1997 made for wines that were easy to praise. It was a warm year, one with textbook weather for the creation of wines that would please the palate just about immediately upon release--but that's only half the story. Look at winemaking like the sport of running. A wine from a warm season runs at a sprint. It jets out of the gate, and it is a marvel. It's captivating in its grace and power. But like a sprinter, it gets tired quickly. It just can't run that fast for all that long. A wine from a cooler season, for example 1996, is like a marathon runner. It doesn't look that impressive at the start, but when you get twenty miles in, you see the stars; they're the runners who make the long race look effortless.
The trick is to be a producer who knows when to pick his or her grapes, and in a warm season, this can be tricky. A grape has three important parts: the skin, the flesh and the seeds. The skin turns color, the flesh grows sweet, and the seeds change from green to brown. The issue is that the seeds don't always ripen along with the flesh and the skin--especially in a warm growing season. A great winemaker will find the perfect moment when the flesh and the seed are ripe, a moment that's evanescent and urgent. These are the winemakers who can create an age-worthy wine in a hot year.
Today, I'm delighted to present one wine that does this benchmark year justice: the 1997 Brunello from Conti Costanti. This wine has the structure to age, and it's drinking beautifully now. It's hard to find '97 Brunellos these days--almost twenty years after the vintage, they've all been bought or drunk. You'll be very glad you found this one--it's everything you want from a mature Brunello, and it's affordable for a fine vintage wine. Along with this benchmark Italian red, I'm very pleased to offer a new release of a beloved, easy-going white, Le Mortelle 2015 Vivia from Antinori's estate on the Maremma coast. It'll make you very happy.
Finally, all our Domaine Faiveley Burgundies are on sale! Enjoy!