Hearthstone 2010 “Bruno di Paso”

100% Brunello-clone Sangiovese; 14.5% ABV
Paso Robles AVA, CA
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 26 Dec

hearthstone_2010_brunodipasoIt struck me as unusual and interesting that someone would go to the trouble of growing Brunello-clone Sangiovese, so I was very curious to try this wine.  I like it a lot, finding it an interesting and tasty Paso Robles version of Sangiovese.

I thought the wine was interesting, aromatic, and tasty right away, but after about 90 minutes in a decanter, the ripe CA fruit comes out, and the wine is still delicate and complex.  The wine shows flavors of earthy red cherry with hints of orange and complex darker berries, with slight, bitter stemmines, and wood / leather.  In another 30 minutes, the wine darkens to give earthy darker red and black cherries, black raspberry / almost blackberry or violets, hints of licorice and orange, still some nicely balancing stemmy bitterness.  This is quite a list of flavors, and I should probably qualify it by saying that I did not detect all flavors in every sip.  The fruit is softer, less acid, and more ripe than Brunello di Montalcino, but the wine is still nicely delicate (about the weight of a Pinot Noir) and complex, carrying it’s 14.5% alcohol well.  It’s a fairly subtle wine; it would not impress me that much if I were not paying attention.  It seems fully mature, but not about to go off in the next year or so.

The next day, the second half (stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air) had better integrated the flavors of the first night, but was overall less dark and more acid, which to my palate made it more balanced.  It was still quite delicious.  With this change, and since I’m tasting it right after it arrived, I’ll shorten my estimated time frame for drinking this to the next several months.

At work, we received six Hearthstone wines on Monday: this Bruno di Paso, the 2010 Sangiovese (not sure what the difference is, will have to find out), the 2011 Superiore (a Toscana IGT- or “super Tuscan”-type blend with Cabernet), the 2010 Lodestone (a Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre), the 2011 Syrah, and the 2010 Fireside Claret (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot), all $7 each.  All these wines’ showing up probably implies some kind of financial trouble for Hearthstone.  Although it would probably be better if these producers stayed in charge of the Brunello-clone Sangiovese, whatever happens business-wise,  I really hope this vineyard is not torn out.  If it can produce this wine in its relative youth, it could probably make some excellent wine with more age.


5 thoughts on “Hearthstone 2010 “Bruno di Paso”

  1. BargainWhine Post author

    I finally opened my bottle of 2011 Bruno di Paso tonight. It’s also quite good, with flavors (candied red-purple cherry (not at all sweet), the same earthy woodiness as the other Hearthstone wines, plum / black raspberry / blackberry, slight herbal (celery seed??) ) more intense but less complex than the 2010. Still a very nice wine for the price and definitely a Thumbs Up.

  2. glpease

    I opened a bottle of this yesterday while cooking dinner, and really enjoyed its evolution before and during the meal. At about 2hrs in, the aromas were so alluring, I wished I had another to open just for the comparison. It opens with slightly restrained fruit on the nose, and a soft earthiness punctuated with fresh thyme, chocolate covered candied orange. The fruit begins to develop fairly quickly, showing a little too much ripe Paso fruit at first, but the wine is really enjoyable after just a little air time. Its real charms don’t begin to reveal themselves until after the first hour has passed, at which point the more subtle aspects come to the foreground. Sweet tobacco flowers, ripe fig, leather and lovely dark cherry are there, and softer chocolatey notes, while the candied orange recedes from being a little distracting to a delicate hint that adds to the complexity. It’s doesn’t have the power and weight of its Italian namesake, but to my mind, this is the wine’s real strength. There’s delicacy and finesse here, and it was lovely with the roasted game hens I served with it. I hope there’s some left when I get back to the store, onaccounta I’d love to have a few for now, and a couple to explore over the next 2-3 years.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks for your notes! You often use quite different words, but I don’t disagree. I think they help paint a more complete picture.

      The 2011 Bruno di Paso also showed up at Richmond. I got a bottle and hope to do a compare and contrast review, ditto for the 2010 Sangiovese, and I believe DavidLikesWine has a couple Hearthstone reviews he wants to do.

      1. davidlikeswine

        Just finished night two with the 2011 Paso Superiore! Notes coming soon, but having read these notes it seems like a similarly made wine. Surprisingly elegant for what I’m used to from Paso. Subtle. Well made. I liked it.

      2. seedboy

        I tried the 2011 Bruno. Flabby wine, will return it. The 2010 is better made but I would never even guess it is a Sangiovese.


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