By Chris Gill
Despite the economic roller coaster going on in Europe lately, the Euro remains as overinflated as ever. As a result, bargains from Europe are few and far between. Because the prices of many fine European wines have skyrocketed into the stratosphere in recent years, I’m hesitant to recommend many European wines because the cost-to-enjoyment ratio isn’t always all that great.
For wine drinkers who still want to stock up on some good European values for their cellars, my recommendation is to buy Brunello, specifically the outstanding 2006 vintage. Because DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) regulations stipulate that Brunello di Montalcino wines must age at least four years (spending at least two and a half of those in wood), the 2006 vintage only started appearing on the market over the last few months. Regulations also stipulate the use of 100 percent Sangiovese grapes from Tuscany’s Montalcino region, where higher altitudes, warm, dry climate, and rocky terroir contribute to Brunello di Montalcino’s exceptional body and concentration.
The Fuligni family has produced outstanding Brunello di Montalcino wines since 1900. The oldest vines in their vineyards are used to produce their Riserva Brunello di Montalcino wines, which are only released during select vintages (their 2006 Riserva will be released next year). Fuligni’s normale Brunello di Montalcino is an exceptional value that offers many of the same thrills as their more expensive riserva, including a sweet floral nose and pure, rich fruit flavors enhanced by using only a moderate amount of new French oak during aging, which also provides a touch of spice and licorice overtones on the finish. This is a very elegant Brunello that pairs very well with Northern Italian cuisine as well as rich French dishes and hearty Mediterranean fare.
For more information visit Fuligni