty and full-mouthed. Heady on the finish and still needs a couple or three years to peak. Great with mushroom rissotto.

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Flight 5 - 'Bisteccia alla Fiorentina': Grilled US Prime Rib-Eye, Parmesan & Panna Cotta (1 Note)

Actually, this was just standard US Prime Rib-Eye......but it was very good.

  • 1999 Podere Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione Riserva 92 Points

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Semi-translucent deep plum-red with a pronounced watery surface meniscus. Nose is very slightly wet fur, feral, musk, deep-toned. Palate is very earthy, meaty, mossy rounded rocks and damp bracken. Elements of Amarone sweetness. Very animalistic - gamey, earthy, complex and complete. Heady, bass-note reverberant finale. I really enjoyed this.

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Flight 6 - Dark Chocolate Gelato, Orange Jelly, Raspberries, Italian Meringue & Biscotti with Coffee

Dark Chocolate Gelato and the remains of several lovely Tuscan reds is not a bad way to end an evening.

Closing

A super evening in great company...the Cerbaiola di Salvioni 1988 absolutely made the case for BdM's longevity.

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