The pleasure of collecting derives from the intersection between personality and object. A great cellar speaks of the history of relations between object and individual, telling a story of a life lived while transporting historical life moments into the present. In this way, a collector gets to interact with her or his previous self. A great collection, then, does not require all the wines to be loved at any given moment nor does it require a bevy of prized trophy wines.
I am a strange collector. What does that say about me? I rarely buy multiples of a wine for cellaring. When I do it is for special reasons. I prefer to collate intellectual breadth and live a little dangerously. When I cellar a wine it is intended to be consumed at one choice moment, an instant, brief encounter, a learning, and then a memory. Some wines I always intend to share with certain people. Others for a whim of historical preference. Some to reignite an important moment, often a trip. And still others out of sheer curiosity (how would 20 year old Mentrida Grenache taste?).
I have cellared this 2004 Brunello for about 6 years. 2004 is a vintage that I felt the need to check in to as a matter of historical intrigue. The vintage got good press at the time but is now often written about as a good but not truly great vintage. I have some special wines from Brunello in 2004 and felt this wine, acquired in Vancouver rather than elsewhere, would be a good measure. It showed stunningly well.
The wine was elegant with integrated but still potent tannins. A savory wine with bitter cherry fruit and earth. It was extremely expressive, balanced and beautifully mid-weight in a style that I think suits Sangiovese perfectly: aromatic, structured but not rich. 13.5% ABV – an alcohol level rarely seen these days with global warming pushing Brunello regularly into 14.5 to 15.5% ABV territory.
I paired this with thinly sliced grilled flat-iron steak seasoned with slovenian sea salt and a deliciously spicy olive oil from the estate. My conclusion is that 2004 is a Brunello vintage I will be loving and opening from my collection over the next 10 years.
Excellent to Excellent+
$75 at Kits Wine (current vintages are around $100 at private stores or $75 + tax for case orders direct from the importer, International Cellars)