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Average critic rating : 93.0 points
The 2003 Brunello di Montalcino is all about understatement and balance. Crushed flowers, raspberries and spices all emerge from this gorgeous, soft-textured wine. Notes of underbrush, tobacco and tar add further complexity on the mid-palate as the wine opens to reveal outstanding length and complexity. This is truly a remarkable effort, particularly in the way the tannins are so seamlessly integrated into the wine. While the 2003 Brunello doesn’t quite reach the level of his superb 2001, this wine should be on readers’ short lists of wines to seek out in 2003. It is a commendable effort in every way. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018.||Giancarlo Pacenti is among the small number of producers who doesn’t bottle single-vineyard wines, instead he prefers to blend the juice from his holdings across the zone to make one Brunello, which he thinks yields a wine with greater balance than single-vineyard wines are capable of. Tasting his wines, the 2003 Brunello in particular, its awfully hard to disagree with this approach. Pacenti believes his long-standing collaboration with the University of Bordeaux paid huge dividends in 2003. Pacenti reported that, as expected, his oldest vineyards held up best during the scorching-hot vintage. Between the small amount of juice the grapes contained and the burnt fruit that was tossed at the sorting table, yields were down about 35%. Fermentation was done at lower temperatures than normal in order to avoid extracting astringent tannins. Pacenti also reduced the amount of new oak to 50-60% from the more typical 70-80%, using the higher percentages of new oak for his oldest vineyards. The Brunello was aged in a cellar kept to a lower temperature than normal in order to slow down the wine’s development. As outstanding as the Brunello is, readers should not ignore the 2006 Rosso. Wine Advocate.April, 2008
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