Expensive bottle of wine, May edition: Bressan Cru Pignol 1998


The Wine Curmudgeon does not often quote back label wine descriptions, but this is one of those times that it is warranted. Bressan, a producer in northeast Italy — where most of the wines that anyone has ever heard of are white — has this to say about its red Pignol: ?The flavour is almost hidden, as though it is fearful of being discovered. ?

I can ?t do better than that.

The Pignol (about $80) is one of the most interesting and unique wines I have ever tasted. How, at this age, it can still be almost too young to drink is amazing. I decanted the wine for an hour, and it wasn ?t enough. It kept changing over the next 90 minutes as we drank it, getting darker and more Italian over time. It was a completely different wine when we finished — less fruity, more acidic and more earthy. Pignol, incidentally, is the grape, one of those dozens of Italian varieties that are little known even in Italy.

Was it worth $80? Not if you're looking for something that you feel comfortable with, because it doesn't in any way resemble a Super Tuscan (or a Bordeaux or a Napa, for that matter). But if you want to try something that doesn't taste like what you ?d expect, something that is an example of old-fashioned regional Italian winemaking and Parker be damned, then take the chance. And it does need food — top-quality cooked sausages and the best hard cheese you can find, plus real European-style bread.

5 thoughts on “Expensive bottle of wine, May edition: Bressan Cru Pignol 1998

  • By Alfonso - Reply

    you went out on a limb with this one, bro. Bravo!

  • By Jeff Siegel - Reply

    The Wine Curmudgeon is famous for going off on limbs. Even though I usually fall down. But it is part of what should be every wine drinker’s philosophy: Try something different.

  • By Joe (joeshico) - Reply

    My faves have always been Italian.. Have not heard of this one but will search it out and give it a try. Most of the enjoyment of wine appreciation is trying something new.

  • By Paolo Bernardi - Reply

    Thank you for the review that the local distributor kindly forwarded to me. These are the real Italian wines in my opinion not the Super Tuscan.
    It gives me a hitch though every time I hear that Bressan wines are expensive… Compared to what sorry? To his counterparts in Collio and Isonzo that work with yields that are 3 4 times higher and they sell it at the same prices than he does or more? Or to the STuscans producers that make ???engineerized??? wines with 2 years of oak ageing? Sure their prices are high as they need to pay down all artificial enzymes yeasts microboulage reverse osmosis equipments mannoproteins / arabic gum and the consultant winemakers. Bressan doesn’t work like that. There are no shortcuts everything is cared by hand. But just think keeping a wine in a cask for 8 years minimum like this one before bottling it and another year before releasing it and do the math of the real estate investment in the cellar. So to me is not expensive at all for what it is.

  • By Angela Moench - Reply

    It is now 2012. Our bottle of the 2008 excellent.

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