Earlier this fall, I met Fattoria dei Barbi’s export director in New York where we tasted an extraordinary flight of the estate’s wines stretching back to 1957. Yes, 1957!
The wines, which had come directly from the estate (and btw, older wines are available for purchase there), were astounding: Very fresh on the nose (just a little oxidation but not much), with robust aromas and flavors, these wines were very much alive and they changed in our glasses with spectacular results throughout the course of the evening.
The next day, as I reviewed my notes and counted my lucky stars for Fattoria dei Barbi’s generosity, I thought about how Brunello’s legendary longevity makes it the ideal Christmas gift wine.
When you give someone a bottle of Brunello for the holidays, you can be confident that they can cellar the wine for years and years if they like. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t encourage them to drink the wine right away. But the wine’s cellar potential makes it something that won’t lose its value as the years pass. Quite the opposite actually: When given as a gift, the value of Brunello only increases over time. Pretty cool, right?
Of course, Brunello is also a wonderful holiday wine because it pairs so well with the rich dishes that we eat at Christmas and around the holidays. Roast beef? Check. Roast turkey? Check. Leg of lamb? Check. At my house, where we will celebrate Christmas day with a beef roast, Brunello is a go-to. But it’s also a wine that I will open to pair with the braised brisket and potato latkes my wife makes for me each year to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
The bottom line is this: A bottle of Brunello — whether intended to be drunk right away or whether destined to be cellared — is ALWAYS a welcomed sight.
This year, give the gift that keeps on giving: Brunello di Montalcino.