BRUNELLO 2006: ONE OF THE GREATEST YEARS EVER
First reports published by international critics
Monica Larner of the Wine Enthusiast and international expert James Suckling on
his blog jamessuckling.com tasted almost 170 Brunellos of the 2006 vintage.
Suckling crowns Casanova di Neri and Luce della Vite (Frescobaldi) with maximum rating, while 27 Brunellos score between 95 and 100
The first tastings of the international experts left no doubts: Brunello 2006 is an exceptional year, a five stars vintage. As we await the other big wigs of the sector and of the Benvenuto Brunello, the first judgments expressed by the greatest connoisseurs of Italian œnology Monica Larner and James Suckling are more than flattering. “the 2006 vintage for Brunello di Montalcino – commented Suckling – is the new benchmark for this famous Tuscan appellation and the Sangiovese grape. I can’t think of a better expression of Tuscan wines…. I think 2006 is THE greatest modern vintage for Sangiovese and many of the 2006s are setting a new quality standard for Brunello producers as well as their region at large.
The wines tasted were nearly 170 (125 by Suckling and 17 by Larner, as well as 21 Riserva 2005) 27 of the Brunellos obtained a rating of between 95 and 100 out of 100, while 113 scored between 90 and 94 out of a hundred.
Suckling crowned two Brunellos with the maximum rating (100/100): these were the Brunello Luce della Vite of the estate Castelgiocondo of the Frescobaldi family, and the selection Tenuta Nuova ofthe estate Casanova di Neri.
The verdict for Tenuta Nuova was also shared by Larner, who attributed to this wine the highest score obtained by any of the 2006 wines, and that is 97 out of a hundred. They both agreed also as to the high ratings of Altesino’s Montosoli, Castello Banfi’s Poggio alle Mura, San Polino’s Helichrysum all of which scored above 94 points in both of the classifications.
The Consorzio producers were all extremely satisfied with these first judgments and commented as follows: it is a very special moment for Brunello di Montalcino, a better version of the 2004 vintage, endowed with an incredible aroma and part of a new evolution and identity for Montalcino. The 2007 wines have a slightly more fruity taste compared to the 2006 wines. But it’s the quality of its incredible tannins and the freshness of its acidity that make the 2006 wine so particularly special.
“Only one thing seems to get producers more excited than 2006 – comments Monica Larner – and that is the 2007 vintage still aging in cellars. Based on my barrel samples, next year’s release of Brunello di Montalcino may be the region’s best vintage ever – a milestone achievement that would rank it higher than the classic vintages 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2006. Wines from 2007 show the aromatic purity and intensity of 2006, and the strength, longevity and staying power of 2004”.
“What excites me about the wines is their metamorphic character - writes James Suckling on his blog. They seem to change all the time in the glass. First they seem elegant and shy, with delicate enticing aromas of flowers and cherries alongside refined and silky palates, but then with time in the glass they grow in color, aromatic strength, and sheer power. I have rarely discovered such energy in a Sangiovese. As I have blogged before, I have only seem great red Burgundy react like that in the glass – and I am talking about grand cru or premier cru Pinot Noirs from top producers. It’s a sign of a great vintage.
The President of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino Ezio Rivella underlines that «the qualitative growth of producers is evident both in the vineyard and in the winery. The opinions expressed by the two international experts are a reward for the efforts of the producers who are all working to strengthen and improve the quality of their wine at an international level. As we await the Benvenuto Brunello this coming February, I hope that these appraisals will be confirmed both by the critics and by the market».
The period from April to June was characterized by persistent rains that provided a significant accumulation of water in the soil, a reserve that proved extremely useful during the summer period. The month of July was very hot and sunny with an excellent development of the bunches and the right phenological phases of the vines. The month of August was less hot than it usually is due to cloudy skies and a few rainfalls. The first half of September was very hot and sunny which enabled a definite evolution of the grapes towards a complete and balanced ripening. The second half of September began with some rainfalls that changed the weather giving rise to the beginning of autumn. After this the weather quickly settled again and allowed the start of the harvest operations.