It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this relatively new Estate in Montalcino. I had the distinct priviledge to taste many vintages with the winemaker (Frederico) today at the Estate. Roberto and Sandra were in Milano selling their wine. First let me begin with the wines in bottle:
2009 Rosso di Montalcino - A relatively simple version of RsM. 2009 was a difficult vintage for all in the region and the Rossi that I have tasted are thinner across the board. Not a bad wine, just not of the same quality as we have seen with the recent run of success. This would be a nice pizza night wine and I would drink up now. It also suffered by being tasted with the wines that followed.
2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva - What a blockbuster. The wine was popped and poured. The nose was intoxicating. So elegant with fresh red fruit, leather, and slight vanilla which is interesting since QB BdM only see time in Slovenian oak, no barrique. The wine was perfectly balanced on the palate with the fruit, acidity, and tannins in great balance. I don't know when the wine will close down but right now it is very expressive. I tasted the '06 Riserva approx. 18 months ago with Jochems at the Estate. It was excellent then but absolutely spellbinding now. This is now the new benchmark for me for Querce Bettina. I would say this is a 97-98 point wine.
2007 Brunello di Montalcino - The '07 is ruby colored with a fresh nose of red fruit, christmas spice, and a hint of leather. I am told the acidity is slightly higher than the '06 but I felt it was slightly less evident. The tannins are present and a little more "dusty" than what I would call silky.
I would agree with Jochems that the wine does not taste quite as fresh as the '06 but freshness is the hallmark of the Brunelli from 2006. This bottle was popped and poured so it would be interesting to let it slow-O and follow the evolution. I find the wines from'07 to be unique. I can normally compare them to another previous vintage but I can't really say that for Brunelli from 2007. I enjoyed the Querce Bettina very much and would give it a 94 if pressed for a score.
There will be a 2007 Riserva as well.
2009 Brunello di Montalcino - Tasted from botti. The same thinness that was seen in the RsM is noticable in the BdM. This is better than the 2002 BdM vintage but more along the lines of 1996. I have not tasted any other brunelli from 2009 so I cannot compare but based on this barrel sample it may be a difficult year for most. Also, I don't want to totally dismiss this wine since it has not yet been bottled. Based on today's tasting I would say it is an 86-88 point wine.
2011 Brunello di Montalcino - Again, tasted from botti. Much more structure than the 2009. Nice fruit with balanced acidity and very noticable tannins. I had the chance to taste two separate botti. I was amazed at the noticable differences in the wine from each. I know that QB will blend the two barrels together to come up with the final wine that will be bottled. That would be an interesting excercise since the wines have such unique character singularly. The potential is there for an excellent wine.
2012 Pre-Malolactic Sangiovese - I can't call this Rosso or Brunello since it is fermented grape juice that is just starting to go through malolactic fermentation. I can say that there is plenty of fruit (actually strawberries) and the color is intense. There was a huge drought in Montalcino this year. The winter was dry except for a large snowfall in February. There was a little rain in May and then nothing until the end of August. The weather tested the vineyard management practices of all this year and canopy management was very important. The leaves are still on most of the vines and I have never seen as much vegetation left on vines before. The shade the leaves gave made the difference for most. There was some intermittent rain on August 30 and on into early September that rescued most. The production is down 25-35 percent and lots of fruit (raisined) left on the vines. The sorting table was equally important. With all this said, there are high hopes for the vintage. The wines will be ripe but the acidities are high. Should be very interesting indeed.
I did not write anything down for the 2010 BdM. I can say that it will probably be the next great vintage in Montalcino. There will be a 2010 Riserva as well.
This Estate continues to perform at a high level. Considering that the vines are 10-11 years old now I look forward to many more years of great wine. I had a great time with Frederico even if my broken Italian was frustrating for him. He kept apologizing for his English but I was was the one embarrassed.