Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2005
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Fattoria dei Barbi, one of Montalcino’s historic properties, has come on strong of late. This is another fine set of wines made in a slightly updated traditional style. According to proprietor Stefano Colombini the key to the vintage was harvesting early. A 2005 Brunello, potentially a Riserva, is also aging in the cellar.
Fattoria dei Barbi is among a prestigious group of estates that has played an integral part in writing the history of Italian wine. In fact, the estate is one of only five in Montalcino that have continuously operated for over 100 years. The Colombini family, one of region’s most influential families, founded the estate in 1790. The family has owned land in Montalcino since 1352, first building the “Poggio alle Mura” estate (now Castello Banfi), then “Argiano”, and finally they began assembling “Fattoria dei Barbi” in 1790, where they have produced wine ever since. The estate is currently owned and managed by the 20th generation heir, Stefano Cinelli Colombini, who carries on constantly seeking innovation through research and the application of new techniques.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.