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Some of the old time Chicago Wine Mafia got together to do a retrospective tasting of the great 1997 Brunello vintage at 25 years old. Jcubed agreed to host at his home and everyone brought a dish for dinner which included a tomato, mozzerella and basil salad, minestrone soup, eggplant parmesan, osso bucco, broccoli and Italian pastries and spumoni. I'll skip the warmup wines and dessert wine for now. In attendance was Jcubed, Otis, Blue Oval, myself and our better halves (other than Mrs. Otis who was in Paris shopping).

The 1997 Brunello showed very well with only one seemingly past it's prime. Unless otherwise noted, all of the wines were opened a half hour before drinking. Here are my notes:

1997 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli
Opened by Otis. The 2nd time I have had this wine and it showed much better than in 2011. My favorite Brunello of the night. Floral nose centered around violets. Silky texture. Beautiful red fruit notes with integrated tannins. Wonderful and a wine that you could likely hold a little longer if desired. 97 points.

1997 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto
Opened by Jcubed. 2nd time I have had this wine but the last time was on release in 2003. Just as good now. Traditional style Brunello with a character that Italians call "tipicita". A little more alcohol on the nose of this wine that the other five 1997 Brunellos. Dark cherry, burnt oak and tobacco notes with a bright finish. 95 points.

1997 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino
Opened by Jcubed. This is another wine which has often made the rounds at offline events in Chicago. 6th time I have had this wine. This wine seemed to be on the decline based upon my prior tastings. A bigger more modern style. Deep purple color. Some licorice aromas on the nose. Notes of leather, burnt red fruit and raisins on the finish. This is one of the 2 wines which I thought was showing its' age. Drink now. 91 points.

1997 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino
Opened by Jcubed. 1st time I have had this wine so I don't have any reference points for comparison. This was the most advanced of the 6 Brunello as far as showing its' age. An earthy wine with mushroom, berry and forest floor notes. A little funk on the finish. Drink now. 89 points.

1997 Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino
My last bottle and the 7th time I have had this wine. Decanted 3 hours before drinking. Brick red color. Heavily sedimented. This was one of the standouts of the lineup for me. Aromas of lavender. Notes of beef blood and black currants. Smooth and integrated with a well rounded finish. 95 points.

1997 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso
My last bottle from a case I bought on release. Decanted 3 hours before drinking. Moderately sedimented. Deep purple color without any bricking. Aromas of forest floor. Firm tannins especially for a 25 year old. A rustic and traditional style. Not as fruity as the Siro Pacenti. Leather, black cherry and wild mushroom notes. With air some raisiney notes came out. Drink now. 93 points.


Last edited by Vino Me
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Thanks for the notes. While there are definitely some '97s showing well, the '95 and 99's are still in a great spot depending on the bottle.

With regards to your notes,  I had the same experience with the Fuligni 2-3 years ago and the Siro Pacenti and Ciacci within the last year. If anyone has any Lisini, it's still very good.

I drank the wines Casanova di Neri's wines for all the 90s and the first 00s, then I set them aside out of boredom, as well as for the Pian delle Vigne so I don't know what these wines are currently like. From what I can say about Cerretalto and Pian delle Vigne 97 if they are 100% Sangiovese I am ready to admit that I know nothing about wine even after 35 years of tasting but above all that I have not understood anything about the life of man on this earth.

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