The market has been waiting for the 2010 Brunello Riservas, with hopes that critics will go even further beyond the lofty scores of the regular ’10 Brunellos. However, I for one don’t believe they’ll get their wish.
What do we love about 2010 Brunello? I really do hope that you have chosen to open one of two bottles buy now, because what 2010 has is something that I’ve never seen in such a classic vintage before…they’re drinkable. Young? YES. However, the 2010 Normale Brunellos have a brilliance and purity of fruit that is so intense, while also remaining refined, that it nearly envelopes the tannins. That’s the magic of 2010. Throughout 2015, the 2010s underwent a metamorphosis in the bottle. Frankly, it’s difficult to read many of the critics’ notes from early last year and then compare them to what we taste today—because the wines have gotten even better. I’m completely serious.
So what does that mean for the average 2010 Brunello Riserva? It means that the same brilliant fruit that I love about the vintage spent another year in oak—absorbing tannin and concentrating further. In my opinion, these wines didn’t require anything more than they already had. The extra year in oak unfortunately dominated much of the purity and drinkability that I found in most 2010s.
There are exceptions, of course. There are a small number of wines that come across as utterly classic, beautiful versions of Brunello Riserva, which deserve a place in our cellars. Great examples are Il Poggione, Stella di Campalto and Tenuta Buon Tempo, which was new producer for me, yet one of the top Riservas of the event. However, don’t expect to drink the majority of these wines for at least a decade, if not longer.
I’m really looking forward to tasting more of the Riservas, and I’m sure that some critics will disagree with my opinions; but from what’s I’ve tasted so far, the best example of 2010 Brunello Riserva are amazing, while the rest fall below their Brunello Normale counterparts.
On to the tasting notes:
2010 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli – The nose was dark and intense with ripe red fruits and dark floral tones offset by savory seared meat, smoke and minerals. On the palate, I found tart black cherry and herbs over a firm layer of acidity and tannin, which gave way to a long and structured finish full of inner floral tones and bitter cherry. This wine is classic to the core and one of my favorite ’10 Riservas tasted to date. Bury it in the cellar and good things will come. (96 points)
2010 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano – The nose was deep, rich and intense with black cherry, brown spice, balsamic tones and sweet herbs. On the palate, it was as smooth as silk with the weight of velvet, showing rich raspberry, cedar, herbs and classic tannins. The finish was long on red fruit, along with notes of leather and crushed stone. This is so dark and brooding yet seduces the senses on its sheer, balanced mass. (96 points) Find it at Morrell
2010 Caprili Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose was dark and viral, showing dried cherry, savory spice, moist earth and a hint of grapefruit. On the palate, it was all at once silky, yet intense with tart, acid-driven red fruits, exotic spice citrus and floral tones. Tart cherry, inner floral tones and spiced citrus all came together on the finish displaying the wild side of Sangiovese. It’s an exotic and truly gorgeous wine. (94 points)
2010 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – Dark and brooding yet full of potential, the 2010 Riserva opened up with a display of ripe strawberry, black cherry, and plum, along with floral perfumes and a hint of pepper. On the palate, it was dense, monolithic and hard to judge, yet there was a core of dark red fruit which seemed determined to one day explode. It finished on dried berries, leather and fine tannin. This is in need of time in the cellar, yet it should one day emerge as something truly special. (94 points) Find it at Morrell
2010 Tenuta Buon Tempo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose was intense and layered, leading with dried earth and undergrowth, yet quickly switching gears to reveal ripe strawberry, cherry and fresh herbal tones. On the palate, silky textures gave way to minerals and fine tannin, as dark red fruits, spice and hints of leather permeated the senses. The finish was tight, youthfully so, yet concentrated, refined—classic. This is one of my favorite 2010 Riservas to date. (94 points) Find it at Morrell
2010 Podere Le Ripi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Lupi e Sirene – The Le Ripi was one of the more interesting and unique Brunello presented this year. Here I found a bouquet of dark earth and minerals up front, which opened to reveal plum, tart cherry, menthol and hints of herbs. On the palate, it was silky with a fine acid-tannin balance, dark cherry, and deep minerality. The finish was long with an almost salty display of bitters, cherry, minerals and herbs. I had to ask myself if I really liked this, yet the answer ended up being a resounding YES—and having watched it evolve in the glass, I believe the best is yet to come. (93 points)
2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio All’Oro – The nose was dark and brooding, showing medicinal cherry, menthol and dark chocolate. On the palate, weighty textures flowed across the senses like heavy silk along with bitter black cherry and fine grained tannins. The long finish showed dark chocolate, black cherry, plum and herbal notes. The oak is quite present in this wine today, but it’s easy to see where it’s going and it reminds me quite a bit of the ’99 tasted earlier this year. (92 points)
2010 Azienda Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – On the nose, I found a powerful display of dark red fruits, earth and forest floor. Silky textures contrasted by grippy tannin saturated the senses with intense dark fruits and spice on the palate. It finished long, as tannin coated the senses, along with dried red fruits, leather and hints of herbs. (92 points)
2010 Val di Suga (Angelini) Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al granchio – The nose was dark, perfumed and refined with classic dark red fruits, earth and hints of leather. On the palate, silky textures were firmed up by fine tannin, giving way to bitter dark fruits, earth and inner floral tones. The finish was structured with medium length, showing dried berries and herbs. (92 points)
2010 Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose was restrained, showing dark red fruits and floral perfumes. On the palate, I found soft textures followed by dark bitter cherry and tannin which swept across the senses and firmly took hold. It finished on inner floral tones and dried cherry. It was very hard to read in this youthful state, but my fear is that some of the brilliance of 2010 fruit may have been lost in this wine’s élevage. (91 points)
2010 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose displayed a dark, rich character with black cherry out front followed by chalky minerality. On the palate, it was soft with ripe red fruits, cedar and hints of spice, and it finished with dark inner floral tones. This is one of the softer and easier-to-like examples of 2010 Brunello that I’ve tasted, and it makes for a good option for early drinking. (91 points)
2010 Palazzina Le Macioche Brunello di Montalcino Le Macioche – The nose showed tart red fruits, plum, undergrowth and herbal tones. On the palate, silky textures were offset by brisk acidity with gripping tannin, tart red fruit and stems. The finish was medium-long with notes of dried red fruits. (90 points)
2010 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Ferrovia – The nose was dark and brooding with minerals and spice up front, followed by violet floral tones and crushed raspberry fruit. On the palate I found silky textures, which were quickly firmed up by the wine’s tannic structure, showing small red and blackberry fruit, spice and cedar. The finish was tight and restrained, with remnants of dried cherry and inner florals. I wanted to like this wine more, but I have to wonder if the fruit will outlast its imposing structure. (90 points)
2010 Piccini Brunello di Montalcino Villa Al Cortile Riserva – The nose was restrained and slightly reductive, showing notes of ripe cherry and rubber, with hints of sweet florals and herbs. On the palate, light red fruits with a bump of brisk acidity made themselves known, leading into a medium-long finish defined by mouth-coating tannins. (89 points)
2010 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – The nose was restrained, giving little more than dried berries, hints of spice and minerals. On the palate, I found ripe red fruits and inner floral tones on a feminine frame. It finished reserve with notes of strawberry and herbs. Frankly, I was a little confused here, as I would have thought this to be a Rosso or Brunello from a much cooler vintage. (89 points)
Article and Tasting Notes by: Eric Guido