col d'orcia, brunello di montalcino 2010 (about $48)


Italian Wine for january, 2018

The Col d’Orcia estate has a rich winemaking history that dates back to 1890 when the Franceschi family purchased the current property in the village of San Angelo Scalo, which is about 10 miles south of Montalcino. They began producing Brunello wines for sale in the early 1930’s. In 1973 the Cinzano organization, the internationally celebrated producer of Vermouth and sparkling wines, purchased the Col d’Orcia estate and used their extensive sales network to distribute the not-yet-fashionable Brunello wines.

The estate gradually expanded in size as the Cinzano family implemented a long-term policy of purchasing additional vineyard properties. Starting with just a dozen or so acres in 1973 the estate’s plantings gradually increased over time so that today the estate owns about 350 acres. Approximately 270 acres of vineyards are dedicated to production of Brunello wines, one of the largest single-estate holdings of Brunello-designated vineyards in the appellation.

Today, Brunello di Montalcino is Tuscany’s star wine and is generally considered, along with Barolo, to be one of Italy’s top two wines. It was the first wine to acquire DOCG status and is generally among Italy’s most expensive wines with bottle prices of some of the most exalted Brunello wines running well into the triple digits.

The 2010 Col d’Orcia Brunello is an outstanding wine by any measure. To start with, 2010 was an outstanding 2010 Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcinovintage in the Montalcino area and Tuscany in general. The weather was near perfect with good rainfall in the spring and hot but not too hot or wet during the summer along with a long growing season that worked to the advantage of the late-ripening Sangiovese.

The hand-selected Sangiovese grapes from the 2010 harvest were fermented on the skins for about 20 days at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The wine was subsequently aged in large oak casks for 3 years and then spent another year in the bottle prior to release.

Col d’Orcia’s 2010 Brunello di Montalcino opens with Sangiovese’s benchmark blackberry and raspberry aromas intermingled with some oak-inspired spice notes attributable to the wine’s long ageing in wood. A sip reveals a deep and full-bodied wine with a multi-dimensional flavor profile. The wine bursts with ripe dark berry and plum flavors with some savory balsamic notes. It has pitch-perfect acidity and a full, dense mouthfeel with firm tannins that impart complexity and structure to the wine. It has a long and balanced finish with some elegant dark fruit and spice notes.

While drinkable now, this 2010 gem is still a work in progress with lots of room for future evolution that promises to be even more enjoyable and complex in 5 to 10 years. My recommendation? – buy as many bottles as you can afford at today’s very reasonable price and park them in your cellar for at least 5 years. With top-quality Brunello wines patience is essential.


©Richard Marcis
January 10, 2018

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