In the School of Soldera (but 1/2 the price): 2006 Cerbaiona Brunello

Posted by CrushWine

Tradition in Tuscany
2006 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino

"If forced to drink only one wine from Montalcino, I might very well choose Diego Molinari's sumptuous Brunello..."
-Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

The serious words from Mr. Galloni, above, set the tone for today's offer.

But let's include just one more line: "...a world without the Brunellos of this jewel of an estate would be tragic.”

This is an estate that has been on an amazing streak: The 2004 Brunello floored the critics - Galloni for all intents and purposes freaked out, penning the above lines and giving the wine a very, very good score indeed.

There is good reason to believe that when the reviews (and, yes, the scores) come out, the 2006 Cerbaiona will be among the most celebrated wines of the 2006 Brunello vintage. Today we have a small parcel available at the lowest price in the nation.

For everyone who tends to ignore Brunello, today, don't.
(For Brunello collectors, go long if you can!)

The 2006 Cerbaiona is a wine everyone who really loves wine is talking about. It's almost eerie how many people, almost out of nowhere, have brought up this wine with the sort of awe-struck reverence.

A collector/friend of the store, a fanatic for Giacosa and Conterno, heard rumors from Italy and asked us for a case. At a dinner just last week with a UK merchant, the wine came up and the merchant told us to buy as much as we possibly could - said the wine was simply glorious. (Note: He did not have any of the wine to sell, so this wasn't a sales job.)

In any event, we've heard the same thing from so many people now, we can't ignore it.

And we shouldn't. Cerbaiona is a special estate; a diamond in the rough. Stylistically, the estate is traditional - think Soldera and Biondi-Santi. There is a striking similarity across the estates in terms of the ultra-traditional approach, the aging regimen, the house style of purity and even elegance while being classically backed by sheer power. The pricing, really, is the most dramatic difference, at something in the area of a 50% discount.

Cerbaiona's first vintage was in 1981; since 1982 the wines have been superb. It's owned by Diego Molinari, a former Alitalia pilot with a passion for traditional Brunello; his practices are no secret: Hard work in the vineyard, including organic viticulture, hand-harvesting and low yields, followed by long élevage in grand, old, Slavonian oak tonneaux instead of French barriques, and finally no fining or filtering.

As with all great wines, the terroir here is not to be ignored: a prized little three-hectare, marly clay site in eastern Montalcino, a best-of-both-worlds plot between the northern vineyards where the Brunellos boast fresh aromatics and exceeding elegance and the southern vineyards, known for their riper, denser fruit.

The 2006 flaunts this yin-yang of opulent texture with perfume and energy, metamorphosing through various incarnations of glowing red fruits, deeply spice-laden minerals and cool, black forest floor. The density of tannins combined with the freshness of acidity should make these cellar giants with a solid few decades on them.

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.”

We only have a few cases to offer today. We'll see what happens once the reviews come out, but without trying to be too dramatic, it seems likely that the market will respond to the emerging critical praise with corresponding increases in pricing. What can we say, it happens. Consider today's pricing an opportunity not to miss.

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

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

2006 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino

Special Email Bottle Price: $149.95
Compare at up to $190

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