Authenticity, Brunello & the GREAT 2006 Vintage: Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino

Posted by Ian McFadden

Authenticity in Brunello
2006 Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino
First Release of the Exemplary 2006 Vintage

This is our favorite Brunello in one of the greatest vintages of recent memory.

Brunello is the most powerful expression of Sangiovese; these wines deserve their considerable fame. Yet in its purest form, Brunello has a shocking clarity to it, an extremely evocative aromatic constitution that runs the gamut from smoke to fresh black cherry, to bramble, fields of wild grass and perfumed flowers.

The 2006 Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino represents exactly this sort of "Brunello in its purest form."

As Antonio Galloni states in his enthusiastic review of the 06 Cerbaie, "This is a classy, elegant wine." This is also one of our own absolute favorite expressions of the 2006 vintage in Brunello, and it's a wine that will improve in the cellar for up to 10 years and beyond, so we've provided special "collector" six-pack pricing that today brings the 06 Cerbaie down to $44.95 a bottle. This is extremely sharp pricing: I'm not sure you can find a better, more drinkable and ageworthy 06 Brunello available under $50.

To be fair, overall, we're an eccentric and demanding group of Burg-hounds and Riesling fanatics (not exactly the most friendly audience for a young Brunello). Yet the 06 Cerbaie really impressed us when we cracked it recently at Crush, showing all the wound-up dark fruit one would expect out of this grape from this area, and doing so right along with soaring aromatics, a finely knit texture of smoke, spicy herbs and underbrush that provide a beautiful contrast to the juicy fruit.

It's also a spot-on representation of the vintage, which has garnered HUGE praise and which many have pointed to as a sort of salvation for the region and its more traditional wines. Critic James Suckling has written, "I think 2006 is THE greatest modern vintage for Sangiovese, and many of the 2006s are setting a new quality standard for Brunello producers, as well as their region at large."

If Brunello went through a "bulking up" phase in the last decade - getting ever deeper, darker and weightier - there's been some evidence in the last few years of a paradigm shift in the region, a turning back toward the old-school Brunellos regaled for their balance and finesse, their solid cores of acidity strong enough to give the dense, lavish fruit some energy. The 06 vintage epitomizes this shift. True to form, Galloni notes of the 06 Cerbaie, "This is an interesting Brunello that presents an essentially classic aromatic and flavor profile, but with a little more textural richness and depth."

This finesse and balance are also in part due to Cerbaie's roots in the northern part of Montalcino. The Cerbaie is largely sourced from the famed Montosoli cru, a site the estate shares with neighbor Livio Sasetti, one of Brunello's best with his traditional Pertimali Brunello. Cerbaie's parcels are about 300 meters above sea level with a more moderate Tuscan environment that encourages Brunellos with more aromatics and transparent varietal flavors. In fact, they are Brunellos with more of a "Burgundian" nature.

In the end, we do not put our name on too many Brunellos - yet we do so confidently with the 06 Cerbaie: This is Brunello with authenticity at an unbelievable price. We strongly encourage you to stock up here while it lasts.

To order, please click below, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2006 Casanuova delle Cerbaie
Brunello di Montalcino