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1997 Brunello: Drink or Hold?
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So it's been a while since we've discussed what to do with our 1997 Brunellos.

Has anyone had any good experiences with these wines lately? If so, which ones, and how did you decant them?

What are your biggest disappointments of the 1997 Brunellos? While you might expect Brunello to be shut down for a while, these are 8 year old wines now. Do you think these wines have the structure (i.e., acidity) for extended aging.

I've spoken to several very knowledgeable people about this, and they advice has ranged from, "You better drink them now because they won't last" to "They still need 5 more years before they'll open up." I'm very skeptical of the latter position, but what do you guys think?

Best,
Dan
 
Posts: 670 | Location: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Apr 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm holding all my 97s based on what I've tasted so far. I might start tasting some in two years.

I would expect everything I've purchased to go a minimum of ten years, still improving into the teens, then plateauing.
 
Posts: 10855 | Location: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I only have about a dozen of them and I'm waiting til furtonic tells me to drink them.


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36781 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have had this discussion recently on a TN I think.

quote:
I would expect everything I've purchased to go a minimum of ten years, still improving into the teens, then plateauing.


I have said it before, so I'll say it again. IMO, based on several tastings this year (my own and others) - I highly doubt every 97 will age as good as some think or hope and I assure you some will NOT be better in 10 years. 99 is the better aging vintage. I'll stick to it.

A difference of opinion. Brunellos can age, but are some of you just looking to see how long they go or do you want to try some of them in their prime. Prime for many is next year - 5 years tops. Holding some of these for 10 more years is a big risk, and IMO a poor one. brunello is a delicate wine, and is beautiful when aged properly, but it's no easy 15+ years across the board like most Amarones or Barolo. I had a 1988 Banfi last year that was absolute dust.

Futronic will now say something like: "You can drink yours, I'll hold mine" and maybe a Smile after. Before he says that, I will say that these are holds (I have plenty and am holding most), but if you don't taste a little over the next few years, you'll be sorry if you have a lot. Not all Brunello are the same. You need to evaluate certain producers from time to time.

Enjoy! Smile
 
Posts: 7448 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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or Hunter Smile


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36781 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Board-O,

I know you don't have a lot, so your fine - but do not wait 10 years on the bottle you have. I know what you have.

You hate "this and acidic" right? Holding BdM too long gives you just that.
 
Posts: 7448 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think as per the other thread you will get disagreement on this subject. I tend to agree with futronic as well but it also depends on how you like your wines. Some like younger wines and more importantly, like Hunter said, it depends on the producer. Most of the '97's I have I have already tasted and I'm confident they will hold up for quite a while. As for the Banfi that started this orginal discussion in the other thread, I will bring one to the next offline Board-O attends as I have several bottles and we'll see how it's coming along. With that being said there still may be a difference of opinion. Smile
 
Posts: 1306 | Location: Doral, Florida | Registered: Nov 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK, Hunter. Thanks.

or Emilio Smile


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36781 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Most of the '97's I have I have already tasted and I'm confident they will hold up for quite a while.


Hold up or improve? That is the debate I think - or at least where my point is coming from. I have little doubt they'll hold. I have doubt certain bottles will improve.

Ok, now someone open something soon. I did the last time. Smile
 
Posts: 7448 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Challenge accepted. Cool I'll open something this month and post my thoughts, for what they're worth. I also believe that these wines will just be entering their prime window in the next year or so and that most good ones will hold for a decade or more. I hope I'm right, as I've got more than a couple cases sleeping!! Eek

PH
 
Posts: 15036 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The last '97 I opened (Siro Pacenti) was disappointing but not for the normal reasons. The wine had a strong SO2 aroma that actually caused my eyes to become irritated. I believe it was flawed (double dose of SO2 at bottling or something like that). Prior to that, the last '97 I tasted (in June) was the Pian delle Vigne which I gave 95 points. Maybe I am lucky but I have tasted this wine on 3 different occasions over the past year and it was great every other time.

Just wondering what Hunter thinks will improve over the next few years. I have the following that are sleeping:

La Poderina
Lisini Ugolaia
Siro Pacenti
Poggio all'Oro
Podere Salicutti
Il Poggione Riserva
Caparzo La Casa
Pian delle Vigne

Any others can chime in.
 
Posts: 2175 | Location: Virginia | Registered: Aug 22, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Futronic,
Which 1997's have you had lately, and how were they drinking? I can understand wines being shut down a few years after bottling, but these are now 8 year old wines. I'm reluctant to think that any wine that is shut down now will suddenly blossom with a few more years of bottle age. But I'd of course be interested to hear everyone else's opinions.
Dan
 
Posts: 670 | Location: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Apr 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Drink up, with very few exceptions, as is always the case with almost every wine.


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"Asking government to fix this crisis is like asking the arsonist to put out the fire." -Thomas Sowell
 
Posts: 4510 | Location: Dubai | Registered: Dec 20, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have only had two 1997 Brunello in the past year, and both were fantastic. The La Gerla was probably on the young side but at a good point to drink. The Pertimali is a serious, serious keeper with miles to go yet in my opinion. I was blown away.
  • 1997 Pertimali (Livio Sassetti) Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (8/25/2005)
    Wow, and I mean a serious WOW!!! The complexity and depth of flavor on this young wine is just scary. Cherry, balsa wood, leather, espresso, and bitter chocolate all come through on the nose. On the palate this is simply gorgeous with rich fruit that balances impeccably against long, silky tannins, very present acidity and a leathery old world personality. This is just so packed with complex flavors it is hard to put words on it, but the expressiveness and complexity are almost scary for such a young wine. This is the real deal, and I am regretting having just two more bottles of this beauty. Hands off for at least 5 years! (96 pts.)
  • 1997 Fattoria La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (12/9/2004)
    It has been more than a year since I have checked in on a 1997 Brunello from my cellar, so I figured it was time to give one a shot. I would like to say that I put a ton of thought into which one to pick (I had 21 to choose from), but this is simply the first one I grabbed...

    Wow, this is a really nice Brunello. I don't really understand what the Wine Spectator tasted with an 81 point rating, but it was not this wine. I started around 88 and moved up. The nose is one of those you can smell more than a foot from the glass, not kidding. Pine needle and a hint of vanilla increasingly moves to balsa and lots of saddle leather. The palate is gorgeously balanced, pure and deep, quite vibrant with delicate sweetness and a hint of black cherry, tangy and bittersweet, yet with that austerity and firmness that you want in a nice Brunello. Despite a little sweetness, this is no gobby 1997 though, as the acidity and structure are top notch. While I normally find Brunello very drying on the finish, this wine is a little more giving and balanced than most. Don't get me wrong, while sipped on its own this is crying out for some sort of roast beast to complement it, but it is still awfully nice, well done! (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker


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Posts: 740 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: Oct 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I don't really understand what the Wine Spectator tasted with an 81 point rating, but it was not this wine.


JS retasted this wine later, and revised his score to an 89. I haven't had it in a while, but after tasting my first, bought 3 more. Definitely 90+.

PH
 
Posts: 15036 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Just wondering what Hunter thinks will improve over the next few years. I have the following that are sleeping:

La Poderina
Lisini Ugolaia
Siro Pacenti
Poggio all'Oro
Podere Salicutti
Il Poggione Riserva
Caparzo La Casa
Pian delle Vigne


LongBoarder, sounds like that Siro was off and bad.

As far as what you have - you have great stuff (well done!). Some of the best of the vintage. Do you have 3 of each or a case of each? That's what it comes down to for me. I have tasted everything you have within the last 2 years except the Poggione and the Lisini.

While I would argue that a couple like the Caparzo and La Poderina (more giving) are in the prime window now - 3 years, you have big hitters there. All will hold strong, and most will get better but i do not think there are a lot of "magical characteristics" that will come out (even with some of these) 7 years from now to make the wines better - which is my point. I would hold most of your lot though. You seem to know your stuff based on what you bought.

That is why JS has a drink or hold on the vintage now and with a few exceptions (riservas and more traditional tannic wines), I agree with that. Nothing sadder for me than past prime or weakened BdM. It's dissapointing and can taste like a Chianti - except you paid $50 or $60 for that "Chianti!" and waited 10 years to drink it Wink

Like I said, you bought well though!

EDIT: I just read Eric Levine's post. HIS notes above prove the point. Try a few. I read the first one as a "probably hold", but could drink and the La Gerla as a "could hold", but I'd "Drink Now". All BdM is not the same.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Hunter,
 
Posts: 7448 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I only have a few 1997 Brunellos, but they are all very high quality (Castelgiocondo Reserva and a couple of others). I will not be touching any of them for at least another 3-5 years.

Also, I drank a 1995 Barbi and a 1995 Banfi last year and they were both excellent. There was no hurry to drink them as they will last for a while longer. 1997 should be better.


I'm back....
 
Posts: 4491 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Mar 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with holding. Not from experience with any 1997's... but judging how beautifully the 1995's are drinking now (also, another very good vintage), I would assume the '97's could use a few more years.


Go HOKIES!!!
 
Posts: 4865 | Location: North Plainfield, NJ | Registered: Oct 24, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hunter,

To answer your question, I think they'll not only hold, but improve, that's just based on what I have purchased. Pretty much agree with your advice to Longboarder,

quote:
All will hold strong, and most will get better


I don't know about 'magical characteristics' coming out in these (or any other wines for that matter) but I'm willing to wait for improvement even if nothing 'magical' happens as I have many other wines that I can drink now.
 
Posts: 1306 | Location: Doral, Florida | Registered: Nov 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mwagner7700:
I agree with holding. Not from experience with any 1997's... but judging how beautifully the 1995's are drinking now (also, another very good vintage), I would assume the '97's could use a few more years.


I'm hesitant to draw comparisons between the 1995's and the 1997's. They were very different vintages, and the 1995's are obviously much more structured wines from a much more typical vintage.
 
Posts: 670 | Location: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Apr 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I get it... you are concerned that the ripeness of the vintage may decrease the aging potential. (?)

Maybe we need another Philly BdM tasting... but this time with all 1997's!!! Big Grin


Go HOKIES!!!
 
Posts: 4865 | Location: North Plainfield, NJ | Registered: Oct 24, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Big Grin

Sign me up!

PH
 
Posts: 15036 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's exactly my concern, Matt.

Another Philly tasting sounds like an excellent idea, I just think we'll have to give these wines plenty of decanting. It would certainly be quite educational though.
 
Posts: 670 | Location: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Apr 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Maybe we need another Philly BdM tasting... but this time with all 1997's!!!


I may have to make the trip for that.

or better yet:

"NYC 1997 Brunello Taste-Off" Big Grin
 
Posts: 7448 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Emilio:
I don't know about 'magical characteristics' coming out in these (or any other wines for that matter) but I'm willing to wait for improvement even if nothing 'magical' happens as I have many other wines that I can drink now.

The most magical thing that could emerge is far greater aromatic complexity. The most memorable Brunello of my life had one of the more magical and soaring noses I have ever smelled on any wine. I have no idea if any of my myriad 1997's will turn into anything approaching this 1990, but if they do I will be a happy man...
  • 1990 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (8/27/2003)
    Suzi, Eric and Sid's Trip to Italy; 8/21/2003-9/4/2003 (Tuscany & Bellagio, Italy): (Dinner at La Chiusa) This wine was one of the highlights of my entire trip. The bottle was in impeccable condition, perfectly cellared. OMG! A soaring nose of pine resin, mushroom, earth, and licorice with amazing intensity and complexity. The bouquet was pouring out of the glass. On the palate this has remarkable sweetness, purity, earthiness, dustiness. In a word, this was sublime. Initially the finish was tight and dominated by acid, but within 30 minutes it fattened and lengthened. Long, smooth, complex, suprisingly powerful, highly acidic, but simply unreal with food. An amazing wine!!! (97 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker


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It rhymes with wine...
 
Posts: 740 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: Oct 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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