Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brunello di Montalcino

I've been drinking some very nice wines at the expense of my employer recently. One is a 2001 Brunello di Montalcino by Caparzo. This wine is made from the Brunello grape (a clone of the more familiar Sangiovese grape) in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino in Tuscany.

Like the name "California Cab," "Brunello di Montalcino" denotes not only a grape variety and a place of origin but also a particular style of wine. However, unlike its American counterpart, Italian wines that enjoy the "Brunello di Montalcino" designation must also meet rigorous standards that control the planting, cultivation and fertilization of the grapes, and the aging and bottling of the wines.

Caparzo's Brunello di Montalcino was aged 36 months in Slovenian and French oak barrels and one year in the bottle before being released to the public. The producer describes the bouquet of the wine as "penetrating, very full and varied, reminiscent of wild berries." I thought it was a wonderful full-bodied wine. It combined richness and complexity of flavor with accessibility to one's palate. I'm glad Jorge Gracia recommended it.

This great wine can be purchased for $50 at, but we (or rather, my employer) paid $75 for it at Tempo.

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