The Kirkland Brunello is back with the 2011 vintage, right on the heels of the excellent 2010 vintage that was released earlier this year. As expected, readers have been writing in about this new arrival, and I’m thrilled to have finally found it near me. But I’m even more excited because I stocked up on the ’10 before it disappeared, in part because I loved the wine and wanted to keep a few on hand, but also so that I could compare future vintages against it. So here’s a double review, pitting the new ’11 against the awesome ’10. And I’ll say up front, there’s a clear winner.
I’ll start with some comments on the new 2011 that is in stores now. The price on these Brunellos is $24.99 which any Italian wine fan will tell you is a steal for a wine from this region. Brunello is made with Sangiovese, arguably some of the best on the planet, so these wines are always a treat when they appear in the warehouse.
The 2011 pours a medium shade of purple in the glass, and is medium body in the mouth; aromas of dried fruit, brandy, earth and spice. In the mouth, muted fruit, red cherry, almost a NyQuil flavor that dies pretty quickly into a dry semi-lasting finish. I have decanted this bottle for an hour now, and am getting a little more fruit, but still leaving me desiring a bit more. I feel like I’m drinking a really inexpensive Chianti. This is not the wine I hoped that it would be.
And next to the 2010 vintage, it’s not even close. The 2010 is even more magnificent than it was nine months ago. What a beauty. They pour about the same with the ’10 showing a little more age around the edges. There’s 10X more going on in the nose with the ’10 vintage. You don’t even have to get your nose into the glass to pick it up. The fruit is much more pervasive, a higher arch of power in the delivery, more dust and earth than the ’11; fruit is vibrant and robust, tasting like it is younger rather than older than the ’11.
Quite frankly, these don’t even taste like the same wine side by side. I understand the ’10 has an extra year of age on it, but the gap between the two is so wide, it’s clear the ’10 is exactly the awesome vintage that it was praised to be. I’m glad I scored that one so high, and happy to have a couple more in the cellar.
My advice here, is to look through the bin in hopes you find a 2010, but skip the 2011 and go for one of the Chiantis priced less that still kick butt, like the Monsanto that I’ve seen lingering around.
CostcoWineBlog.com Rating: 86 Points
Costco item number: 1001151
Purchased at Costco in: Atlanta, GA
Alc. 14.5% (for the 2011; the 2010 was 14.9%)
PS: We wrote a beginner’s guide to Italian wine that you can check out here if you want to learn more about the great wines and fantastic values that can be found in the “Land of Wine.”