1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2014
From the novices (mine) point of view this is a fantastic guide to Brunello.
The author, right at the beginning, nails her colours to the mast about what she thinks is "classic" Brunello. And she doesn't pull her punches on what she considers "modern" Brunellos that are aimed at a specific market / group of influential critics. From reading her criticisms of the darker, more potent and early drinking Brunellos, I knew they weren't for my palate so that means, for me at least, that I can trust her judgement on the more traditional Brunellos she praises throughout the book.
The history section is a great introduction to the region, contains everything you need to know without overstaying its welcome. Concise, clear and helpful. The writing is pure and you can feel the passion the author has for the region and its wines. She doesn't side step the issues Brunello has faced in the last decade or so, from the blending scandal to the in-fighting to plant more Brunello vineyards in areas not deemed suitable. It will be interesting to see if the bigger producers manage to push through measures that would surely only harm Brunello as a great wine.
The producer / subzone section of the book is even better. It clearly (with the help of maps, although my North & South Montalcino maps were the wrong way round!) sets out where the producers are based and gives a brief history of winemaking in the subzone. The author explains how the altitude / soil in each cru helps give the grapes their distinctive character and how this is displayed in the bottle. The book is very good in breaking down the producers different bottling's and helpfully moves up the scale, giving opinions and drinking windows on certain vintages of the wine.
Finally, you have a vintage guide going back further than I will ever find bottles for. Useful is not the word, as I knew next to nothing about the region, the wine, the good vintages and the one's to avoid before reading the book. Just a really great read that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone wanting to learn about Brunello.
Now I need to save up and buy some wine!