In the worst of vintages, Gianfranco Soldera manages to make better wines than other producers make in the best of vintages. Soldera's abilities seem almost alchemical--while in bad vintages other Brunello winemakers struggle to make a drinkable product, Soldera effortlessly turns lead into gold. Brunello is not usually my favorite wine, but drinking Soldera's wines, I am consistently, and constantly, amazed. Illustrations of Soldera's prowess in wretched vintages abound. For example, '84 and '87 were uniformly just terrible vintages in Toscana. But Soldera's Brunellos of those years are not merely good for bad years; rather, they are two of the best Brunellos ever made.
Take 2008 as a case in point. The vintage wasn't terrible, but it was cool, and Montalcino got bombed with hail in mid-August; big, icy rocks ripped through vineyards, taking as much as 45% of the ripening grapes with it. Soldera did the magic in his edenic vineyards, only to lose most of that production four years later when his cantina was vandalized. Just two botti of the '08 production remained, and Soldera turned it into the beautiful wine I'm offering today.
This '08 wine isn't called Brunello. It's called Case Basse Soldera Rosso IGT. Soldera, being Soldera, broke with the Brunello consortium, meaning that he can't legally call his wine "Brunello," even if it is exactly that. It's hard to make excellent wine with the challenges that Soldera has faced in the past few years, but Soldera is no ordinary winemaker. This '08 Rosso proves what I've said over and over again: Gianfranco Soldera is, to my thinking, the best winemaker in all of Italy, if not in all the world.
Along with this beautiful '08 Rosso IGT from Soldera, I'm very pleased to present a trio of recent releases from Giuseppe Quintarelli, including two wines you've not seen yet: Quintarelli estate's 2014 Bianco Secco, 2011 Primofiore and 2007 Valpolicella. These three wines, two red and one white, need to be in your cellar, on your table, and in your glass. Finally, I'm very happy to offer the 2004 Pianpolvere Soprano Barolo. We offered the 2006 last week, and it is going fast. This second vintage should keep you modern Barolo lovers very happy.