Benvenuto Brunello US 2009: San Francisco
Thirty nine producers of Brunello di Montalcino, the famed Tuscan wine which was at the center of an Italian scandal in 2008, arrived in San Francisco, California for the announced Benvenuto Brunello (Welcome Brunello) US Tour 2009. On January 22, 2009 they presented their new releases of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, as well as the Rosso di Montalcino DOC, the dessert wine Moscadello di Montalcino DOC and the white Sant'Antimo, another DOC wine produced in the small municipality of Montalcino.
The event, dedicated to wine and food professionals, opened at noon at Terra Gallery, at 511 Harrison Street. For six hours the producers, helped by their importers and/or area distributors, poured their wines for a constant flow of visitors, including professional buyers, re-sellers, wholesalers and journalists.
WineCountry.IT president, Loris Scagliarini, helped Jeanneth Angel, marketing manager of Tenuta La Carlina, producers of the prized La Togata wines, pour four of the estate bottled labels: 2006 Toscana IGT Barengo, 2006 Rosso di Montalcino, 2003 Brunello di Montalcino La Togata, and 2003 Brunello di Montalcino La Togata dei Togati. At the same time, Massimo Margelli, director of wine sales for WineCountry.IT, 'worked the room', making new contacts with prospective clients and reinforcing the relashionship with existing clients.
- Barengo means 'Happiness' in the ancient language of the Etruscans, who once inhabited the area that includes the hill of Montalcino. The Toscana IGT Barengo is made with 100% Sangiovese grapes grown in and around the Montalcino DOC wine zone, which rests for six months in Slavonic barrels after fermentation. The wine offers a great price/quality ratio and is considered the day-to-day wine produced by the estate.
- The Rosso di Montalcino (Red frommMontalcino) is sometimes called Baby Brunello, as it is made with the same grapes used for the Brunello, which, by the way, is the name given to the handful of Sangiovese clones cultivated in Montalcino. Whereas the noble Brunello is destined for lengthy ageing, the Rosso di Montalcino is a younger, more vivacious wine full of freshness with superb structure. La Togata version ages 1/3 of the wine for 12 months in French and Chilean barriques and in small oak barrels. The remaining 2/3 of the wine rests first in 78-hectoliter (over 2,000 gallons) iron vats whose height is equal to the diameter, then completes refinement spending eight months in 25-hectoliter (about 660 gallons) oak barrels, before bottling.
The color is ruby red with purple highlights. To the nose it reveals persistent perfume with fruity notes. Soft, with persistent notes of fresh, ripe red fruits, this wine has good structure and balanced tannins.
The grapes used to produce the Brunello di Montalcino La Togata are first thinned twice in the vineyards, then, during harvest, an average of three grapes out of five only are selected, and the rest is used to make Barengo, Rosso and/or Azzurreta, the Super Tuscan produced by the estate. After long maceration with the grape skin at controlled temperature around 33ºC (91.4ºF), the wine ages for 36 months in small French oak barrels and in 17.5-hectoliter (462.3 gallons) Slavonic oak barrels.
The color is deep ruby red, with ethereal perfume and intense, complex bouquet. To the palate it reveals strong body, good structure and balanced tannins. Pairs well with important, earthy dishes featuring red meat, game, and aged cheese. To enjoy it at its best, pour it using the lab certified Centellino wine aerator, which opens up scent and aroma of the wine. The only alternative is opening the bottle in advance and decant it for at least two hours before drinking: which is all but almost impossible at a restaurant.
Similar to the regular Brunello, most of La Togata dei Togati Cru ages 36 months in new Slavonic oak barrels, while a small part refines in French oak.
This 13.5% alcohol content wine has deep, clear ruby red color with purplish highlights. The perfume is wide and persistent, with fruity notes well amalgamated with the scent of wood. The important structure and tannins open into persistent notes of ripe, fresh fruits. Excellent with hearty red meat and game dishes, it pairs well with aged cheese and chocolate as well.
To enjoy it at its best, serve at 18°C. (64.4°F.) pouring it using the lab certified Centellino wine aerator. In alternative, open and decant for at least two hours before serving in wide stemglasses.
On Friday, January 23, 2009, Jeanneth and Loris participated in the press lunch offered by the consortium for the protection of the Brunello di Montalcino at Perbacco restaurant, at 250 California street, in San Francisco. On this occasion, the guests tasted older vintages, from 1979 to 1999 of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG.
After a well deserved night's rest, Jeanneth Angel took off for the second leg of the Benvenuto Brunello US Tour in New York, from Monday, January 26, to Wednesday, January 28, 2009.