With too much alcohol, 15%, and costing near $45, the 2010 Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino, from a super-great vintage, scored 18 Dionysian points. It should have scored lower because of the alcohol, but the wine was still balanced.

I hate to see these wines creeping up in alcohol like California did over the past decade only to improve with a downward turn recently. The wine was opened and decanted at 3 PM for dinner at 6:30 and spicy red fruit aromas were still evolving then. Brunello needs three to five hours of air to open.


Ideal with beef, or any Italian dish with red sauce, Brunello is “the” perfect food wine. Some producers have begun to use French oak and that destroys the origins of the wine. Avoid that at all cost.

At just a decade old, the wine had very little sediment. Earthy notes with a hint of tomato rose slowly. The wine has front, mid, and a good back (finish) mouth feel.  Mid-mouth is very important for food wine. This producer may be hard to find, but it’s worth the hunt. I’ve found that quality Brunello needs at least 20 years to mature.  In Vino Veritas.