I have been tasting through a range of 2003 Brunello di Montalcino riservas today. In fact, I have to go back and taste 10 more. But I keep asking myself, “What is the point?”
I really can’t understand why Brunello producers made reserve reds in 2003, a very good vintage considering the boiling weather during the grapegrowing season, but nothing exceptional. Some very good to outstanding quality Brunellos were made in 2003, but the quality of the wines for the most part were not high enough to make reserve reds, which not only are supposed to be exceptional quality but usually sell for a premium compared to the “classic” or “normal” bottlings.
Not all producers made a 2003 Brunello di Montalcino riserva. In fact, it appears that many didn’t. I have about half the normal offerings of Brunello riservas in this year's tastings. Obviously some Brunello makers didn't think the 2003 vintage was up to scratch for riserva reds.
A riserva Brunello is sold six years after the harvest instead of five, and the wine also must age a minimum of two years in wood. Most riservas sell for a premium compared to normal bottlings of Brunello. The two dozen or so riservas that I tasted today ranged in price from about $65 to $185 a bottle. I really can’t see spending that sort of money on a 2003 Brunello di Montalcino riserva, even though all the wines I tasted today were very good quality. Besides, the 2004 Brunellos are on the market at the same time, and they are better quality and less expensive for the most part.
Now back to tasting …