Want your wine to last? Drink good wine (Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino)

Above: The 2004 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is one of the most stunning and memorable wines that Tracie P and I have tasted so far this year.

One of the most frequent questions I get when I lead consumer and educational wine tastings (and I’m leading one next week in Houston, btw) is the following: what’s the secret for conserving wine in the bottle once you’ve opened it? (and the corollary how long is the wine good for?)

My number one answer and secret? DRINK GOOD WINE! And the most important element in the wine for its longevity once opened? ACIDITY! (I know that my wine sisters and brothers will agree with me on this one — just think of the 1978 Barbera by Angelo Gaja that we opened a few years ago at Alfonso’s pad).

As a whole, Americans have been trained by the Military-Industrial Complex to drink wines with LOW acidity, high alcohol, and concentrated jammy fruit — wines that have a short shelf life and wines that won’t last long once opened. (Sorry to sound like a broken record!)

But when you buy and spend some time with wines with healthy acidity, you’ll find that the wines will last longer — much longer — once opened. Wake up, America! It’s time to smell the coffee good wine!

Above: With much lighter tannic structure and body, the acidity in the 2008 Rosso di Montalcino kept the wine alive for no fewer than 3 days — no refrigeration, no pumping, no nothing… just the cork that the bottle was born with.

Truth be told: when Tracie P and I opened a bottle of 2004 (not an easy vintage in Tuscany despite what some would have you believe) Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino Riserva the other night, we drank the whole bottle between the two of us at the dinner table. It was a Saturday night, we were staying in, and this bottle — with GORGEOUS, stunning acidity, brilliant fruit, and lusty alcohol held in check by pancratiast tannins — was simply irresistible. (This and the bottle below were given to us in Austin by the lovely Derryberry and Shaw families of Austin, the former bottling as a gift to thank us for Tuscany recommendations, the latter a gift from my virtual friend Simone whom they visited in Lucca.)

But when we opened a bottle of 2008 Rosso di Montalcino by Gianni Brunelli to pair with some ciceri e tria (chickpeas and long noodles) that Tracie P had prepared on weeknight/schoolnight, she had just one glass and I had two. Not only was the wine fantastic that night (and great with the creamy chickpea gravy) but a third glass was great even the next day… and a fourth and final glass vibrant and juicy even the following day.

Not rocket science… just common sense and great wine… :-)

Laura Brunelli recently visited the U.S. and Notable Wine wrote a great post about it here with video. Also, a must read: Avvinare’s remembrance of Brunelli is one of my favorite posts on her excellent blog.

6 thoughts on “Want your wine to last? Drink good wine (Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino)

  1. I hear you Laura, it takes true patience to wait for some of these wines to develop… The key is to buy 4 bottles on one you really like, drink 1 now, 1 in a year, and hold the other 2 for as long as you think they’ll continue to develop and improve… I don’t do that, I’m just saying, that’s what I would do if I didn’t like to drink so much :-). Cheers! Notable Wine!

  2. 2b,
    Thanks for that shout out, I just saw it now. Laura is a love. I was at her New York tasting and it was a stunner. Sorry you and Tracie P. missed out. Congrats on the new album. Great stuff.
    Susannah – Avvinare

  3. Jeremy,
    You said about the 08 Rosso: “wine alive for no fewer than 3 days — no refrigeration, no pumping, no nothing… just the cork that the bottle was born with”

    Why wouldn’t you pour into a smaller bottle, pump, and refrigerate?

  4. my husband and I just returned from Siena and had a bottle of this amazing wine at Lo Loggia, their restaurant. I believe this is the best bottle of wine we’ve ever had. Do you know where we can find it in Texas, as ordering it in another state and having it shipped here is not an option. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Natalie, I know the wine is available in New York. Just look on WineSearcher.com. There are many NYC retailers who are willing to ship to Texas despite the absurd ban on interstate shipping.

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