2010 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

by Laura Gray on November 1, 2014

2010 corks
Tasting the 2010 en primeur in November 2014 is an exercise in mental gymnastics. It is like holding an acorn in your palm and knowing that it will be an oak tree (cit. Vino Vistas). The wine is vibrant dark ruby with garnet hues. The nose is incredibly complex, though initially tight; violets, dark berries and cherries are all there, waiting to break through. There is elegant minerality and soft hints of forest floor. Wet stone, licorice and earth abound. On the palate, vibrant fruit is backed up by well-honed tannins. The green vegetal notes on the nose are mint and eucalyptus in the mouth, the licorice is also there with a delicious reminder of very dark chocolate lingering on the finish. This wine is fresh, elegant, structured, balanced and persistent but above all, young. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Grape varietal: 100 % Sangiovese Grosso known in Montalcino as “Brunello”
Aging in wood: 41 months in large barrels
Bottle aging: The D.O.C.G. regulations governing the production of Brunello require a minimum of 4 months bottle aging before release.
Total production: 14.126 0.75 Liter bottles, 200 1.5 Magnums, 35 3 liter Double Magnums
Bottled: 21 July 2014 in ecological, lightweight bottles
Alcohol per volume%: 14.41
Total acidity%: 5.34 g/l
pH: 3.40
Dry extract: 30.38

2010 was a big year for Il Palazzone; we received approval for our new cellar and were able to break ground and our third child Nia was born; these two events were well- nigh simultaneous but unconnected. From a wine point of view, it is common opinion that there has not been a vintage like this for more than a decade. The five stars from the Consorzio del Brunello denote an exceptional vintage but 2010 would seem to require a new category of excellence. Five stars are not sufficient.

The beginning of the year was difficult ; an extremely cold winter and a late spring (90 cm snow on 9th March). Budding was delayed – we had budbreak at Le Due Porte on 1stth April   and sfarfallamento on 16th April. From the end of April to mid June there was abundant rain combined with below average temperatures. While being positive for the water reserves in the summer to come, the rain and cold affected the setting of the flowers and decreased production levels by around 10 %.  There was a risk of mould requiring attentive care and scrupulous de-leafing in July and August. It seemed as if 2010 would be the kind of vintage that would reward the labors of the careful vigneron. Summer brought stable weather conditions (maximum around 35°C / 95°F in mid July) with some rain at helpful intervals in August. Veraison was on average 10 days later than what is considered usual in the last decade and yet the vintage still did not seem remarkable.

But give Sangiovese a good September and many wrongs can be righted. Wonderful day/night temperature variation in late August and September highlighted this varietal’s extraordinary ability to recover. The absence of extreme heat in August translated into fresh acidity and clean fruit and the vintage shows unprecedented levels of polyphenols and anthocynanins. We harvested on 8th October and fermented a part of the harvest (in wood) in the cellar below our home.

Soil composition: The estate has three separate vineyards in different areas of Montalcino, each bringing varying aspects of Montalcino to our wine. Le Due Porte: high altitude, northwest exposition, galestro and alberese. La Vigna del Capa: lower, south facing, marine fossils, older vines. La Vigna Vecchia: lower, south facing, high minerality, older vines.
Density of vines per hectare: 4.000
Growth system : Balanced bilateral “cordone”

Chef-di-Cucina-Lauren-DeSteno-HeadshotMarea restaurant in New York City is known for it’s superb cuisine, seamless service, and award-winning wine programs. To date, Marea has received two Michelin stars, the 2010 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, three stars from The New York Times, named Best New Restaurant by Bon Apetit, Esquire, and GQ Magazine and also Best Italian Restaurant by Zagat and continues to be one of New York’s most beloved modern Italian restaurants. Chef di Cucina Lauren DeSteno has generously created this beautiful Spring Lamb recipe to be paired with our 2010 Brunello di Montalcino.

Spring Lamb with Mushrooms, Polenta, Pancetta, and Mint

Serves 4

8 ea Double Bone Lamb Chops, about 6 ounces each

2 cups Yellow Polenta
1 1/2 qt Whole Milk
1 cup Mascarpone
1/3 cup Pecorino, ground
1 lb Wild Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 lb Pancetta, cut into lardons
1 ea Shallot, minced
2 ea Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 cup Il Palazzone Brunello
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Golden Raisins
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup Water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the whole milk up to a simmer, add the polenta and stir constantly with a whisk until it comes up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and carefully cover the pot tightly with plastic wrap- to secure it, take a long piece of the plastic wrap and roll it up to form a cord; wrap the cord around the rim of the pot and tie near the handle to secure the plastic in place (the plastic wrap will inflate to form a dome). Let the polenta cook for two hours, until the grains are tender but still have texture. Remove the pan from the heat, carefully remove the plastic, add the mascarpone and the pecorino and stir well to combine. Taste the polenta and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Reserve, covered, in a warm place until ready to serve.

In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and water until it just starts to boil. Place the raisins in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling liquid over it. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside. When the raisins have cooled to room temperature, drain the liquid off and discard, reserving the raisins until ready to use.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and carefully add the mushrooms, stirring to coat with olive oil. Spread the mushrooms into a single layer and cook until they start to brown, give them a stir and brown the other side. Season the mushrooms lightly with salt and remove from the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the pancetta to the same pan, cooking until the fat renders and it starts to get slightly crispy. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and sauté until they have softened. Deglaze the pan with the Il Palazzone Brunello, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and add the mushrooms back to the pan, stirring well to combine. Taste the mushrooms for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. When ready to serve, reheat the mushroom mixture, add the soaked raisins and the lemon juice.


1/4 cup Basil Leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup Mint Leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Tarragon Leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp Marjoram Leaves, finely chopped
2 ea Lemons, zested
1/2 ea Garlic Clove, minced
1 pinch Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. Any leftover gremolata can be refrigerated and kept for 5 days.

To Cook the Lamb and Plate:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Season the lamb chops well with kosher salt. Heat a large, oven-proof sauté pan over high heat, lightly coat the bottom of the hot pan with canola oil, and sear the lamb chops on all sides. Place the pan in the oven and cook the lamb chops for about 5-8 minutes (for medium rare) depending on the size and thickness of your chops. Remove the pan from the oven, and place the lamb on a plate to rest. While the lamb is resting, heat the polenta and mushrooms. Place a ring of polenta on the plate, spoons some mushrooms into the hole in the ring, and place 2 lamb chops on top. Drizzle the lamb generously with the gremolata (you may want to serve some extra on the side) and serve immediately.


Marea has been a long time supporter of the wines of Il Palazzone and we couldn’t be more proud to continue to be represented on their exquisite wine list. On your next visit to Manhattan, please visit Marea Restaurant for an unforgettable dining experience and perhaps order a bottle of Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino while you’re there! Marea is located at 240 Central Park South in New York City.



Learnitalianwines.wordpress.com - June 2015
Deep garnet; aromas of cedar, morel cherry, sage and cumin. Medium-full with excellent concentration. Nice harmony of all components, very good acidity, subdued wood notes and distinct notes of tobacco and caramel in the finish. Youthful tannins that are proper (and properly balanced) for this wine. Not overly ripe or powerfully concentrated, but beautiful varietal character and a fine sense of local terroir. Best in 10-12 years. Excellent. Tom Hyland


The Wine Enthusiast - May 2015
Firmly structured and elegant, this offers aromas of pressed rose, violet, menthol, savory herb and woodland berry. The palate is still closed but reveals crunchy red cherry, oak, mint and sage alongside youthfully austere tannins that need time to unfold. Drink 2017–2025. KO


eRobertParker.com #217 - Feb. 2015 - 93 pt
The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino is aged for 41 months in large oak casks to produce nicely evolved aromas of dried cherry, smoked ham, prune, plum, licorice and grilled herb. The wine shows well both in terms of intensity and purity of varietal fruit and that slow oxidative process in wood has allowed for extra aromatic depth and definition. After a few minutes in the glass, the wine warms to show fruit-heavy flavors of cherry and forest fruit. The is a Brunello of elegance and poise that should hold well for the next decade or longer. Drink 2016-2028. Monica Larner


ANTONIO GALLONI - February 2015 - 93 pt
Il Palazzone’s 2010 Brunello di Montalcino is racy, sumptuous and quite pretty. Sweet tobacco, mint and licorice are woven throughout, adding considerable nuance to a core of red-fleshed fruit. Silky tannins and an overall feeling of resonance give the 2010 considerable early appeal, but there is more than enough structure to ensure a decade or so of very pleasurable drinking ahead. Sweet floral and spiced notes reappear on the feminine, gracious finish. This is a very beautiful wine from Il Palazzone. 2015 – 2025


Concentrated ruby with orange tinges. Lively cherry and vanilla nose. Sweet oak and fruit, really modernist but it all comes together beautifully on the finish in a near-perfect balance. (WS) 14% Drink 2015-2026  WS


Wonderful texture to this Brunello with so much dried fruit, chalk, stone, salt and light chocolate character. It’s full body, fine tannins and bright acidity delivers a complete package with beauty and elegance. JS


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