Is Bigger Really Better?

by Jenny Cuddihy on June 10, 2015

Big boys....Is bigger really better?

The 2010 vintage of Il Palazzone Brunello is presenting itself to be one of the greatest vintages in our 20 year history of producing Brunello. It is also one of our largest productions, as we made over 14,000 750ml bottles since we were able to use nearly all the grapes from our three different vineyards. We also made an unprecedented number of large format bottles; 200 magnums and 50 Double Magnums. Why would we choose to bottle so many large format wines? Back in July 2014 when this wine was bottled we were already convinced that this would be a collectable vintage with enormous cellar evolution ahead of it.

The argument for investing in Larger Format bottles, particularly when it comes to wines that are generally considered better when given time to further develop in bottle (aka Bordeaux, Barolo, Brunello, etc.) is because the wine ages more slowly. There is a slower oxidation rate due to the smaller amount of air that is possible between the cork and the increased volume of wine. The larger vessel ultimately provides a more stable environment for aging, followed by the fact that most wineries don’t generally produce very many large format wines so they are considered more precious.  Lastly, there is the impressive presentation that a larger bottle provides. In our case the bigger bottles are hand-labelled, the bottles are numbered and packaged in beautiful wooden boxes. Buying a Magnum (capacity 1.5 liters, the equivalent of two “normal” bottles) or Double Magnum (capacity 3 liters, the equivalent of four bottles) is like banking on having something definite to celebrate in the future. These are not bottles that are opened by mistake or for a non-event. A terrific article that goes into greater depth on the Large Format subject can be found here

At Il Palazzone, we only produce Brunello Riserva in the best vintage years and the same can be said for our large format production. The previous vintage of 09’ we only made 12 magnums and that was by special request from a long-time client. While we were thrilled with our 09’ results we recognize that this is truly an approachable vintage and not one that you are necessarily going to need to wait very long to drink. The 08’ vintage was a terrific effort but unfortunately we simply weren’t able to make very much wine due to the challenges Mother Nature provided us with and ultimately had to drop a significant amount of fruit. For this vintage we produced less then 5,000 750ml bottles.

2010 is a truly incredible vintage worthy of collecting and worth seeking out the large format bottlings. We have nearly sold out of all large format bottlings at the winery however our New York distributor, Domenico Valentino was able to secure 50 magnums and 10 Double Magnums from us and they still have some available for wholesale purchase.  Suggested Il Palazzone retailers to inquire with are Italian Wine Merchants, Acker Merrall, Eataly and Vino Fine Wine and Spirits.

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