What’s in My Glass? Brunello
This week, all hell broke lose and I was in desperate need of good wine to survive.
By “all hell” I mean broken legs, broken refrigerators, and broken resolve regarding housework thanks to puppies that aren’t housebroken. Luckily for me (and everyone forced to be around me)Snooth was hosting a virtual tasting with storied Brunello di Montalcino producer Fattoria dei Barbi.
Brunello di Montalcino is the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon of Italy–consistently one of the boldest, smoothest wines that comes from the boot-shaped country, and also one of the most delicious steak accompaniments known to man.
Made from the cherry-scented Sangiovese grape, Brunello combines high acidity and tannins (think: lots of puckering) with extended oak aging to create a wine that’s traditionally smooth and earthy, with lots of dried fruit and cocoa tones.
I sipped and swirled the Brunello Normale 2008 and Riserva 2008 alongside a thick, herb-marinated ribeye and magically forgot that the world was crumbling around me.
The Brunello Normale must be aged for 50 months in large oak casks, and this one was loaded with dried fruit aromas of cherry and apricot on the nose, and was all velvet on the palate. Great black fruit flavors and notes of leather made this bottle disappear faster than I’d hoped.
By law, Riserva Brunellos must be aged for a minimum of 62 months–giving the wine more age, but also more oak character. The Barbi 2008 Riserva was classic, with tons of savory herbal notes on the nose–Eucalyptus, basil, cocoa, and hardly any fruit. Time in barrel and bottle also meant soft stress-melting tannins, that led into a super long finish.
Brunello di Montalcino Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Inexpensive Rosso di Montalcino wines for the complex fruitiness Brunellos offer, without the $50+ price tag. (Try Fattoria dei Barbi Rosso di Montalcino)
Brunello on the second day! These wines are so bold they can usually stand up to extra air, just put ’em in the fridge overnight.
Decanting Italian wines–nothing makes a bold wine better than a vigorous pour into a decanter/vase/blender!
Fun Facts: Sangiovese was determined to be the same variety as Brunello in 1879. The Tuscan city of Siena even had an ampelographic (grape studying) committee at that point!
Brunello di Montalcino was the first Italian wine region given the D.O.C.G. growing status, the highest quality a region can achieve.
Fattoria dei Barbi has been around since 1352!
Perfect Pairings: Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the classic Tuscan T-Bone steak, grilled medium rare is perfect for the tannins and oakiness of these wines.
Meat-heavy ragú (Osso Buco? Shredded pork?) over buttery polenta contrasts the wine’s fruitiness, and adds fat to counteract strong tannins.
Bacon covered potato skins. Yes, I went there. Yes, it was awesome.