We tasted: Cantina di Montalcino Brunello di Montalcino, M&S
Emma says: “I start our final tasting week with a mix of relief and a tinge of sadness. If I’m honest, we took on a bigger project than I imagined.
Finding, tasting and writing about one wine a week was more demanding than I thought. Not to mention, I didn’t realise Andy would be quite the taskmaster. Apparently my grammar is pretty poor, and he’s been doing a heavy red pen edit on it each week!
But at the same time, it has been a fun project to share and I do now understand what Andy does and doesn’t like a lot better which was the fundamental thing I was trying to achieve. The feedback we have received from you all has also been great and is a real motivator for us to carry on into 2019.
Sangiovese wasn’t the obvious choice as a final grape but I’m now really pleased. Just pouring this glass of wine I knew it was going to be a total “old skool” classic. It has that brown red hue of an aged classic wine, and the aroma that springs from the glass is full of that complex savoury charm; balsamic, leathery and smoky with brooding cherry fruits underlying. All these layers of character come through as the wine changes and reacts with age, and this to me is what make this wine so interesting. To taste it had that certain rusticity that can make Sangiovese so distinct, a chalky texture to the tannins, and acidity really bursting in the mouth. What made this wine sit above the average Sangiovese (as Brunello should) was the decent weight of dark cherry and plums working alongside that tannin and an array of flavours, from dried herbs, to orange peel, cinnamon and an earthy clay note. All working in balance so they don’t fight with each other.
I’m glad we traded up to Brunello. Chianti is often overlooked as a simple pizza restaurant wine, but it can be so interesting when made in the right hands.”
Andy says: “The final week, and unfortunately I have my first/last cold of the year, and I can’t taste a thing.
Or, maybe this wine is just fairly insipid. The first thing I noticed was the high acidity, and I think this is the third wine this year that has made me do the ‘sour shudder’, although perhaps it needs to be rebranded as the ‘acid attack’. The only thing I can agree with from Emma’s notes is the brown/red hue. I’m going to have to re-taste in a day or so when my head clears up.”
Sangiovese is the grape behind Tuscan wines, especially Chianti. It has a light colour and flavour but a distinct tea leaf textured tannin which gives it a unique character. The best Sangiovese tends to be in the Chianti Classico hillside areas. We will be looking for one form a great producer to end our 52 weeks on a high note.