To be honest I've been pretty slack this year. I've drunk plenty of wine but I haven't exactly been meticulous in my note keeping. The Burgundies, Pomerols and south Australian Grenaches have come and gone. Some good, some bad, but many memorable. I'll be better in the new year. I suppose that's a resolution. Just time to slip in a few words before January 1st about a very reasonably priced bottle of Brunello that I just picked up.
For those not in the know, Brunello is like the big brother to Chianti. Made from the Sangiovese grape, this Tuscan wonder is a staple of Italian restaurants the world over and I thought that a decent example might be out of my price range in Japan.
I was half right.
Badia al Colle's 2009 effort is still massively young. Perhaps it was my knowledge of the amount of ageing Brunellos actually need, but I swear I could smell the tannin when I pulled the cork on this one. The nose was terrifically pungent on the first pour. Cherries, as expected, but more of a Tempranillo character than a classy pasta joint drop. Charcoal as well. An odd component, but something in the nose of this wine reminds me of a recently quenched barbecue. Mostly bright red fruit of a confectionery shop style.
It's not often that I taste a wine and instantly think that it's well balanced. This most certainly is and its the wine's greatest strength. It's a hugely drinkable wine that just disappears down your throat in a stream of fruit, velvet and excitement. The fruit on the palate is very food friendly. Sour cherry, cranberry and just a little grapeyness remaining. This would be an excellent accompaniment to a ton of my favourite foods. Cassoulet, Goulash and the most hideous sounding of pork offal dishes would be excellent with this. The acid is present, perhaps a little too present for this to be fully enjoyed on its own. Secondary elements are still lacking though. The tannin, while never grippy, still has to yield more complex savoury notes. The question remains as to whether this wine has the guts to stay in the fight. Perhaps not. More seasoned Brunello drinkers have sampled this wine, put it on the shelves pf your local Yamaya and priced it at under 3000 yen. This wine is really just the merest glimpse of what the region is capable of. I'll take a closer look in the name of science in the new year.
Judging by the length of this wine I'd say it's a super bargain. Delicious and flexible in it's nature, this wine will brighten up any Italian meal. If you have a decanter give it an hour or three, if not, why not?