Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Il Palazzone Brunello is intense ruby red with deep garnet hues. The bouquet is intense and ethereal with aromas ranging from dark fruit and berries to chocolate, coffee, leather, licorice and balsamic notes. The wines are silky and elegant, potent yet balanced and characterized by sweet tannins. Il Palazzone Brunellos are beautifully balanced with all the promise of their bouquet fulfilled in the mouth and finish.
Wine Enthusiast - "Il Palazzone's 2004 Riserva exhibits nicely aged aromas of dried currants, spice, leather, tar, Indian spice, pressed violets and cassis. There’s excellent intensity and complexity here and the wine closes long with lingering layers of spice and smoke."
Wine & Spirits - "From a ten-acre vineyard in western Montalcino, at an altitude of 480 meters, this wine developed its share of earthy power in 2004 (the first great vintage since Dick Parsons, then president of Time Warner, bought the property in 2001). Rooted in mineral tannin, the wine is brisk and sunny, with an elusive power to its fruit. New oak is still a major element in the finish, but there's plenty of earthen depth to the flavors that emerge from underneath. For the cellar and eventually, a thick-cut ribeye."
The Wine Advocate - "e 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is quite possibly the finest wine I have tasted from Il Palazzone. The fruit is rich, round and caressing, all qualities that carry through to the round, creamy finish. Red cherries, spices and subtle oak add layers of complexity on the close. This is essentially a fruit-driven, open style of Brunello. The wine is firing on all cylinders today and should drink beautifully for a number of years. The Riserva is made from vineyards in Montalcino and Castelnuovo dell'Abate. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022.
Wine Spectator - "Blackberry and sliced lemon on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied, with medium chewy tannins and a fresh finish. Turns clean and very pretty. Focused and refined."
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Il Palazzone Winery
Il Palazzone, or "The Big Palace" is a small estate that has been producing wine for over ten years. While the estate is roughly 20 acres, the land authorized for the production of Brunello di Montalcino is a mere 10 acres. Obviously, a property of these dimensions creates a tightly controlled environment which is determined by its owner. A New Yorker and a wine lover, not necessarily in that order, the proud owner takes an enormous interest in the vineyard despite the time constrains imposed by his day job as a business man. No care is spared in the entire vinification process, which end result is approximately 20,000 bottles each year.
Located on the western side of Montalcino, the estate is quite high in terms of altitude - roughly 480 meters above sea level. This altitude ensures excellent ventilation which is salutary for grapes, as it reduces mold production to a bare minimum. The constant action of the wind combined with the characteristics of the soil on the western side of Montalcino reinforce the character of the elegant wines produced by the estate. The vines themselves are over twenty years old and have therefore grown long root systems making them more resilient during periods of draught. These deep roots are able to reach minerals and components that and not present in the top soils and enrich the taste and aromas of the wines.
About Tuscany(TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.