An excellent, inexpensive rendition of Brunello that a little detective work reveals is made by a top notch producer. The Costco Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
The Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino is available exclusively at Costco for $26.99 (Saturday Splurge). It is imported by Misa Imports. 14,638 bottles produced.
Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is made with 100% Sangiovese grapes from vineyards located in the Southeastern part of Montalcino. The 2015 vintage was harvested in late September at the perfect level of maturation. The wine aged in oak barrels for three years and was bottled four months before the release. The result is an outstanding wine with aromas of red berries, wild herbs and sour cherry. The taste is well-balanced and fresh, with soft tannins and hints of candied fruits. The finish is very long, warm and slightly spicy.
We've long recommended this budget Brunello as a Saturday Splurge selection although when we first started reviewing it we noted that there was no indication of the producer on the bottle. (Not unusual with the Kirkland Signature wines although they do seem to be becoming a bit more transparent).
When we reviewed the 2014 vintage last year; however, it dawned on us that since this is an Italian wine, there's a simple way to find out just who makes it - the government seal on the top of the bottle.
Once again plugging the code from the seal into the traceability tool (near the bottom of the page) at the Consorzio del vino Brunello di Montalcino website gives the following result:
Just like last year the Kirkland Signature Brunello is made by the highly respected Fattoria dei Barbi, whose own base level Brunello sells for closer to $50. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that this Kirkland wine is the same as any of Fattoria dei Barbi's other wines, but it is a very good sign that it is made by such a high quality winery.
The 2015 Kirkland Signature Brunello di Montalcino DOCG opens with a very pleasing, savory aroma of black cherry, licorice and spice plus a little graphite and cedar. The wine tastes smooth and balanced with more spice and lovely candied cherry notes. It might be just a bit lighter bodied than typical but it works quite well and tastes very true to form. This one is really delicious after it has some time to open up with similar flavors to the nose along with touches of balsamic and anise. It ends with a very long, dry, spicy and dusty finish.
This isn't necessarily a bottle that I would plan on cellaring for a large number of years as I might with other more expensive Brunello -- ironically, a few years ago we tucked away some Brunello from Fattoria dei Barbi as birth year wines for our kids to open in 20-30 years. Nevertheless, this Costco version is a very good representation of Brunello that is drinking great right now (and probably for at least the next 5-10 years) so feel free to go ahead and enjoy!