1. Il Marroneto 2010 Madonna delle Grazie ( Brunello di Montalcino ).
2. Il Marroneto 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. Multifaceted fragrances suggest violet, rose,
red berry, baking spice, savory herb and a balsamic note. Elegant with great intensity, the radiant palate delivers juicy wild cherry, crushed berry, cinnamon and a note of star anise alongside a backbone of assertive, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. It’s a gorgeous wine with breeding and class that needs time to bloom fully. Drink 2020–2035. abv: 14.5%
3. Biondi Santi 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. This radiant wine is loaded with finesse, opening with an alluring fragrance of rose, violet and a whiff of pressed powder. The firm, linear palate
offers bright cherry, crushed red berry, white pepper and a hint of tobacco alongside a backbone
of fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. It’s impeccably balanced but youthfully austere and needs
to open up. Drink 2020–2035. abv: 13.5%
4. Conti Costanti 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. Aromas of menthol, leather, pressed violet,
forest floor and woodland berry lead off this intense Brunello. The fi rm, delicious palate off ers dried red cherry, crushed raspberry, ground white pepper and licorice alongside a backbone of assertive but fi negrained tannins and racy acidity. It’s impeccably balanced and elegant but still young, so give it time to develop to its full potential. Drink 2020–2035. abv: 14%
5. Fuligni 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. This opens with aromas of blue flower, red berry,
menthol and baking spice. The delicious palate delivers juicy red cherry, crushed plum, cinnamon,
white pepper and mineral. Impeccably balanced with polished tannins and freshness, it impresses for its combination of intensity and elegance. Drink 2018– 2028. abv: 14%
6. Canalicchio di Sopra 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. Aromas of dark berry, mint, savory herb, blue flower and a balsamic note lead the nose. On the concentrated palate, notes of white pepper, cinnamon, clove, licorice and tobacco add depth to the black cherry core. Youthfully austere but fi negrained tannins and fresh acidity support the juicy flavors. Give this time to open and develop complexity. abv: 14.5%
7. Canalicchio Franco Pacenti 2010 Brunello di Montalcino . Violet, rose, pressed powder, perfumed berry and forest floor are some of the aromas off ered by this stunning wine. The palate is still tightly wound, but delivers juicy black cherry, white pepper and licorice alongside youthfully assertive but fi ne-grained tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2018–2030. abv: 14.5%
8. Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona 2010 Pianrosso (Brunello di Montalcino). Enticing aromas of
blue fl ower, ripe berry, pressed powder and Mediterranean herb fl oat from the glass. The firm palate shows great intensity, delivering layers of black cherry, dark cooking spice and licorice alongside youthfully austere tannins. It’s still young and tightly knit so give it time to unwind and develop complexity. Drink 2020–2030. abv: 14.5%
9. Molino di Sant’Antimo 2010 Varco (Brunello di Montalcino). Earthy aromas suggest leather, game, ripe dark berry and grilled herb. The palate shows great intensity, with black and red cherry, cinnamon, Mediterranean herb and star anise alongside bracing but refi ned tannins. It’s well balanced and bursting with vitality. Drink 2017– 2028. abv: 14.5%
10.Sesti 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. This pure expression of Sangiovese opens with aromas of rose petal, leather, game, Mediterranean herb and wild berry. The vibrant, full-bodied palate delivers layers of crushed Morello cherry, raspberry, cinnamon and grilled herb alongside firm, polished.
11. Il Marroneto 2010 Madonna delle Grazie (Brunello di Montalcino). Beautiful aromas of violet, rose, pressed powder, perfumed berry and refreshing mint mingle in the glass. The focused palate boasts power and finesse, and delivers a great depth of flavors including ripe black cherry, licorice, tobacco and mineral. It’s still young, with youthfully austere tannins and bright acidity, but this has the fruit richness and structure for lengthy aging. Hold for complexity; drink 2020–2040. abv: 14.5%
12. Dutton-Goldfi eld 2012 Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir ( Marin County ). Gorgeous
aromas of clove, cinnamon, ripe black fruit and whiffs of pine and herb make a great start. The flavors are equally compelling and classic, blending cinnamon and black cherry with hints of rosemary and rhubarb. These all glide on a soothing texture that rests lightly on firm tannins and fresh acidity, resulting in a fascinating and complex taste experience. abv: 13.5%
13. Joseph Phelps 2011 Insignia Estate Grown Red Wine ( Napa Valley). Impeccable elegance characterizes this vintage of the producer’s marquee Bordeaux-style blend, an expert finessing of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Juicy in exotic black fruit, it stands tall, with silky, towering shoulders of herb, cardamom and clove that will coalesce beautifully over time. Hold through 2026. abv: 14.5%
14. Carlisle 2012 The Derivative White Wine (Sonoma County). This unusual blend combines old-vine Sémillon from the Monte Rosso Vineyard with Muscadelle and Palomino. Voluptuous on the nose, the wine is restrained on the palate, with inviting layers of licorice, beeswax and stone fruit. Exotic and long lasting, it’s an intriguing wine. abv: 14.2%
15. San Vicente 2010 Rioja. Cedary aromas of fresh-cut wood blend perfectly into core
scents of plum, wild berry and mellow herb. This modern-style Rioja off ers a refi ned, full-bodied palate. Oak-rich fl avors of cherry and berry hint at the exotic, with resin and pepper notes preceding a spicy, woody, rugged fi nish. The wine needs a few more years; drink 2016–2028. abv: 14.5%
— Wine Enthhusiast | May, 2015
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise,
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sip,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee,
As giving it a hope,
that there It could not withered be:
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent’st it back to me;
Since when, it grows and smells,
I swear, Not of itself, but thee!
There is a power within the succulent grape
That made thee, stronger than all human power.
It baffles death in its exulting hour,
And leaves its victim fortune to escape.
Thy cheering drops can magically drape
Atrocious thoughts of doom with bloom and flower,
Turning to laughing calm care’s torment sour,
And flooding dreams with many a gentle shape.
Extatic hope and resurrection lie
In thy consoling beauty, and whene’er
Pale mortals sip thee, bringing soothing peace,
I see a blue and orange-scented sky,
A warm beach blest by God’s untainted air,
Circling the snowy parapets of Nice!
“I have drunken deep of joy, and will taste no other wine tonight.”
“Some say the glass is half full and blush,
Some say it’s half empty and sink,
I feel you are in the midst of,
reaching out for another awesome drink!”
“Underneath, ten pairs of flexible fibreglass rods are swinging back and forth, their amplitude, frequency and spacing specified by the driver. The vibration separates the grapes from the plant, and a conveyor belt brings them to the top of the vehicle. There, they pass over a series of rollers whose spacing lets the berries through while trapping stray stems and leaves. The vines look undisturbed save for their lack of fruit, their naked stems eerily exposed. The machine, made by Pellenc, a French firm, will harvest 20 tonnes of grapes tonight: enough to make 18,000 bottles of wine, and a harvest that would otherwise require 40 workers.”
First, have faith in your own taste. Look, the minute you bite into a burger, you know if you like it or not. Doesn’t matter if Guy Fieri made it or Daniel Boulud. Wine’s the same.
Start with the classic regions— they’ve figured out their identities over hundreds and hundreds of years. So learn about Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa, and the Mosel in Germany. That gives you parameters so you can say, “OK, this is the standard. If I taste the rest of the world, I have these as a yardstick.”
Bordeaux from the Médoc gives you the epitome of Old World Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a leaner, more elegant, more restrained style, versus, say, big, ripe Napa Valley Cabernets. You learn the European take on one of the world’s most popular wine grape varieties—which is a pretty big chunk of the history of wine in the world, too.
The wines of Volnay, in the Côte de Beaune. They show people the elegant side of Pinot, but they also have the underlying structure and power people don’t really realize Pinot Noir can have.
Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, the Cabernet family (starting with Cabernet Sauvignon) and Chardonnay. Then throw in Riesling, because of its pure deliciousness, and one wacky grape: could be Trousseau, Grüner Veltliner, Grenache—there are lots of options.
The fact that it should be a tad green! A little bit of green pepper. People assume vegetal flavors and wine don’t really go together; they think, “Oh, fruit, that’s it.” But fruit alone doesn’t taste like Cabernet to me. The wine should have a little greenness, too, to balance the oak and the fruit. That’s the secret of great Cabernet.
Grüner Veltliner, only because it perplexes me! It can be powerful and rich, austere and stony, you name it. It’s one of those varieties that I don’t always identify when I’m tasting wines blind.
I always say, if you don’t know anything about wine, pick up a glass, swirl it, say, “Yes,” sort of thoughtfully, swirl it again and say, “Hmm—no,” then swirl it again and say, “Well, maybe.” Then put the glass down and walk away.