In January 2015, the greatest names of Montalcino arrived in New York for the unveiling of the Brunelli of 2010 — a vintage that would go on to earn 98 points from both Robert Parker and Wine Spectator, the highest in history. We arrived early on that cold winter morning, determined to beat the crowds. We shuffled our feet for almost two hours on the steps of Gotham Hall as we waited for the doors to open, trying unsuccessfully to take the bite out of the sleet and freezing rain.
Five hours later, we were dancing a jig on Broadway, having carved out allocations from a dozen superstar estates, including Altesino, La Rasina, Poggio Antico, Caparzo, and Costanti.
Still, not all had gone as planned. Our buoyant moods were tempered by our inability to reel in the greatest prizes of the vintage. By nearly all critical accounts, the 2010 Riservas are the finest Brunelli of the last 30 years! While many producers offered us tastes of the astounding 2010 Riservas, few were willing to quote prices, preferring to wait for the bidding war that was sure to come.
What was so captivating about the 2010 Riservas on display? As we’d learn while tasting the finest Brunello ever made at La Rasina, never in Tuscan history had Montalcino been blessed with a growing season like 2010. Spring was wet and pretty cold, delaying flowering and retarding the vegetative cycle. Summer then turned cool, absent the heat spikes that blistered clusters in the summer of 2009. From June to late August, little rain fell. Then, as if on cue, perfectly timed showers in the last week of August refreshed the vines, erasing any vestige of hydric stress. September was again warm and dry, but with hot days and cool nights, a dramatic diurnal temperature shift that much explains both the intense concentration of the vintage and the ripe, sumptuous tannins.
If the 2010 Costanti Riserva was the most stylish and Burgundian at Gotham Hall, once again the biggest, boldest, and most “pedal-to-the-medal” Riserva was turned out by the Mantengoli family at La Rasina, a picturesque property situated in the cooler northeastern hillsides above the town.
Just 11 hectares are planted to a low cordon-trellising system. Spacing is tight, “challenging” the vines and pushing the envelope on concentration. In the summer and fall of 2010, one of the most inventive winegrowers in Montalcino played his cards perfectly, delaying the call to harvest, making for a black-fruit “Di Vasco” Riserva that earned matching 95-point scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator’s longtime Tuscan wine critic, James Suckling.
The 2010 La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Il “DiVasco” is a stylish MONSTER. Dark purple to the rim, infused with voluptuous aromas of black cherry, licorice, black raspberry, and licorice, braced by plenty of new Slavonian oak cedar. Rich, powerfully structured, dense, and weighty, with incredible textural chewiness. We pulled the cork at 5 p.m. and allowed the wine to air for two hours before tasting. At 10 p.m., one of the most majestic Riservas of this extraordinary vintage was just beginning to show off, arguing cogently for 15-25 years of cellar slumber!
Matching 95-point reviews. $90 on release. Just $70 this morning. 240 bottles are up for grabs — the largest single allocation in America.
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