Why Brunello di Montalcino Is The Wine To Collect In 2018

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Brunello di Montalcino might be having a moment says Rocco Lombardo, president of the highly-regarded wine importer Wilson Daniels. The company imports some of the world’s most prestigious wines, (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Biondi-Santi to name a few), and Lombardo, who is just 30 months into the job, will steer the company into its 40th year this 2018. During a pre-holiday phone chat, Lombardo shared his thoughts on wine and what collectors should be looking for this year. Above all, advises Lombardo, “Wine drinkers should continue down that path of exploration, there will always be something out there to surprise you. One of the strengths of the American market today is that we have many options here. Wine consumption is about perspective; be fearless, read up and explore.”

And where to explore first? Lombardo says the B’s are on the top of everyone’s minds: Brunello, Barolo and Burgundy.

Why is Brunello di Montalcino so high on your list of collectibles? Montalcino is coming back into fashion. For a period of time the region lost its way with tradition and moved to a New World style (not all wineries, but many did), and it gave a different appeal. Today there is a movement back towards tradition. Biondi Santi, which we import, is the benchmark producer for the area. The Biondi family members are true traditionalists; these wines can age for a century. We’ve tasted Biondi wines that date back to the late 1800’s and the fruit is still present.

And Barolo? In Italy’s Piemonte today you can see diversity [in terroir] is being recognized. The communes such as Serralunga d’Alba and Novello are gaining individual recognition. At Wilson Daniels we are looking to work with wines that have that diversity–that purity and a sense of terroir.

 What about Bordeaux? I don’t want to ignore them but the inflationary pricing with 2009 and 2010 vintages deterred many collectors. However, there are values in Bordeaux today. I suggest looking at the fabulous fifth and second growths for collecting opportunities.

Are there other lesser-known wines we should consider? When talking about age-worthy wines, the varietal Sagrantino is not known in the US but has incredible characteristics for aging. Sagrantino’s tannin structures are so pronounced they need time to integrate. I’ve tasted these wines all the way back to 1995 and found them to still be in a primary phase. Arnaldo-Caprai 25 Anni Sagrantino di Montefalco is one we import; it’s made from the best clonal selections and oldest vines.

What has been the biggest challenge in this job so far? Unfortunately, there was a defeated sense when founders Win Wilson and Jack Daniels sold the company back in 2003. We had a lack of continuity in executive management and instilling a positive mental approach was critical. (Daniels returned to the company in 2012). The most important asset a company has is its people, and when you bring on the right people, you can perform magically. We are built around family. One of our fundamentals is representing families—working with the greatest wine families in the world and preparing a route to market for them. Both my uncles were importers and at its core, wine is a relationship business.


font: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2018/01/09/why-brunello-di-montalcino-is-the-wine-to-collect-in-2018/#418dcdf97350

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