Verbena, DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, 2009
Brunello is a clone of sangiovese grosso, ideally suited to the Montalcino terroir, which is warmer, drier and more elevated (so cooler nights) than the Chianti Classico and Chianti regions, so higher ripeness, body and alcohol. For a normale, as with this wine, there is a minimum of 4 years ageing with 2 in wood, for a riserva it is 2.5 years in wood of a minimum 5 years ageing, and for the entry-level Rosso di Montalcino , it is a minimum of 1 year’s ageing. Ageing is gauged from 01 January following vintage.
This wine: varietal brunello, natural cork closure, 14.5 % abv, Ann et Vin, £33 (2015)
Consumer tasting note: a strong nose of toasty ripe and stewed red and black berries, with spice, tobacco and liquorice; medium-full bodied with well-integrated tannins and high(ish) alcohol, which does not intrude; more black berried on the palate, with spice, liquorice and a floral edge of gorse flower (delicate coconut-like). Medium-long length. Decant for an hour or so.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears, no sediment.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of toasty slightly lifted over-ripe red cherry, black berry, spicy edge, touch of stewed strawberry, cedar, cinnamon, peony, creamed red berries, dried cranberry, low-key sweet tobacco, and with a little time, a touch of liquorice, touch of stewed black cherry.
Palate: dry, high acidity, fine-grained ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a velvety texture, with flavours of black berry, sweet black cherry, toast, spice, a low-key woodiness, gorse flower (delicate coconut-like), liquorice. A medium (+) length, with a clean lightly warming black berried finish.
Quality: very good, with a fine balance of fresh acidity and tannins with alcohol, which does not intrude in mid-palate though warming on the finish, all harmonious with the flavour intensity. Quite concentrated flavours, showing strong complexity on the nose, less so on the palate, from time in oak and bottle, with toasty spicy notes and stewed and dried berry dimensions. Follows through into a decent yet slightly disappointing length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but can improve over say 3-5 years, during which time the toastiness will lessen – has sound flavour intensity and concentration, and fruit to develop.