Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. 2010 Riserva

by Laura Gray on January 24, 2016

2010 Riserva bottleProduction is limited, my anticipation was great and my expectations surpassed (and they were high). I waited until I could share a bottle with my friend and colleague Vino Vistas in what is becoming an annual tradition. Sitting in Montalcino’s Drogheria Franci, overlooking the “wine well,” we sat and sipped and supped and scribbled as we slowly made our way through one of the very few bottles produced. The colour is light bright ruby. The nose is an enticing exercise in potential; tight to begin with but the inescapable impression of whole families of aromas waiting to burst out. It combines pulizia with brilliance and an exciting sense of length and depth; after two hours it was still surprising us with layers of minerality, sottobosco and faint eucalyptus. In the mouth it is the same neverending story; again, minerality from the Castelnuovo vineyard, elusive vegetal notes, our trademark liquorice and violet with an inkling of dark chocolate and just a tiny hint of caramel. Pinpoint acidity gives it mouthwatering succulence and juicy vibrancy. It is structured and complex with integrated anchored tannins and a lingering multi-layered finish, as befitting the 2010 vintage. This is not a voluptuous wine but has the focused, powerful, lean elegance of a thoroughbred. Next tasting appointment: 2021. Excited already.

This is the 2010 Riserva soundtrack.
Grape varietal: 100 % Sangiovese Grosso known in Montalcino as “Brunello”
Aging in wood: 53 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.
Bottled: 9th July 2015 in ecological, lightweight bottles
Alcohol per volume%: 14.58
Total acidity%: 5.10 g/l
pH: 3.41
Dry extract: 30.60
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”
  A voce entrance[1] A Voce is a New York restaurant that celebrates the simple pleasures of Italian cooking in a welcoming, sophisticated and modern venue. Located in the Time Warner Center overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, they offer authentic, ingredient-driven, and regionally inspired creations that are both refined and approachable. From beautifully prepared fish and meats to pastas made in-house each day, A Voce offers a contemporary take on many of Italy’s most beloved dishes. Additionally, A Voce was the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for the last 3 years. Their wine list showcases over 2500 selections of wines highlighting only the best from Italy, as well as France and the United States. They list several vintages of our Brunello as well as the Rosso del Palazzone. a voce pic riccardo 1 We had the honor to host a wine dinner there in December of last year where we served 7 vintages of Brunello and Riserva going back to 99’. Executive Chef Riccardo Billota created an incredible 4 course menu for the occasion and Richard Parsons, our proprietor lead the evening. We thought who better to ask then Chef Riccardo to honor us with a recipe to be paired with the much anticipated 2010 Riserva.  See Below.   Braised Mangalitsa pork cheeks, sunchokes mousse, Perigourd black truffle Procedures: Sear the pork cheeks until brown. In the same pan add the mirepoix (celery carrots ecc.) until caramelized. Deglaze with the red wine and reduce until evaporated. Add the veal stock, the aromatic herbs and braised around 3 hours at 340 F. (The cheeks need to be juicy and soft).
  • 1kg large sunchokes peeled
  • 250 gr/8.82oz heavy cream
  • 250 gr/8.82oz chicken stock
  • 1 large shallot
  • Tbsp salt
  • 300 gr/10.58oz egg white
Procedures: Sweat the sunchokes and shallot until translucent. Add the cream and chicken stock and cook until soft. Blend the component until smooth and let it cool down. Mix 500 gr/17.63oz of the sunchokes purée with the egg white. (If you don’t have a siphon you can use just the puree leaving out the egg white) Fill up the siphon with the puree and charge it with 2 CO2 gas capsule and cook in water bath for 2 min. To serve, put a spoonful of the sunchokes mousse in a serving bowl, place the pork cheeks on top and spoon over the sauce. Serve with fresh shaved black truffle and Il Palazzone olive oil. a voce restaurant 2[1] When you are next in New York City and looking for a terrific restaurant, A Voce is well worth a visit. And you can pair your meal very handily with a wine from Il Palazzone while you’re there…Saluti!
Wine Spectator - May 2016
Red Sweet cherry and strawberry fruit is an even match for the briar and tobacco notes and granular tannins in this sleek, intense red. Picks up a mineral element and finishes with a vibrant, long aftertaste. Best from 2018 through 2033. From Italy.—B.S. 200 cases imported. 94 pts.

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