La Velona's winery sits in the southeast corner of the Montalcino growing zone, just outside of the tiny hamlet of Castelnuovo dell'Abate, where it's warmed by the southern exposure and blessed with sunlight from the open view to Mount Amiata across the Orcia River Valley. These vineyards always produce fully ripe grapes, and 2003 was one of the hottest summers on record in Tuscany. The expectation was that the wines would all be cooked. Vineyard management is not a predictable science - when you're growing Sangiovese it is an art form. So when I first tasted the 2003 La Velona Brunello at Vinitaly 2008, I was expecting an overripe and burnt version, like a barbecued Brunello. I was truly stunned by what I tasted: elegance, balance, and a clean and fresh aromatic fruit character. The vital and focused nature of this wine was anything but cooked. But after many reviewers pooh-poohed the vintage years before its actual release, most 2003 Brunello did not have an awaiting public. Throw in a scandal, world financial crisis and it seems that there is still some of this really delicious Brunello out there and the owners need to move it through to get to the next vintage. Synopsis: You get a wonderful Brunello, drinkable now for less than $20 bucks! Stock up! (Greg St.Clair, K&L) According to Wine Spectator: "Dried cherry aromas, with hints of cedar and flowers. Medium- to full-bodied, with firm tannins and a medium finish... Needs some time in bottle." (05/08)
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