Vincenzo’s Valdicava

Recently I had the pleasure of tasting and chatting with Vincenzo Abbruzzese, proprietor of the Valdicava estate in Montalcino. Vincenzo is a tall, fit, handsome man – in his early sixties I would guess. He has a thick shock of salt and pepper gray hair and speaks in a soft baritone. On this night he was dressed casually, but not in the way Americans dress. The fabric of his clothes was too refined, the fit draped too well to be off the rack; probably Brioni or Armani, subtle, no garish icons.

I’m often struck by how much wines can mimic the people who make them, and that thought registered with me on this evening. The Valdicava Brunelli are understated but powerful, sophisticated and urbane with no need to shout – just like Vincenzo. They could be from no other place on the planet, and are comfortable, secure in knowing and expressing exactly what they are.

We tasted the 2009 Rosso di Montalcino, and the Brunelli from 2004, 05, 06 and 07.  On this night, the 06 Brunello was my personal favorite; dark ruby with alluring aromatics, opulent black cherry fruit brightened with perfectly balanced acidity and ripe, refined tannic structure.  It was harmonious and delicious to drink now, but two or three more years of age will be well rewarded.  Eventually, I think the 04 Brunello will outshine its younger brother, but it will require a bit more time.  All of Vincenzo’s Valdicava wines are worth knowing – they are like his children, with only subtle differences.

The Decadent Brunello Suckling Loves: 97 points

2006 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino
2006 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino

Now is the time to learn Italian and this 2006 is one delicious lesson. Pure sangiovese has been at home here for a century. The same family has owned these vineyards for 50 years and their philosophy has always been the same: slow, gentle, natural, and noble. This site in the Montosoli section of Montalcino always produces intense flavors, and the Valdicava vineyards are managed to provide “all they need and nothing in excess.” That produces the kind of balance and local character – Valdicava calls it genius loci – I love in fine Italian wine. And too many of you missed. Did I say it’s lush and elegant? Organic too.

Bob Sprentall