What We Say 2003 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT:
This is an exceptionally rare and small quantity wine that is from a micro producer in the Montalcino region. The Wine Spies has the first and exclusive allocation of this wine in the United States. If you are a fan of big Tuscan classics, get yourself some of this delicious Brunello di Montalcino.
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Mission Codename: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Operative: Agent Blush
Objective: Secure an exclusive Brunello di Montalcino
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Le Benducce de Tornesi
Wine Subject: 2003 Tornesi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Winemaker: Maurizio Tornesi
Brunello di Montalcino occupies a special place in the hearts of all Wine Spies. Coming from a very distinct and designated (DOCG – officially designated in 1967 as one of Italy’s first DOC classified wines) region in Tuscany about 70 miles south of Florence, Brunellos typically are the best wines produced from the Sangiovese grape. By regulation, Brunellos must be produced by using a 100% Brunello clone of the Sangiovese grape, hence the mystic and lore of this exceptional wine. Typically, Brunellos are among the most expensive Italian wines, which is why today’s wine is such an exceptional offering.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep dark burgundy with a dark, almost black clear core, this thick and viscous wine has brick with pinkish hued edges and slow thin legs when swirled.
Smell – Medium in intensity, with complex spice and smokey notes of oak, licorice, cloves, floral violet, and pepper layered over ripe black cherry and raspberry fruit. Hints of truffles and mocha also emerge and linger as this wine opens up.
Feel – If sipped immediately upon opening, the attack of this wine is powerful and bright, given time, this dry full-bodied wine has a firm, but fine tannic structure and easy acidity.
Taste – Bold flavors with tart fruit initially, but be patient, and give this time to breathe and you’ll be rewarded with rich layers of black cherry, red fruit and plum; spice, including licorice and floral violets; a distinct minerality; toasty and smokey oak; a touch of tar and Italian zest.
Finish – Long and lingering finish with well balanced flavors of spice, rich plummy fruit and lingering oak components.
Conclusion – This Brunello di Montalcino, or nice dark one, is classic in every sense of the style. Bold and rich with deep complex aromas and flavors that are mellowed and integrated after extended maturation in oak casks. This wine is drinking beautifully now and will continue to develop for the next decade in your cellar. If you Love Brunello di Montalcino, then this Tornesi is going to make a great addition to your cellar.
My spy communicator again. Does it ever stop ringing?
The voice on the other end, obviously electronically disguised, said, “Dead drop. La Loggia. 3rd Arch. Mark plus 18 hours…. Mark.”
The line went dead.
Who was that, how would I possibly make it to Italy in 18 hours, and how do I know it wasn’t a trap?
Requesting detailed analysis, I sent the automatic recording of the call to Central Command, where Agent Red was the acting Ops Chief. A few minutes later, Red reported back, suggesting that the source could not be verified – but that the 3rd arch of La Loggia might have some significance.
Approving the mission, Red arranged transport and I was underway. 14 hours later, well rested and ready for action, I hopped into my rental car and sped through the Italian countryside.
On arrival at La Loggia, a 14th and 15th century construction which consists of 6 beautiful archways, I noted that the area was filled with tourist throngs. On a beautiful day like today, I am not surprised.
Making my way to the 3rd arch, a young man catches my eye. He smiles at me as he passes me and looks down into his hand, which is clutching a small package. I follow him with my eyes and watch as he sets the package down next to a waste can before walking on.
Making my way to the can I casually scoop up the box and carry it to a nearby bench. I set my spy communicator on top of it and key it to analyze the contents. Almost instantly, the screen displays: “Findings inconclusive, handle with caution.”
Alarm bells ring out in my head. Looking around at all of the people, I decide that it would be best to deal with this right here, rather than risk upsetting whatever might be inside.
I remove a hairpin from my hair and use it to open the box (only spy hairpins have a finely sharpened edge). The box now open, I hear a distinct ticking sound. My heart races. I delicately remove layers of paper packing material to reveal two boxes, one large and one small, the ticking sound coming from the latter.
I take out the bigger box. There is liquid inside. Wine Spies don’t do bombs, for goodness sake, we sleuth out wines. The most danger I have ever experienced was when a corkscrew malfunctioned and I cut my thumb.
Gently, I open the larger box. Whew! It is just a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino inside. Relieved only for the briefest moment, I suddenly remember the smaller ticking box!
As I begin to remove the box, a soft voice above me says, “Maybe these will help”.
Looking up, I see a grinning Agent White. He has two wine glasses in his hand and a huge smile on his face.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The Montalcino region can be viewed in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Le Benducce de Tornesi
Awards & Accolades:
Vintage Rated Four Stars – Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino
About This Wine:
Brunello di Montalcino is produced with Sangiovese Grosso grapes, with maximum yields of 7,000 kgs per hectare for optimum quality. This wine should preferably be tasted at temperatures from 64-68F after have been uncorked and decanted for two hours.
Tasting Notes: On the nose I was greeted with an enchanting potpourri of dried violet and rose petal. With distinct undertones of sage-like herbs and bright red fruit. On the palate the wine is totally seamless. From the attack thru the finish it is the epitome of harmony and balance. Utterly defying the challenges of the vintage, this wine is amazingly well structured. With a study acid backbone and well integrated tannins, this wine is exceptionally generous and approachable. One of the finest examples from the 2003 vintage. – Agent Free Run, January 2008
History of Le Benducce – Tornesi
Since 1750, when Montalcino still was an insignificant spot on the map, this winery had been owned by the Tornesi Family. Maurizio Tornesi, the actual owner, received this piece of soil, which is situated only a few meters from Montalcino away, from his grandfather Giuseppe.
The decision to use this domain for viniculture, was given by the favourable location to of the hillside, i.e. south/southwest at an altitude of 400 m o.s.l. Maurizio Tornesi successfully makes use of what nature has given to him, also thanks to the “historical” help of father Gino and the knowledge of the oenologist Paolo Vagaggini.
The winery embraces actually a surface of 7 hectars subdivided as follows: 4.5 ha of Sangiovese Grosso vines in production used for Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino with a density of 4.500 stocks/hectar, 600 Olive trees and a little woodland.
The winery is working according to the principle of maximum reduction of pesticides and all production stages are done manually. The main shoot of the vines is cut down to 6 eyes, in order get a naturally controlled production of 2 kg /vine ca.
About Brunello di Montalcino
The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino was created in 1967 immediately after the issuance of the D.O.C. as a voluntary association of producers who were seeking to foster the steadily increasing prestige of their wine. The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino has shown itself in the intervening years to be a scrupulous and responsible instrument of self-discipline. It has also served as a catalyst for new and old, large and small estates so that sensible customs, consolidated, became a common strategy for success in terms of quality.
Look and Taste of Brunello Di Montalcino
Visually Brunello Di Montalcino is a limpid and brilliant wine with a lively garnet colour and with an intense, persistent, full and ethereal bouquet. In its bouquet can be detected the scents of brushlands, aromatics woods, small fruit, a light trace of vanilla and fruity jams , all combined.
To the taste , the wine has an elegant and harmonic body with strength and breeding . It is dry, with a pronounced aromatic persistence. Because of its characteristics, Brunello di Montalcino can withstand lengthy ageing improving with time. It is difficult to say for how many years the wine will improve in bottle. That depends, in fact, upon the vintage. It ranges from a minimum of 10 years to 30, but it can be kept even longer. Naturally, it should be conserved in an appropriate way, in a cool cellar but, above all, in one where the temperature is constant, where it is dark and where there are no reverberations and bouquets. The bottles should also be laid down horizontally.
Owner: Maurizio Tornesi
1st bottling: 1993
Extension: 7 ha
Vines: 4,5 ha
N° vines/ha: ca. 4.500
Production/ha in hl: 60-70 hl
Different crus: Loghino, Piano, Lecciarello
Grapes: 100 % Sangiovese Grosso
Soil: mainly Galestro
Fermentation: 20 days at controlled temperature; only the very first selection is used for our Brunello di Montalcino.
Aging: In traditional oak casks of 20hl for a period of 36 month and another 12-18 months of refining in the bottle.
Bottled: July 20, 2007
Dry extract: 32.9 gr/l
Remaining sugar: 1.9 gr/l
Production: 750 cases (estimate)