Age is not just a number for a good Brunello

Sangiovese grapes in Montalcino.

It’s that time of year again already, seems to come a little faster with each passing year. Spring cleaning, spring forward, March Madness, the drunken revelry of St. Patrick’s Day, and inevitably my birthday. As I anticipate blowing out an extra candle this weekend, I can’t help but think of that tiny little word that apparently means so much: Age.

I find myself reflecting on the past 12 months. What have I achieved? How do I feel? Do I look any different? Is age really just a number or a state of mind? Well if you’re a bottle of wine, age is definitely not just a number.

I’m sure you’ve heard the notion that that wine always gets better with age. Well, that’s not entirely the case. Some wines can actually taste worse if they are aged too long. Take a Beaujolais Nouveau for example. It’s released every November and meant to be drunk immediately to appreciate its fresh fruit quality. On the other hand, a very tannic Cabernet from Bordeaux is probably something you’ll want to store for a while, or maybe at least until the 2nd Avenue subway line is finally completed. So as my birthday creeps up, I ask myself. Which one am I? A Beaujolais nouveau? Or a Bordeaux that’s going to get better with age?

While 2004 doesn’t seem that long ago to many, a lot has changed in the world since then. As I can recall, there were two highlights from that year. Greece won the Euro Cup and shocked the world, and it was a great wine vintage for Tuscany.

This week I am drinking one of Tuscany’s greatest red wines, Brunello Di Montalcino. It is made from the Sangiovese grape, but not blended like its famous Tuscan cousin, Chianti. You will never drink a Brunello that has not been aged because Brunello cannot actually be released before the fifth year after the harvest, with a minimum of two years in oak as well. Brunello will continue to improve for years after its release. My pick was the 2004 La Lecciaia Brunello Di Montalcino, and it did not disappoint.

On the nose, my first note was something semi sweet, like mocha, or chocolate. I then got dark fruit notes as well, like black cherry and a little bit of spice. On the palette, it’s medium to full bodied, but still tastes fresh and fruity. The wine is dry, but I don’t find it overly tannic, as I assume it has softened in the few years since it’s been released. The more I taste the more I enjoy the different layers of flavor. Fruit, smoke, licorice, and prune are all blending together nicely in this Tuscan treat. It has a nice long finish which brings it all together.

Because this is a relatively young Brunello, I’d be curious to try it in another few years, and see how my notes would change with its age. On the other hand, I’ll be older and wiser too, and perhaps have different tastes. Well, the older part is a given, not so sure about the wiser.

My perfect birthday dinner would be a pairing of Brunello and a pasta dish with lamb ragu at Il Buco in NYC- absolute heaven. My perfect year on the other hand would be channeling Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun and moving to Tuscany on a whim, where I could buy and renovate an old villa, fall in love with a tall dark stranger and drink all the Brunello my little heart desires. Hey, it’s my birthday; I am allowed a wild wish or two.

You can pick this Brunello up for roughly $30. For a great selection of wines, check out Crush Wine & Spirits on East 57th Street, where they will gladly deliver to all five boroughs.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.