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December 21, 2008

03 Caprili, Brunello di Montalcino

It's no wonder that these grapes share the same soil as the Chianina, Tuscany's great synecdoche of cattle--heavy, burly, and powerful, but known for its delicate and fragile disposition. Caprili's brunello is a rippling, throbbing chest with last night's perfume on its neck. "We won't eat these animals. They are for lovemaking," says the great Tuscan butcher in Bill Buford's Heat, which can be taken one of many ways, but maybe best describes this wine. It's the 40-day dry-aged ribeye of wine, powerfully flavorful, wild, yet lovingly tender. That walking, lurching contradiction is my favorite thing about sangiovese's purer cousin brunello, but rarely does it show itself this well this young. The tannins are leathery and earthy, up front with a guiding grip that never dries out the mouth, sweet like game and tallow. The sauvage flavors are spicy, like well-seasoned duck sausage and savory cherry jam. Loud at the right times, quiet when it needs to be, it slowly mists aromatics of violets, pepper, and plum blossoms. This is old school in the very best way.


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