Brunello 2004: is it really a five star vintage?

Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Vintage.This year I had the chance to taste the wines twice in a week. Not bad for such a long waited five star vintage, as the Consortium has rated it.I was in Montalcino on the 20th of February to the Benvenuto Brunello and then in London with Decanter on the 27th of February. After a very weak 2002 and an overripe 2003, Montalcino producers were understandably gagging for a change of gear. Also leteuros keep in mind that the Brunello scandal has put under the spot light this area to show weather or not Brunello is a terroir wine or a more international style player. So is it happened? Has euro04 proven to be a 5 star vintage and what character are the wines showing? I am afraid I have to answer to these questions with a yes and a no. In a nutshell Ieuroll outline the two sides of Brunello euro04. The positive aspect I found in this vintage is mainly related to the charming and refreshing drinkability of most labels, a good Sangiovese-terroir character with the very welcome almost absence of black-inky, chewy, jammy wines. On the other end though, I have also found far too many wines are lacking a certain complexity, which one would expect from Brunello; the famous aging potential isneurot very often there with a few wines that sometimes are even dilute. I believe that euro04 was expected as a kind of panacea for Brunelloeuros recent turmoil, but the lack of consistency of 2004 caneurot really place this vintage as one to truly remember. I must admit that I was too waiting to taste these wines as I was ready to buy quite a few for my soneuros date of birth happens to be that. Doneurot take me wrong though, there is a lot of Brunello 2004 which will find a space in my cellar. To be honest, an important notice of this brief report is that some of the wines that I very often drink wereneurot actually available during the last two tastings: over 100 out of the 256 producers didneurot give their wines for the Benvenuto and to Decanter Magazine.Among the missing ones there are actually loads a very reliable producers, big and small ones, that always manage to release excellent products year after year. So I would be a cautious buyer as you might end up like many 1997 Brunello that I have opened recently and have already past their best. 2004 can be a bit like euro97. Yes it is a less ripe and a more productive vintage, but it shows very expressive and likable Brunello already now, but which woneurot be that great over ten years time. I think producers who watched out their crop nicely and who didneurot over produce made an outstanding wine which will be worth buying and keeping for a a good 15 to 20 years.Some of the 150 wines tastes that stood out over 17/20. I'll be tasting more Brunellos very soon to keep you updated, meanwhile, check all these 2004s:Altesino-MontosoliAn austere clay style wine with a very important tannic structure. Some dry herbs and an certain earthiness is already giving the wine a pleasant drinkability, but it would be best to keep for some years. Great aging potential. 17ArgianoSuperb traditional style, very elegant and perfumed. Sweet and silky-polished tannins give the wine a high level of drinkability now and yet its structure and acidity will take it a long way down the road of the collectables. Great earthy and truffle character with goudron and flowers.18/20Canalicchio di Sopra-White LabelA natural style Sangiovese with a lovely and refreshing fruit. Great tannins which were very well extracted along with good red berry crush and a leathery and earthy complexity on the finish. 18CapannaA very important, slick and compact tannic structure. Loads of character, depth and length. A wine to keep and wait a bit to see it more talkative, but it will give loads of pleasure. 18Castello BanfiA dense and yet agile nose with lovely violets and jasmine over some nice black berries. Good and well balanced tannic structure, with freshness, natural spices and depth. 17CollemattoniRoses and vanilla with a beacon and tobacco style palate, rich and very dense. Very slick and spicy with a good length. Sweet and well structured tannins will allow this wine a long aging potential. 18.5Donatella Cinelli ColombiniFor those who like very slick and clean wines.Modern interpretation of the vintage with a black berry driven nose, some leatheriness and balanced tannic structure with a powerful and elegant fruit extraction. 18FonterenzaA naturally extracted wine with a great perfumed nose and a profound structure. Red cherries and leather with some firm tannins which will be needing some time to open up. 18.5/20FuligniTobacco leaf and very fresh/crispy black cherries. An intense, powerful, although little closed tight Brunello which will need time to open up. Iteuros a keeper. 17Gaja, Pieve S.RestituitaA mushroom and a earthy driven complexity. A very closed and dense wine which seems to be hiding a bigger potential. 17Il PalazzoneA refreshingly red fruit driven wine packed with natural juiciness, an important tannic texture and a very savoury lingering finish.17Il Paradiso di ManfrediDangerously easy to drink for its extreme natural juiciness with red berry crush, violets, thyme and licorice. Sweet and super balanced tannins with a pleasant lingering savoury finish. 18.5 Lambardi-Canalicchio di SottoA dense and well extracted wine with a leathery and farmyard like nose. Depth and intensity for a very dense lingering wine. 17/20LeMaciocheA restrained and well executed wine withexcellenttannic structure and well extracted fruit.A little austere now, it will open up in the next year. Good aging potential. 17.5Le RagnaieSweet spices with loads of red berry crush, cherries and leather.A very ready to drink wine with a fresh character and an elegant lingering earthy finish. 17/20LisiniGreat traditional style with structure,seductiveness, sweet tannins, perfumes and a savoury, lingering cherry and mushrooms finish. Drinks now and keeps for a a good decade. I like it. 17.5MastrojanniVery rich and juicy classic Sangiovese with a great orange peel and leather character. This wine is a delight with structure and drinkability. 17.5Mocali-Vigna delle RaunateVery seductive with herbs and spices. A lovely fruit driven palate doesneurot compromise complexity and elegance, with good acidity, savoriness and length. 17.Pian delleuroOrinoVery elegant perfumed wine with a good violets and cherries and a light vanilla touch. A juicy and well extracted tannic structure with silkiness, depth and a high drinkable long finish. 18Sasso di SoleA powerfully decadent wine with an elegant Brunello perfume. Dense and floral with great complexity of rhubarb, licorice and cherries. A mushroomy/leathery spiciness is taing the wine to a next level. 18/20Soldera, Case Basse (cask sample)This vintage is a natural black pepper spiced one with an immense amount of floral intriguing power.The wine has a great class, depth andlength with an outstanding drinkability and juiciness beyond pale! Drink now and keep it forever.Stella di Campalto - San GiuseppeA red ruby with a very mature nose. Chocolate powder and prunes with a lovely sweet leatheriness and a lingering savory finish for a very classic and vibrant wine. 18,5Tenuta FriggialiGreat elegance, juiciness and an intriguing farmyard style nose. Clean and well extracted red cherries and a leathery savoriness gives the wine a great length and character. 18.5Tenuta di SestaIntriguing and yet restrained, with a great natural vibrant character. Loads of fresh and well extracted fruit, balance and longevity. A very good wine. 18Tenute Silvio NardiGreat execution with a very fresh fruit driven character and an important tannic structure. Needs time to become more expressive. 17.5TornesiSuper cherry flavored Brunello with an elegant floral twist and superb black pepper spiced tannins. A delicious Brunello ready now, but also with potential. 18TerralsoleA dense and perfumed wine, which combines fresh prunes and dry roses with an important earty/chocolaty tannic structure. Very good and sweetly extracted tannins, give the wine a great drinkability together with an important aging potential. 18.5/20Tiezzi- Vigna SoccorsoA ready to drink Brunello with sweet and easy going texture with a juicy and refreshing character and a pleasant complex finish. Maybe not to lay down forever, but very nice for the next 10 years. 17.5 Vasco SassettiClassic, clean and intense. With a licorice, cherry and cardamon nose and a very well extracted fruit integration and an important tannic structure. A very lingering wine with depth and freshness. Iteuros a wine which needs some time to open up, but which can also age for a couple of decades. 18.5/19. UccellieraRipe and intense with black fruit extraction. A big southernly powerful Brunello with tight, broad and sweet tannins. 17
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