Wine Education

Anatomy of a Historic Vintage: Brunello di Montalcino 2010

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 – YouTube video

Perfect conditions are certainly a rarity in the unpredictable, nature-driven world of wine. However, 2010 was a year of near perfection in Montalcino. This vintage was unique in that all phases – from the vegetative stage to the ripening and harvesting of grapes – took place under ideal circumstances.

The year 2010 began with copious rainfall in April that continued through mid-June with unseasonably cool temperatures. From then on the climate was warm and dry with rain returning in just the right quantity, and without affecting the harvest, which began later than in previous years in early September. September also was blessed with good diurnal swings (hot days and cool nights) that helped grapes to fully ripen. In short, vines and fruit grew and developed slowly and continuously throughout the season, creating grapes with perfectly balanced levels of sugar, acidity, and mature polyphenols.

With perfect fruit, Castello Banfi winemaker Rudy Buratti had an easy task in making what many experts are calling the greatest vintage in the history of Brunello di Montalcino. “Nature did its work,” says Buratti, “and my goal was to carry nature’s perfection to the bottle.” Indeed he did, as 2010 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino normale and Poggio alle Mura – a more complex cru Brunello coming from Sangiovese grown in the vineyards surrounding the estate’s 12th-century castle – are full of vibrant, rich fruit, excellent acidity, ripe tannins, and ample complexity. Critics worldwide have given high marks to both of Castello Banfi’s 2010 bottlings, assessing it a historic vintage with long aging potential. Based in part on its high-scoring Brunelli, Castello Banfi was named the Winery of the Year, Europe for 2015.

In the US, 2010 Brunello is right now arriving – and disappearing quickly – from retail shelves and restaurant wine lists, so if you want a taste (or a case) of it, you’ll want to act sooner rather than later. In the meantime, to learn more about the 2010 vintage in Montalcino, including commentary from Castello Banfi winemaker Rudy Buratti, watch this video.


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