I was in the bookstore last night and quickly thumbed through the most recent issue of Decanter. In it, the panel reviewed 2004 Brunello. I was shocked to read that they found the wines thin and that the vintage, in general, was overhyped. They said that they would enjoy these wines now and that they wouldn't recommend long-term cellaring. I was pretty shocked. Almost all the wines had the vertical bottle next to them indicating "drink now."
As a result, I was curious if any of the Italianophiles here shared any of their views. Is it possible that the wines were just shut down? Does anyone even care about what Decanter says anyway? I don't know much about Brunello, but I do know that this was supposed to be a really solid vintage.
Curious to get thoughts from Longboarder, Futronic, et al.
Original Post
I'm still waiting to buy. They haven't shown up in the Denver area stores yet! Mad

Seems the distributors don't want to release the 04s until the 03s get cleaned out!
Of the few '04 Barolos I've tasted I've been underwhelmed relative to the general hype.
I bought a few, but not many.
I've tasted quite a few of the 2004 Brunellos. They're young obviously, but as a rule I think Brunello is now way beyond where it should be in pricing. That said, the 2006s may be worth their prices. That's a hell of a vintage from what I've tasted so far. When the rossos started appearing I noticed that they were really good so began asking the winemakers and producers about the vintage and they almost all stated that it's going to be spectacular.

So personally, I'm waiting for the 2006 Tuscans.
Just picked up 3 x Argiano and had a DRAB. Delicious with the tannin typical of its young age - sufficient to last for my preference of 12 year old Brunello IMO.
It is very interesting because in The World of Fine Wine magazine, after a tasting of the '04 vintage, they were saying the exact same thing. I believe the critic was Franco Ziliani.
I'm starting to believe that the '04 vintage is overhyped.
quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:
"The World of Fine Wine" magazine. What do they charge for that now? Is it still about $100 an issue?

VM


$50 and worth every cents. But some people prefer to read only scores so...
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
Of the few '04 Barolos I've tasted I've been underwhelmed relative to the general hype.
I bought a few, but not many.

So much for me paying attention to the thread outline. Roll Eyes My apologies...

Regarding Brunello, I didn't buy heavily into the vintage (Casanova di Neri, Uccelliera and Siro Pacenti).

Of the Super Tuscans, well I tended to hit my favs: Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, Galatrona...) In fact, it seems that the ST's are destined to be deemed a better '04 vintage than Brunello.
Keeno, were most of the big names represented in their tasting? I enjoy the articles in Decanter much more than I do their tastings as they don’t always have the best producers in their tastings lineup. Hard to get a feel for the vintage when you don’t taste some of the best wines. I’ll have to check out their latest issue.

From my personal tasting I think 04 will be a very good vintage with some potentially great wines made. I also agree that 06 seems to be universally heralded as awesome so there is no real reason to go huge on 04.
I went heavy on 2004 Brunellos b/c my wife likes Brunellos, we went to Montalcino on my honeymoon, and because 2004 was when we got married.

I only have two delivered to my cellar so far, and the only ones I've tasted were at an industry tasting event:


2004 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino (3 stars RL, Fruit, tannin, licorice on the finish.)

2004 Camigliano Brunello di Montalcino (3+ stars RL, smooth, tannin, darker flavors.)

2004 Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino (3+ stars RL, middle style, very purple fruit, very tight.)

2004 Le Presi Brunello di Montalcino (3+ stars RL, very traditional style, very stinky on the nose like a stinky cheese, some bright fruit, very drying, like wine and stinky cheese mixed.)

2004 La Poderina Brunello di Montalcino (3+ stars RL, great tannins, a little riper, smooth.)


Small pours, so brief notes. Overall, though, I thought they seemed like wines I'd drink at 12 years old, like Cellar_Fiend. Not thin.

Scored on my odd 5 point Brunello-only scale. [2 is disappointing. 3 means I'd really enjoy drinking it. 4 means it's awesome. I've never had a 5 (yet)... my fives are sleeping! Actually, I looked... I listed a 5 once (1997 Tenimenti Angelini Val di Suga Vigna Spuntali). Probably equates to <85, 85-89, 90-95, 95+, respectively. 3+ is 90 +/-2. Wink]
quote:
Originally posted by GlennK:
Keeno, were most of the big names represented in their tasting? I enjoy the articles in Decanter much more than I do their tastings as they don’t always have the best producers in their tastings lineup. Hard to get a feel for the vintage when you don’t taste some of the best wines. I’ll have to check out their latest issue.

From my personal tasting I think 04 will be a very good vintage with some potentially great wines made. I also agree that 06 seems to be universally heralded as awesome so there is no real reason to go huge on 04.


I remember seeing the Casanova di Neri wines, Uccelliera (spelling?), Fuligni. I don't know too many producers, so I can't remember all of them. There was quite a list though.
There was a quote from one of the tasters that said something to the effect of "Brunello is a lot like Napa. People with money buy up the land and think people will spend money on the wines if they charge high prices.". Ouch. I butchered that, but you get the idea.
I haven't read the Decanter article but I'm going to stick by my original comment when the topic was discussed before - and one that applies to pretty much every vintage.

I will be buying the usual suspects that represent a good portion of the Brunello section in my cellar and pick and choose after that depending on (in no particular order) price, track record, and critics comments, and personal tasting.
quote:
Originally posted by futronic:
I haven't read the Decanter article but I'm going to stick by my original comment when the topic was discussed before - and one that applies to pretty much every vintage.

I will be buying the usual suspects that represent a good portion of the Brunello section in my cellar and pick and choose after that depending on (in no particular order) price, track record, and critics comments, and personal tasting.


Out of curiosity, what producers do you typically buy?
I've tried the following 04's

Ciacci
Casanova di Neri, Tenuta Nuova
Siro Pacenti
Angelini, Val di Suga
Frescobaldi, Castelgiocondo
Caparzo

The first three were really good, the next three were disappointing.
I just picked up this issue of Decanter today. I can't believe I actually bought the August issue in August! We're usually at least 6 weeks behind here.
2004 is not a slam dunk across the region. Albert Jochems and I tasted approx. 20 wines while we were in Montalcino in May. The best wines are very good and are age worthy. I tasted a bottle of CdN Tenuta Nuova that had been open for approx. 36 hours and it was fantastic. Most aromatic BdM I have ever smelled. We tasted from a bottle that was just opened and it was very tight and not giving much. This is a list of most of the wines I tasted and my impressions:

Soldera Case Basse (from botti) - 97-98
CdN Tenuta Nuova - 91 just opened, 96 with 36 hours of air
Querce Bettina - 95
Ucelliera - 95
Fuligni - 94
Poggio San Polo - 94
Piancornello - 93
Talenti - 93
Costanti - 93 on one bottle from the winery and 83 on another bottle
Poggio Antico - 92
Ciacci - 92
Sesta di Sopra - 92
Salvioni - 87
Poggio Antico Altero - 85
La Serena - 83
Altesino Montosoli - 82
Altesino normale - 78

There were a few others that were non-memorable. The Altesino wines both had aromas of burnt rubber. I would suggest taste before you buy if possible.
Thanks for chiming in Longboarder. I have only bought Ucelliera and CdN Tenuta Nuova. I want to get some Fuligni and Siro Pacenti as well. I didn't think I could go wrong with those, but who knows.
quote:
Originally posted by Keeno:
Thanks for chiming in Longboarder. I have only bought Ucelliera and CdN Tenuta Nuova. I want to get some Fuligni and Siro Pacenti as well. I didn't think I could go wrong with those, but who knows.


The Pacenti was not available when I was last in Italy so I haven't tasted it. We had a bottle of the Fuligni (courtesy of Roberto Guerrini of Fuligni) at the Montalcino version of the 5th Annual Italian OL. It is an excellent BdM and the structure is such that the wine should age well past the 15 year mark. BTW, I did taste the Valdicava Madonna del Piano and the normale. Both are good but not great. The '06's are out of this world.
I put together a mixed case of my favorites and vintage standouts, stocked them in my cellar and called it a day.

Everyone that tasted these and commented on them before the reviews hit were very let down by the wines. Then our favorite critics toned in and a lot of people changed their tone. Like it was said before, looks like 2006 will be the vintage to stock for the long term.
I tasted the Altesino normale at the winery, and while not outstanding it was not anywhere near a 78 to me, more like an 88. A nice wine with no burnt rubber smell, just a bit too thin to be great. I've got to think something was wrong with the bottles that LB had as we usually have pretty similar tastes.
quote:
Originally posted by Vt2It:
I tasted the Altesino normale at the winery, and while not outstanding it was not anywhere near a 78 to me, more like an 88. A nice wine with no burnt rubber smell, just a bit too thin to be great. I've got to think something was wrong with the bottles that LB had as we usually have pretty similar tastes.
Agreed. I tasted the 04 Montosoli at Altesino and it was really nice with no burnt rubber. I think we all talked about this that night at dinner. Hoping LB just had some bad bottles as I bought some Montosoli!
A bit late, and a lot has been said already.
I largely concur LB's list. Perhaps only the Sesta di Sopra is better than 92pts IMO. But I've had this several times when it had more time to breath/slow-ox. That makes a big difference for some of the '04 BdM. This also shown by the experience with the CdN Tenuta Nuova.

I've tasted some 30 different Brunelli of this vintage. These are some of my general observations on this vintage (very personal of course, I'm not a professional):

  • The better wines all have an aromatic, floral, component to them that is more pronounced than any other Brunello vintage I've tasted extensively.
  • Most wines need a lot of air/time to show their potential. Much more so than most recent vintages on release.
  • I often found the overall profile has more red fruit and floral aromas instead of the classic black fruit/leather focus.
  • tannins are mostly refined and ripe with the better ones layered and dusty. Not as chewy and robust as for example the '99 and '01 vintages. But still providing enough structure to make the wines age worthy.
  • Many '04 Brunelli where just not very exciting, and definitely not worth the price tag. But there are some beautiful, characterful and delicate wines among them that are almost cheap compared to top wines from other regions.

My two top wines for this vintage are:
- Querce Bettina
- CdN Tenuta Nuova
(Not having tasted the Ucelliera and Soldera from LB's list)

Some consistent performers that IMO produced an excellent '04 BdM are:
- Fuligni
- Sesta di Sopra
- Lisini

The biggest surprise to me where:
- Piancornello
- Poggio il Castellare
Both are very good Brunelli (both 93pts in my book) at an excellent price level. And I have never had them before!

And what's up with the Altesino BdM? I don't know. After I had the regular Brunello I was very disappointed by it (I rated it 'FLAW'). The Montosoli showed the same burnt rubber component, but at a much lower level. Underneath was a solid Brunello.

I would always suggest to taste before buy. That's how I always try to do it. This year I have not followed this strategy for one wine: Valdicava. I just ordered some pre-release. And I still havn't tasted it to date. Was this a stupid move?
The only 04BdM currently available here is Il Poggione. I noticed JS gave it a 91 but it earned a WA 95. Anyone here get a chance to try it yet?
These are my notes on the Il Poggione:

Posted from CellarTracker

I remember that it was extremely tight. But the body and structure where quite promising. Initially I didn't buy. But I found some bottles at EUR 22 and decided to take the chance.
Bottomline: its a matter of pricing. This is at least a good Brunello, perhaps a very good one. Time will tell.
Jochems, do you know what the price point is for the Querce Bettina? Their production seems to be small and possibly just available in Montalcino. I will be in Montalcino in a couple of weeks so I imagine I should be able to find a few bottle to bring back! Thanks
So far for me it is Fuligni, Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova. Siro Pacenti and Uccellera. I have heard mixed review on the Frescobaldi. I am also considering San Fillippo.
De Duke,
The Querce Bettina sells around EUR 47,50 in Montalcino.

Big and Red,
If you consider the Fanti, then you should definitely try to taste it first. When I tasted it, there was no clue what so ever that it could be a Brunello. It was one of the purest strawberryEek aroma's I've ever smelled in a red wine. Not my cup of tea (or Brunello for that matter). It might be yours. I wrote down 88pts. Didn't even take the effort of putting it up in CT. I've only tasted it once. Apparently JS had a completely different experience with this wine. Hence the advise to taste for yourself.

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