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2010 was an exceptional year for Italian wine. The Italian wine world has been counting the days until the big names of Italian wine go on the market. Barolo was received with great enthusiasm when it unveiled its 2010 vintage a few months ago to the general public, and now it is Brunello’s turn. Kerin O'Keefe, Italian editor of the famous US magazine "Wine Enthusiast" and connoisseur of the two pioneers of Italian wine in the world, talked to WineNews about the success of Italian wines on the US market, and her first impressions of vintage 2010 of the great Tuscan red.

“There are great expectations in America for the 2010 vintage of Brunello, especially after a not exceptional nor easy year like 2009. Barolo, instead has already presented its 2010 vintage, and it was a huge success. Chianti Classico”, said Kerin O'Keefe, “is doing well, and Grande Selezione is proving very successful, because at the end of the day, and beyond the name, what counts is what is in the bottle. The boom is continuing for sparkling wines. There are a lot of producers betting on the classic method from local grapes, and many interesting wines are coming out from all over Italy. Southern Italian wines are doing fine, starting from Etna, where Nerello Mascalese takes the lion's share, with interesting results. Mapping and zoning is proceeding well on Etna”, continued
O'Keefe, “and this is very interesting, because in Italy we should speak about "territories", not just "territory", as connoisseurs want to know more about the crus and geographical indications, which are becoming increasingly important for the big Italian names”.

Focus – Brunello 2010, reception, market and criticism in the US
Here are the first comments from the most respected wine critic names in the US that confirm the expectations of Brunello di Montalcino vintage 2010.

Starting with Kerin
O'Keefe, who said that Brunello vintage 2010 is "Great, it redeems a disappointing 2009 in some cases, but you can always see who worked well in the vineyard and who did not. Some wines come out of the cellar already tired, others with a high alcohol content, a sign that the grapes are sometimes left too long on the vine, maybe because that is what the producer wanted, other times by mistake. Overall, producers used to making good Brunello, have produced great Brunello this time. The best ones have great freshness, beautiful fruit, and a wonderful balance. What differentiates the various Brunellos”, continued O'Keefe, “is experience. The second or third generation producers did a great job having such a linear vintage, at the limits of perfection. Others, as I already mentioned, made wines that are too concentrated, precisely due to lack of experience. It will be at its best, ultimately, in 4-5 years, but will then continue to be exceptional for another 15-20 years”.
Walter Speller, voice and signature of the authoritative Jancisrobinson.com was the first to arrive in Montalcino to taste the new born Brunellos. "I had the impression it was an interesting vintage and, after 140 samples I can confirm that this really is a great vintage. The 2009 Reserve, instead, are very well made wines but too concentrated and devoid of originality and elegance, which are Sangiovese characteristics”.
Another great signature adds her enthusiasm to the group, Monica Larner, Italian correspondent for "The Wine Advocate", who speaks of "excellent wines, that make the 2010 vintage iconic, one that marks the end of adolescence and accompanies Montalcino into adulthood. But it is also a year”, added Larner, “when patience will be crucial. These are not immediate wines, but a superb vintage and will be the test of the true aging potential of Sangiovese.

Dwight Casimere of "thewinedoctor", head of the food & wine section in "Times Weekly" said, ”2010 is a "food-friendly" wine that expresses the taste of the region from whence it comes. And I am convinced it is important to promote wine with food for the American market, putting attention on food, as it is done in Italy”.
And speaking of the US market, optimism for the 2010 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, is not just from the critics, but also the market players, who have tasted the American preview of Benvenuto Brunello. There was a huge turnout at the New York and San Francisco events: more than1600 wine masters, journalists, caterers, sommeliers and importers.
"I know of few aged wines that are already so ready to be enjoyed. The result”, said the Master of Wine Christy Canterbury, who guided tastings in New York, “is soft and ripe and the tannins are ready”. Anthony Dias Blue, one of the leading experts in food and wine, star of the event in San Francisco is also of the same opinion. " American consumers’ taste”, he explained, “is changing and there is growing interest in discovering the different varieties of wine. There are no longer just Chardonnay and Cabernet. Americans appreciate and love Italian food, and the Brunello I've tasted is suitable to Italian cuisine but to all types of cuisines as well”.
Nunzio Castaldo, Vice President of Winebow Group that imports and distributes Brunello and other wines from around the world in the United States, said that the 2010 vintage has “great balance, perfect acidity which means high expectations over time. It is a "must-have" that connects you to the area and the tradition of Montalcino”. Joe Campanale, executive director for the beverage sector of the prestigious group of Epicurean restaurants, praises the year 2010 for the level of acidity but also for the maturity of the fruit and soft tannins. "For this reason”, he added, “I think Brunello 2010 will have a wide window of application; it is young but with an acidity that will make it attractive over time”. Campanale also said, "New Yorkers love all things Italian and Brunello is the highest quality Italian. American consumers, connoisseurs with economic means, are becoming more passionate and beginning to deepen their knowledge of the area of origin of the wine they drink. Brunello”, concluded Campanale, “leads you to the history, traditions, the territory and this value exceeds that of other wines in the world”.

On the other side of the "fence", the feedback from the Vice President of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Francesco Ripaccioli, is also excellent. “It has been an important opportunity to engage and retain wine opinion makers who influence the choices of fans through all channels, from the press to restaurateurs, importers and sommeliers, on a strategic market like the US, which accounts for nearly 30% of the total exports of Brunello".

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