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Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
-­ Issue 169

2008 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Annata
(13% alcohol): Good full ruby-red with a garnet rim. Brooding nose opens
slowly with aeration to offer delicate hints of lively red cherry, underbrush and
flint. Rich, dense and suave, with outstandingly precise red berry and mineral
flavors complicatedy delicate notes of licorice, chestnut and
underbrush. Finishes extremely long and pure, with a seamless quality to the
classic sangiovese flavors. A knockout: this is Brunello 101 for anyone
wishing to understand--or to make--a great sangiovese wine. Brunello
doesn't get much better than this in 2008. Another very fine addition to the
legacy of Franco Biondi-Santi, who passed away this year. 94(+)

$880 6pk case


2007 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
(13.5% alcohol): Bright red. Expressive aromas of ripe red cherry,
strawberry juice, marzipan and minerals. Then sweet, suave and round,
with fleshy flavors of red cherry and raspberry jam given clarity and cut by
bright, harmonious acids. Finishes ample and sweet but a little clenched,
with a whiff of alcoholic heat and slightly tough tannins. This will need at
least a decade in the cellar to smooth out completely. An outstanding wine,
but right now the mesmerizingly pure 2008 normale is the more balanced
and complex wine. 93 (+)

$645 per bottle