W.E. Takes on 2007 Brunello Selezione and 2006 Brunello Riserva

Wine Enthusiast rates the buzzed about vineyard designates and Riservas.

Last week, Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Italian Editor, Monica Larner, tasted more than 135 samples of 2007 Brunello di Montalcino, 25 Brunello vineyard designates or Selezioni, and 95 Brunello di Montalcino Riservas. W.E. also received 41 samples of Rosso di Montalcino from 2010 and 2009, thanks to the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, the local vintners’ association. (Check out our 2007 Brunello di Montalcino here.)

Now, we bring you the top 40 wines representing Brunello 2007 Selezione and 2006 Riserva, with abbreviated reviews below.

The two vintages in question—2006 and 2007—represent different expressions of Brunello. 2006 is compelling with its firm composure, high acidity and a sharp, tonic mouthfeel. These are streamlined, elegant wines with enormous potential for long cellar aging; they’re well built yet still sharp at this young age. In fact, the 2006 Riservas should not be opened for another five to ten years, at minimum.

The 2007 vintage, on the other hand, delivers buxom beauty with softer lines, enormous richness, impressive structure and opulence in the mouth. The acidity is not as sharp as 2006, but Sangiovese is a naturally acidic variety, with freshness, balance and thicker extractions.

The fruit component in this vintage is rich with crème de cassis, black currant and wild berry. While past vintages have been dominated by bold cherry, the 2007 is definitely more nuanced. These wines are ready to drink sooner than is typical for the wines of the region, but they also show excellent aging potential because of their firm, velvety structure. The tannic ripeness makes them generous and approachable.

Most estates performed consistently well in 2006 and 2007, though there was more variability in 2006 in certain locations. For example, vineyards in the lower, slightly warmer subzones of the Montalcino denomination tended to show more balance in 2006.  The 2007 vintage, with its cool summer and dry conditions, showed positive results across the Montalcino area, even in the coolest, north-facing subzones.

98 Valdicava 2006 Madonna del Piano Riserva
Impenetrable density and extraction. Almost syrupy. Black fruit, spice, blackberry preserves, licorice, asphalt, ground black pepper, cherry liqueur and crème de cassis. No limits to the intensity and complexity here. Dark, plush, firmly structure and very, very long. Keep this baby safely in your cellar 20 years or more. Vinifera Imports.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

98 Casanova di Neri 2006 Cerretalto
Beautiful nose with natural complexity and oak-driven tones of cinnamon, clove, chocolate and exotic spice. The fruit is dark, dense and ripe. There’s extra roundness and density in the mouth that acts like the glue that holds together the wine’s firm tannins and its crisp, acidic component. Hold 10–20 more years. Great structure with a touch of pleasurable softness. Dalla Terra Winery Direct.
abv. 14.5% Price: $215

97 Casanova di Neri 2007 Tenuta Nuova
Gorgeous, opulent, rich, long-lasting intensity and concentration. The wine has body, power, persistency and loads of plush Brunello personality. Incredibly beautiful and layered with chocolate, cherry, blackberry, spice, leather and savory notes. There's a deep mineral layer as well. Masterful mouthfeel. Compelling and lovely. Dalla Terra Winery Direct.
abv. 14.5% Price: $79

96 Tenuta La Fuga 2006 Le Due Sorelle Riserva
Gorgeous intensity and beautiful density. There’s just enough softness here to cushion the naturally high acidity of 2006. Firm, silky, tonic, rich, powerful and with a superlong finish. In fact, the extraordinary persistency is what sets this Riserva apart. Age 10–15 more years. Kobrand.
abv. 14.5% Price: $75

96 Il Poggione 2006 Riserva Vigna Paganelli
Perfumed notes of red rose and pressed flower open the bright bouquet. This is a plump, bold wine with concentration and loads of dark fruits such as prune and black plum. Tight tannic firmness. Let this wine age 10 more years. Beautiful, elegant, bold. Terlato Wines International.
abv. 14.5% Price: $95

96 Capanna 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Simply gorgeous with loads of fresh fruit, mineral, spice, leather, tobacco and long aging potential. The freshness and structure are definitely there. Luscious, sweet, and opulent with vanilla, espresso and dried herb or menthol overtones. Masciarelli Wine Co.
abv. 15% Price: $80

95 PianCornello 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
A very plush, dark and decadent Brunello with soft and luscious tones of ripe fruit, blackberry, moist earth and pipe tobacco. The wine is smooth, dense and enduring. Can cellar age or can drink in 3–5 years. Represents a softer, rounder approach to the crisp 2006 vintage. Superior Wines LLC.
abv. 14.5% Price: $70

95 La Serena 2006 Riserva Gemini
Smooth, balanced and intense. Opens with a deep, saturated appearance and plush aromas of sweet spice, rum cake, leather, tobacco, ripe fruit and blackberry. A bold, modern wine. Shows acidity and tannins that are firm but not biting. Very nice. Marc de Grazia Selections.
abv. NA Price: $NA

95 Pieve Santa Restituta 2007 Rennina
Put this wine in your cellar 10–15 more years. Bold oak and cherry tones need more time to integrate. Plump, rich blackberry flavors are blended with soft nuances of spice, leather and dark chocolate. Huge density and opulence. Give this wine more time. Terlato Wines International.
abv. 15% Price: $NA

95 Donatella Cinelli Colombini 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Opens with a deep garnet color and gorgeous saturation. Black espresso bean, vanilla pod, toasted chestnut and a dark, brooding quality of fruit. Bright acidity, direct and linear on the palate. Has a sharply defined edge and polished tannins. Banville & Jones Wine Merchants.
abv. 14% Price: $70

95 Poggio Nardone 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Poggio Nardone's gorgeous Riserva is a never-ending journey of opulence and excellence. Everything is delivered in supersized intensity—the cherry, chocolate, spice, cola, cassis, leather and cedar. The mouthfeel is soft, finely textured, shapely and long-lasting. This is a beautiful wine that will age many more years to come. Michael Skurnik Wines.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

95 La Rasina 2006 Il Divasco
La Rasina has really hit a winning formula with Il Divasco. This wine is bold and opulent with lavish layers of bright fruit, spice, cola and leather. It is one of those wines that seems to have melted chocolate fudge at its core with a round, soft mouthfeel at the backend. Intensity and complexity are both there. Montecastelli Selections.
abv. 14.5% Price: $75

95 Verbena 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Very pretty and lusciously layered with dark fruit, spice, leather, tobacco and rum cake. The wine is dense and chewy with excellent pulp and a tight, velvety feel. The smoothness of the texture is really nice. Dark fruit and spice push the wine over the palate and both the acidity and tannins are softer than other 2006 Riservas. Michael R. Downey Selections.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

95 Siro Pacenti 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Not an obvious wine by any stretch, this Brunello Riserva opens slowly and bashfully to deliver small pulses of cherry, chocolate and smoked bacon that build in intensity and power as the wine gains momentum in the glass. The tannins are present but soft and firm without bitter astringency. Age 10 years or more. Michael Skurnik Wines.
abv. 14.5% Price: $100

95 Canalicchio di Sopra 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
A pretty, modern, bold expression that vaunts soft layers of chocolate and dark cherry fruit to help soften the natural acidity and structure of the 2006 vintage. A polished mineral note adds attractive definition. Tight and very firm: Age it 10–20 more years. Vinifera Imports.
abv. 14% Price: $105

95 Castello Romitorio 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Plush, modern, approachable and opulent, with aromas of spice, ripe fruit, chocolate fudge and red cherry. This is a very round and supple wine with a soft, generous mouthfeel backed by firm structure and bright acidity. Vinifera Imports.
abv. 14% Price: $140

95 Castello Banfi 2006 Poggio all’Oro Riserva
Sophisticated and austere, with just a tiny dab of playfulness on the bouquet from sweet spice and red rose aromas. Beyond that are steady pulses of tobacco, leather and dark cedar. The wine is plush, textured and rich with a steady firmness that keeps it grounded. Banfi Vintners.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

94 Tenimenti Angelini 2006 Vigna Spuntali Val di Suga
This full-bodied Brunello Riserva opens with compelling aromas of black fruit, smoked bacon, leather, cinnamon and crushed clove. There's a sassy, spicy characteristic here that is further underlined by the wine's natural sweetness and roundness. Vin DiVino.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 Bellaria 2006 Assunto Riserva
Dark concentration and dark fruit aromas of cherry, blackberry and exotic spice. There’s inky density here contrasted against delicate aromas of lead pencil, cola and cured meat. Very plush, rich and extracted although the wine shows its austere Riserva personality in the mouth. Dusty, firm tannins. Terra Verus Trading Co.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

94 Cupano 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Sweet oak tones of spice and cinnamon with ripe fruit, cherry and sweet raspberry. This is a soft, yielding Brunello Riserva with tight tannins, fresh acidity and solid structure. Verdeor Select Vintages.
abv. 15% Price: $130

94 San Filippo di Giannelli 2006 Le Lucére Riserva
Dense, bold and beautiful with plush cherry, blackberry, clove, cinnamon, cola and dried rosemary. Polished and evolved with a dusty, silky feel on the long finish. Very beautiful. Marc de Grazia Selection.
abv. 14% Price: $110

94 Bonacchi 2007 Molino della Suga
Huge difference from last vintage. Soft, supple, dense and enduring. Loads of fruit intensity and plush, spicy richness. Black fruit, rum cake, cherry liqueur and smoked bacon. Modern, bold and very bright. Total Wine & More.
abv. 13.5% Price: $NA

94 Il Poggiolo E.Cosimi 2006 Il Mio Brunello Riserva
Dark, inky color with a broad aromatic delivery. Earthy, candied fruit, plum cake and cinnamon spice. Smooth and luscious. Very evolved and shows promise for longevity. Tight structure. Enotec Imports.
abv. 14% Price: $110

94 La Fortuna 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Very silky, firm and polished with bright fruit nuances of wild berry, almond skin, cola and menthol overtones. Bright, crisp and sharp with a very fine, smooth texture. Dusty mineral notes appear on the finish. MHW Ltd.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 San Polo 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Round, soft and opulent with chocolate fudge, cherry, vanilla bean and bright cherry fruit. Very focused and defined with structure and acidity to support the berry fruit as well as promise long aging. Polished, silky close. Winebow.
abv. 14.5% Price: $90

94 Quattroventi 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
This beautiful Brunello Riserva opens with dark concentration and bold berry notes spanning from cassis to blackberry. It's a ripe, extracted wine with savory spice and cured meat aromas that fill in the back. Crushed black pepper and cardamom also make an appearance.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 Tenuta Vitanza 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Inky black concentration is followed by beautiful tones of black mineral, licorice, peppercorn and ripe fruit. This is a dark, brooding Brunello with an elegant, dry nose followed by opulent flavor layers that build momentum. Round, rich and well structured. Drink after 2018. Vintners Estate Direct Importing.
abv. 14.5% Price: $75

94 Collosorbo 2006 Brunello di Montlacino Riserva
A very successful Brunello Riserva with opulent density in a bold, modern style that focuses on bright cherry and savory spice aromas. The wine is loaded with density and richness and offers a sweet, soft feel on the finish and a lively berry finish. Frank Johnson Selections.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 Podere Brizio 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Big shoulders here. There’s a dusty, aged quality with sophisticated, silky tannins and tertiary aromas of black licorice, dried tobacco, peppercorn and dried berry fruit. Firm, tight and compact. Age ten more years. Marc de Grazia Selection.
abv. 14.5% Price: $120

94 Mocali 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Beautifully integrated aromas of dark fruit, spice, leather and tobacco. This Brunello delivers an intense and complex bouquet. Tight tannins promise long aging. An elegant wine. Michael Skurnik Wines.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

94 San Lorenzo 2006 Bramante Riserva
Luscious, soft, beautifully textured and plush. Rich red fruit with leather, tobacco. sweet cinnamon and almond marzipan. Shows a compact, firm mouthfeel with a lively, bright personality. Polished and firm. Vos Vinum Importing.
abv. 14% Price: $NA

94 Poggio Il Castellare 2006 Pian Bossolino Riserva
A dark inky wine with a bold garnet color and some amber highlights on the rim. Deep, bold density. The wine is soft, plush and rich with candied fruit, leather, spice, licorice, crushed mineral and asphalt. Margate Wine & Spirit Company.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 San Polino 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
A dark and sophisticated wine with loads of dark fruit and exotic spice intensity. Plush, rich and benefits from rock-solid structure. A bright ruby-garnet appearance with bright acidity and a fresh, lively close. T.Edward Wines.
abv. NA% Price: $NA

94 La Poderina 2006 Poggio Abate Riserva
Beautiful extraction and personality. There’s a sassy, spicy quality here with clove and spice. Cola, root beer and black licorice. Smooth and dark, with bold structure. Vias Imports.
abv. NA% Price: $NA

94 Castello Banfi 2007 Poggio alle Mura
Dark, chewy, clean quality of tannin with fresh mouthfeel and persistency. Beautiful fruit intensity with cherry, blackberry, spice, leather and tobacco. Bold and extracted mouthfeel. Good aging potential. Banfi Vintners.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 Castelgiocondo 2006 Brunello di Montlacino Riserva
A very intense and opulent Brunello with bold brush strokes of ripe cherry, blackberry, chocolate, coffee and mocha. Dark concentration and firm tannins with a pretty touch of dusty mineral at the very end. Folio Fine Wine Partners.
abv. NA% Price: $NA

94 Pieve Santa Restituta 2007 Sugarille
Bold and elegant at the same time. Packs a powerful punch in a silk glove. Intense aromas of ripe fruit, spice, cherry liqueur, cola, dried sage and cigar box. The mouthfeel is pristine and structured with a precise, tonic and streamlined impact. Terlato Wines International.
abv. 15% Price: $NA

94 Poggiarellino 2007 Brunello di Montlacino
A nice surprise. Great density and richness with layers of dark fruit and spice. Concentrated, with a bold, confident presentation. Plush texture, length and density. Age 5–10 more years. Premier Wine.
abv. 15% Price $50

94 Gianni Brunelli 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Very beautiful, clean, polished, ripe and elegant. Opens with dark concentration and berry notes of cassis and candied cherry. Rum cake, leather and tobacco. Firm tannins and bright acidity. Acid Inc Selections.
abv. 14.5% Price: $NA

94 Fornacina 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Opens with dark concentration, extra pulp and density in terms of texture. There’s an extra padding of softness here that helps buffer the high acidity and natural firmness. Not ready to drink for another ten years at least. Viva Italia.
abv. 14.5% Price: $92

Published on January 26, 2012


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