Our former colleague, Angelo Falcone, rang up on short notice and informed that Mauro Soldera would be dining nearby last Thursday.  Oh, and there would be plenty of Soldera Riserva Brunello di Montalcino.  Locals know Chef Richie runs a talented kitchen at Il Capriccio - and serious wines requires an equally worthy meal.

After the preliminary chit-chat, the evening's elbow work began.  Our table was served the sumptuous '99, a riveting '97 and finally a transcendent '90.  Stunned rapturous silence ensued.  Cohort Steve remarked this was Brunello as it should be - Mauro, the son of Gianfranco - was quick to add, "And increasingly hard to find."

Those of us who've been to this impossibly picturesque hill-top village know the accuracy of Mauro's remark.  The purest, the most riveting, indeed shiniest exemplars of Brunello should always be appraised for their elegance and refinement.  Brawn, while in some instances admirable, is neither desirable or traditional....  And here, our taste buds endorse historical accuracy.