Gianni Brunelli

10 years ago Brunello was a highly sought-after wine. Wine lovers couldn't get enough of it. But now, many wine-peeps seem to shy away.

Why? Brunello went through scandal and produced wines that are too opulent and overdone for America's evolving tastes.

And yet, the handful of exceptions continue to make some of the most profound, age-worthy and beautiful wines that we know. Gianni Brunelli is one of them. We've opened up 10-12 year-old examples for the hardest core fans of Northern Rhone, Burgundy and Piedmont, and they were shocked to discover how lovely, honest and elegant real Brunello can be.

Partly, it's the style. Laura Brunelli -- who took over for her husband when he passed in 2008 -- really is one of a very small handful of producers that have maintained honesty and tradition throughout Brunello-gate. There is nothing but Slavonian casks at this estate, and certainly no Cabernet! Farming is organic and conducted with dedication and passion.

One other trick to Brunelli's magic is blending, she has two sites that are very different. One produces a very aromatic Sangiovese; the other a grape with more structure and depth. Blend these together and you get Sangiovese heaven.

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