Friday, February 23, 2007

Benvenuto Brunello 2007

In the hilltown of Montalcino, it's everything you ever wanted to know about Brunello but were afraid to ask, for the next four days.

Just as folks are gathering up here in Napa Valley for the Premiere Napa Valley, in Italy other wine-lovers are already starting to taste and evaluate the new vintages of Brunello from one of Tuscany's great wine territories.

This is a challenging year for Tuscany. I think we are looking down the barrel of three potentially wonderful vintages: 2004, 2005 and 2006. Benvenuto Brunello is held at the Fortezza, the castle atop the town. This is an invite-only event for the press and the trade, but in Italy that never held back a wine-lover. So if you are near, get yourself to Montalcino, even if you have to take your uncle's donkey (or that old Cinquecento), and see and smell and taste for yourself.

2006, according to the Consorzio of Brunello, is regarded as a optimal (ottimo) year with a near-perfect ripening season, a not-too-harsh August and a little bit of craziness in September that had producers scrambling. However, it was more worry than was warranted, for the diligent producers were managing their plots and were able to prevent those few days of rain from robbing them of potential glory. But, we shall see.

I'll be very excited to talk to producers when I go to Vinitaly next month. For now, I am enjoying the block party and bake sale otherwise known as Premiere Napa Valley, while I take a few days of divertimenti.

Check out the Brunello Consorzio page or Benvenuto Brunello. Also, the Premiere Napa Valley event is here as well.

And for God's sake, drink that special bottle of wine you've been saving for a special time. On Sunday it's OTBN7 (courtesy of Dr.Vino's wine blog from an article by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal, Open That Bottle Night 7).

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