It's "Open that Bottle" night! A day once a year when we open special bottles we've been saving for special occasions that never seem to arrive. So tonight I am opening a bottle to enjoy with some friends that I've had since 1995, a bottle I paid 24,000 Lira for when I was in Rome! The 1988 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino is a wine that I am hoping has aged well over it's time in my cellar. Of course I also get a kick out of the English translation on the back of the label that sounds like Google translator a decade before Google existed, "From a severe selection of the Sangiovese grapes this wine of great structure is produced." Hopefully the wine isn't as severe!
So in the glass, the wine was a bright ruby color, with a bit of cloudiness. The nose was a nice combination of leather, dry spice and floral notes. The taste was actually somewhat of a surprise, particularly how much fruit was left after a quarter century. Up front the taste was quite peppery, but the spice quickly transitioned int some nice fruit, ripe plum, anise and some berries. The finish was just bone dry, but still very pleasing, and interesting to see how a more mature Brunello presents itself. As an aside, after the first glass, we decanted the bottle, and ironically the air seemed to suppress the pepper and spice, but the fruit was still fairly bright as it opened up.
Overall, I would rate this one a solid 9, primarily because 25-year-old wines are not easy to come by, and this one was a super bargain at only 24,000 Lira, which if I recall at the time was about $15. Tonight my friends and I enjoyed this bottle with a lovely Italian dinner, starting with a spinach salad with goat cheese, pickled beets and candied walnuts, and some wonderful eggplant involtini with pasta and fresh tomato sauce. And of course for dessert we had some mini canoli, one of my favorites! Ciao!