So an eventful lightning visit to Montalcino the week. The main aim to visit and taste at Fornacina – a tiny domaine in the same sector as Cerbaiona and Salvioni.
What is definite is that 2010 is a fine vintage in Montalcino, as are 2011, 2012 and 2013 – and especially 2012. It’s time to do the PR now for that one. The 2010’s have it all; they are immensely approachable now, with lovely, soft, integrated tannins with richness and balance in the mouth. There is no vivid Sangiovese acicdity, but the structure is entirely delineated.
All the Brunellos that I tasted were immediately approachable but showed a profound depth with subtle acidity which suggests a long and promising future. They offer immediate gratification now, but will reward patience in the cellars.
Also of great interest were the various discussions, such as regarding 2014 – a total wash-out of a vintage. Nevertheless, the domaines feel confident enough in quality to make some Brnello, but only tiny amounts and nothing that will support them financially. This said, they also freely admit that the advantage of making wine in Tuscany is that the best years far outnumber the dogs, so 2014 is a wave they can ride.
Equally intriguing is the battle of the critics, most notably James Suckling and Antonio Galloni. Suffice to say James Suckling seems to garner little respect there. There are allegations on which I couldn’t possibly speculate, but, in short, producers seem to feel he has little real empathy, emotion or understanding for the wines of Montalcino.
Once noting 1985 Biondi-Santi a lowly 82 points was a low ebb indeed. His recent noting of Casanova di Neri’s Tenuta Nuova at 99 points agains Galloni’s 88 points is a source of vivid discussion.
In short, I think it all comes down to oak, particularly small (new) barriques against large Slovenian foudres.
And then there is Monica Larmer’s systematic noting of wines two points lower than Galloni…it’s all very curious.
But the wines are great this year, and there to be loved, and bought if you can find them. Almost everyone is selling or sold out, and we are only in March!
But the good news, as I said, is that 2011, 2012 and 2013 hold promise of what is to come.
And the future of Cerbaiona? Well, I’ll keep that to myself for now, but even if 2014 is a rained out swan-song, they have made Brunello and Diego Molinari’s vintage will be true to themselves. After that, well taht’s for me to know and you to find out.