2010 Brunello Report from James Suckling

2010 Brunello Tasting Report from James Suckling

Brunello di Montalcino 2010s have been available for about three weeks now and the market is apparently on fire. Wine lovers are rejoicing in the incredible high quality of the vintage, and rightly so. The 2010 vintage is a new benchmark for Tuscany’s icon wine, producing reds with wonderful intensity, structure, and energy. I find the depth of fruit, flavor and savory, almost mineral undertone of the wines spellbinding. 

The 2010 Brunellos are reds that give fabulous enjoyment now, but will reward you for years in the future. They are wonderful examples of the adage that great wine is always great to drink, whether young or old. That’s why I rated five wines 100 points and dozens of others 90 points or more.

“The wines are amazing quality,” says Roberto Guerrini, the owner and winemaker of Fuligini, one of the finest and most consistently outstanding Brunello producers. “It is the vintage of my lifetime.”

Adds Vincenzo Abbruzzese, the owner of Valdicava, one of the great Brunello producers: “The 2010 vintage was great for a number of reasons for Montalcino. First, it was a very even grape growing season. Everything was in balance the whole time. Second, wine producers were ready to pick at the right time and make wines in the right way. It is a historical vintage for Brunello di Montalcino.” 

The 2010 is certainly a historical vintage. It’s hard to believe that I tasted close to 200 different Brunellos from the vintage and it was almost impossible to find one that was not outstanding quality. It is a tribute to the greatness of the vintage as well as the wonderful evolution in quality winemaking for the region. 

It’s almost hard to believe that I first visited the area in 1983 and only a couple dozen wine producers were bottling Brunello. Now, the number of labels has increased tenfold. And the overall quality of the wines is amazing. 

Brunello is evolving into a complex and dynamic Italian wine region with the diversity and uniqueness of Barolo and Barbaresco. It’s not just about big names and consulting enologists anymore. It’s more about microclimates, soils, single vineyards, and small producers. The fact that I rated such small producers as San Polino and La Ragnaie 100 points highlights the emergence of excellence in tiny terroir-driven winemakers. 

With the regular bottlings of 2010 Brunellos being so exciting, I can’t wait to taste the riservas for release next year. I have had the pleasure of tasting a number of them already and they are sensational. Stay tuned.