A Bottle of Mature Brunello
It is a sad fact that I have not drunk much Brunello di Montalcino lately, let alone ever. Lou corrected this aberration by bringing over an interesting bottle on Labor Day. The Brunello DOCG was granted in 1980, making his bottle of 1981 Il Casello, Brunello di Montalcino an early example produced under the new rules. The DOCG rules required a major change in winemaking. Previously, in poor vintages, producers could add up to 10% grapes, must, or wine from outside Brunell to bring up the alcohol level. The DOCG change allowed the correction to only be done with an old vintage of Brunello up to 15%.
Whether any old vintage is a part of this bottle is unknown. It was a moderate vintage. The Wassermans described it as “good, though a trifle light” with a rating of “*-” out of four stars. Not exactly a glowing vintage review being in the second worst grouping. The wine itself was described more favorably with “Lovely nose, tobacco component; loads of nice fruit, moderate tannins, medium to full body, fairly well balanced. **(+)”.
The fruit persists even today as do the tannins. In fact, the wine showed best after several hours of air when the fruit sweetened up. It is a very pleasant wine no doubt because it was made by the owners of Tenuta Il Poggione, the Franchesci family. The Franchesci family have a long history making Brunello as they purchased the Il Poggione estate in 1900. There was only one wine produced at Il Casello, this Brunello, and it was made by the Il Poggione winemaker. It is not a complex wine by any stretch, rather one of former strength tempered by old wood flavors. It is beginning to lose balance in the aftertaste so I would drink it up.
1981 Il Casello, Brunello di Montalcino
Imported by Corinthian Wine Merchants. Alcohol 13.5%. The almost tawny color does not prepare you for the rounded core of fruit. The fruit sweetens up with air, mixing with old wood notes, and fine tannins throughout. There are more mature notes of wood and hints of tobacco. The level of fruit sweetness is most apparent in the finish before there is a little sharpness in the aftertaste. **(*) Now.