Castiglion Del Bosco, Campo Del Drago Brunello Di Montelcino, 2010
Countless wine enthusiasts will be able to tell stories of different ‘ah-ha’ moments they've experienced with wine. What is an “ah ha” moment? It is that moment when wine went from something you drink to something you experience. My first moment was sitting in the lounge at the Pan Pacific Hotel in 1997. The 1986 Chateau Y’Quem was the wine that made me see what wine could be; the smell, the different layers, how it seemed to evolve in my month, the way it lingered for what seemed liked eternity, and of course the way it made me feel. I felt euphoric. That was my first big ‘ah-ha’ moment.
Thankfully, I have had a few more since then, and Castiglion Del Bosco has provided one of those moments. Five years ago, I was cooking at a friend’s house when he brought out the 1999 Campo Del Drago. I opened it, decanted it, took a sip and announced to my friends that I was going to put dinner on hold for an hour. They looked a bit confused and just shrugged. Then they found out why I stopped dinner. This wine deserved its own moment. It was an incredible combination of dried and aged cherry and dark berry flavours married with these layers of leather, tobacco, and chocolate. More importantly, the wine kept telling its story long after that first sip. It was ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and my friends that day.
Now as wonderful as my story sounds, you may be saying to yourself, “but you are offering the 2010. I won’t get the same experience.” I completely agree, you won’t. The honest truth is, until Brunello is about 15 years old you won’t get the full experience, and some will argue that it can take as much as 20 years or more before Brunello’s true story is told. Having said that, there is a very good reason to try the Campo Del Drago now - there is a great experience to be had in its youth. The moment you raise your glass up you will get this incredible eruption of bright cherry and dark berries all wrapped with a touch of smoke. On the palate, you will again experience the incredible fruit, with some beautiful spice and the beginning stages of an aged Brunello, and hints of tobacco and leather. The finish has soft tannins and a classic Brunello acidity. Trying this wine now adds to your foundation of knowledge of what a great Brunello can be, and if you ask me I will be able to tell you where you can find some to add to your own cellar.
There is one more way we can take this wine to the next level - with our incredible 30 day dry aged beef strip. The combination of the perfectly cooked steak with a light smoke from our charcoal and our chefs’ amazing collection of flavours from the onions will all marry themselves perfectly to this incredible wine. The fruit of the wine will add a new dimension to the dish, the spice and earthy tones add more depth to the onions, while the acidity will keep your palate fresh and lively from the first bite to the last!
I hope you get a chance to try the Campo del Drago, it is well-worth the price of admission.