This wine taught me three lessons.
Lesson 1: There is Top Tier Brunello Not Currently in B.C.
While some might not be surprised that B.C. is missing representation for top tier wine, I think it is very surprising that an estate as famous as Il Marroneto in a region as renowned as Brunello has no representation in a significant North American market.
Who is Il Marroneto? Though it began in 1974 with the purchase of a small estate by a Roman Lawyer, it was not until 1994 that the venture became a serious full-time business. They are a traditionalist estate in that they are not concerned with early drinkability but instead prefer building the structure for long term ageing. Being located in the prime region North of Brunello, which has high elevations well-suited to making wines for the cellar. The estate explicitly rejects farming and winemaking focused on fruit-forward, exuberant youthful Brunello, and owner Alessandro Mori is personally concerned that Brunellos have been losing the notable acidity they need for long-term cellaring.
In contrast to such “lifeless” wines, Mori’s Brunellos are aromatic and elegant and they keep their vivacity for years. This 2000, for example, was youthful and filled with fruit.
Lesson 2: Ignoring Lesser Vintages is a Mistake
Any serious wine geek knows that producer is more important than vintage. Nonetheless, it remains easy to get caught up in vintage hype – surely great producers + great vintages = maximal greatness?
Given the fundamental importance of context and the relativity of pleasure to that context, this formula is inaccurate. 2000 is considered a warm, soft vintage not meant for ageing. So why would a 15 year old wine be so bloody ethereal and delicious and evocative? A wine that forces such exclamations out of me is a special thing. Refusing such experiences is akin to restricting oneself to nobel prize winning novels or watching only films that win the Palmes d’Or at Cannes. Life does gather excitement up so narrowly.
The details of life can be found in the simplest, least heralded moments as much as the grand ones. Lesser vintages exemplify this principle. Il Marroneto’s 2000, a case in point.
Lesson 3: Savio Volpe Deserves its Destination Status
Vancouver’s food, coffee and wine scene has exploded in the last three years. Savio Volpe is the realization of a decade of hard work to bring Vancouver out of the dark ages and into the era where neighbourhood restaurants stand toe-to-toe with the downtown trendsetters to offer the best cuisine in an environment that fosters community.
It also happens to make the perfect traditional, rustic dishes to pair with a traditionalist, acid-focused, elegant wine like Il Marroneto’s Brunello. We’re talking tripe in tomato sauce, hand-cut rabbit/pork stuffed agnolotti, and wood-fired top-sirloin – all with the requisite funk, bitterness, brightness and simplicity of great Italian cuisine.
Excellent to Excellent+ and Highly Recommended Value
$20 at Garagiste