James Suckling: Help with Brunello ratings please.....

JS,

I know that Brunello is a difficult wine and I am trying to understand all it's nuances and characteristics. I posted similar questions in the "99 Brunello Vintage Rating" thread, but will move them here for better visibility.

I tasted many of the 97's upon release and agreed with your scores and assessments on many of the wines, so I know that our tastes aren't completely different. I completely agreed with your rating of the 97 Castelgiocondo normale, as it is one of my favorites of the vintage. However, you describe the 99 as "thick and powerful" and I tasted recently and all I got was "thin and weak" at best. Based on the wine at that time, the best score I could give it would be somewhere in the low to mid 80's. I had a similar experience with the 97 Riserva upon release (which you gave 98 points), and was extremely disappointed given how much I liked the 97 normale. Did I get two bad bottles, or do these wines change that quickly from the time YOU taste them and they are released here in Italy? Are they going to get better over time? Is it possible for a Brunello to go from "thick and powerful" to "thin and weak", and then back again at some point in time? Also, I didn't see the same thing in the 97 Pian delle Vigne that you saw. Do you rate the wines on how they are drinking at the moment, or on their future potential? At this point I'm scared to open another bottle of the 97 Castelgiocondo Riserva.

On a different matter but still rating oriented, how does a vintage rate a 99 (the 1997), yet not a single wine rated reach the vintage score? I understand that the vintage score encompasses the vintage as a whole, and 97 was an outstanding vintage overall (hard to find a bad 97 Brunello); but shouldn't the vintage score reflect more or less at least a high-mean of the individual wine scores? Shouldn't at least one wine meet the overall vintage score?

Thanks for your help in advance.
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