Brunello conjurs up images of a small Medieval town in Tuscany, with a massive stone castle, a few smalll streets, and views over the rolling hills.
To be called Brunello, the wine has to be made from grapes grown in a closely-defined area, a roughly 15 km-square territory. In addition to this, in typical Italian style, there are many other rules that have to be followed to gain this prized name: the type of soil, the time that the wine spends in oak barrels, the time that it matures in the bottles before it can be released on the market, the shape of the bottles, and so forth.
These rules may seem perhaps slightly too strict, but I can assure you, that the results are astounding.
From the superb red colour, right through to a gloriously persistent finale, Brunello is like oral orchestration. It's a living substance, changing from the moment you open the bottle to when you pour it into the decanter, and yet more in the glass.
The bouquet develops from the early notes of fresh red cherry and leather to sandalwood, spice, saddle leather and earth. In the mouth, pure pleasure, with tannins of amazing character.
In other words, you taste the wine, enriched by the oak, and not the standard woody flavour that is a characteristic of many lesser labels.
The truly amazing thing is the finale, and its persistence. You get to taste it yet again on the palate and nose, a sensation that lasts and lasts.