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Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Time: 6 PM


Price: Members: $63
          Guests:   $83

          (includes appetizers)


Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto,

         41 Willcocks Street
         Toronto, Ontario
         M5S 1C7  - 


Mailed Reservations
          - Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
Online Payments
         - 5pm Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011


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2001 Brunello di Montalcino

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Guest Speaker: Julian Hitner


Notes on the Wines

How the Wines Were Ranked



Introduced towards the end of the nineteenth century in Italy, Brunello di Montalcino can be considered a modern Italian wine. In 1870 winemaker Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, a young viticulturist, planted his Tuscan vineyards with a clone of the Sangiovese variety producing the modern Brunello di Montalcino. At the time Tuscans preferred young reds, which were make more immediately drinkable through the use of governo however. Breaking with the trend, Biondi-Santi subjected his wine to four years in oak casts followed by a period in the bottle where it developed its outstanding qualities over time. As time passes, the wine acquires greater fragrance, a more velvety flavor, increased harmony and an odor that is delicate and at the same time quite intense. The Brunello winemakers of Italy continue to produce their wines in the same way as Biondi-Santi, producing some of the more intense and complex wines in the world.


By the 1950's Brunello had developed a reputation as one of Italy's rarest wines, encouraging other winemakers to begin producing the vintage. In 1980 Brunello was awarded the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines. By 2000, there were nearly 200 producers of Brunello di Montalcino producing nearly 330,000 cases per year.


Among Italy's killer "B" wines (Barolo and Barbaresco being the other two), the Brunello di Montalcino region produces just 6.5 million bottles of wine a year small compared to the 40 million bottles produced by the neighboring Chianti Classico region. The wines are typically dark, tannic and extremely complex in flavor and need several years to mature before they reach their peak of enjoyment. Bigger and bolder than their Chianti neighbours, Brunello has a more fleshy texture with common aromas and flavours of Chianti Classico. The wine is often compared with Pinot Noir wines of Burgundy with smooth tannins and ripe character. Given its high acidity, Brunello pairs well with food especially grilled meat and game.


Brunello di Montalcino is produced in the vineyards surrounding Montalcino in the Tuscan wine region. Montalcino's climate is warmer and dryer than the rest of Tuscany, allowing grapes to ripen one week earlier than Chianti Classico. Vineyards are planted in varied soils including limestone, clay, schist, volcanic soil and crumbly marl with altitudes ranging from 149m to 500m. The particular cloned variety of Sangiovese used in the production of the wine have adapted to the specific terroir of the area. The altitude and climate allows the grapes to ripen more fully and consistently than anywhere else in Tuscany. The diverse land contributes to the wide range of complexity and quality of Brunello.


The first great vintage of Brunellos was 1888 and since then many outstanding vintages have been produced, including 2001 which Toronto Vintners are fortunate to taste this month. According to Antonio Galloni of, the best 2001 Brunellos are characterized by rich aromatics and generous, ripe fruit, with excellent structure and fine, elegant tannins. Montalcino began 2001 with a wet winter and spring, allowing the vines to build water reserves. An April frost affected most of the area, reducing production for many estates. A hot summer followed allowing the grapes to mature slowly. In the end the vintage was a success producing delicious traditional Brunello that is rich and full with gripping tannins.


Appetizers will be served with the wines.


The Wines

2001 Poggio Antico - $59
"The 2001 Brunello di Montalcino, which sees only cask, presents a very dark color along with more classic profile in its expressive nose and nuances of tobacco, sweet cherries, tar and minerals. 92 pts" eRobert Parker


2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino - $59
"This deeply-colored 2001 Brunello di Montalcino from Vitanza displays an array of super-ripe jammy berry, licorice, smoke and toasted oak nuances. Ample and caressing on the palate, it offers outstanding length and fine overall balance, with an attractive note of sweetness on the finish. 90 pts." eRobert Parker


2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli - $77
"Altesino's 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli presents notes of chocolate, toasted oak, earthiness and super-ripe fruit on a full-bodied, ample frame with modest complexity. 87 pts." eRobert Parker


2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino - $75
One of Montalcino's most storied producers, Andrea Costanti makes wine with terroir, power and concentration. The 2001 is powerful, yet it does not dominate on the palate; it has a light touch. It is concentrated, but not heavy, full of fruit but balanced clearly a wine capable of aging several decades. Several levels of fruit, earth and spice, a wine drinkable now yet will reward patient cellaring. "It offers notes of herbs, cherries, minerals and earthiness on a medium-bodied, structured frame, with building, somewhat coarse tannins. 89 pts." eRobert Parker. "Aromas of berry and lightly toasted oak follow through to a full-bodied palate with big juicy tannins and a long finish. Big wine. Needs time to mellow. Best after 2010."


2001 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino - $48
"Mastrojanni's 2001 Brunello di Montalcino opens with suggestions of flowers, spices, herbs and a note of alcoholic sweetness on the nose. Medium in color as well as body, it is a pretty, refined Brunello, with a soft, supple personality, showing outstanding persistence in an understated style, with fine tannins and a juicy note of sweetness on the finish. It is a lovely Brunello to enjoy now and over the next 10-12 years. 91 pts." eRobert Parker


2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino - $69
"The estate's 2001 Brunello di Montalcino is a deeply-colored, sleek and stylish effort showing expressive notes of flowers, spices, toasted oak, minerals and underbrush along with a lovely core of perfumed sweet cherry fruit that blossoms onto the palate with irresistible sensuality. Intensely flavored yet delicate, this Brunello offers outstanding length, precision and balance. 92 pts." eRobert Parker.. "Delicate mint and herb shadings back red berry fruit and vanilla-nutmeg spice. There's a creamy almost blueberry muffin dough quality that lends character but is not heavy in the least. Dry firm tannins and a tight, clean close." 90 pts - Wine Enthusiast. 92 pts - Wine Spectator.


2001 Poggio Salvi - $60
"A wine of great finesse and structure with an intense, mature bouquet of a variety of fruits, pleasant vinous freshness woven with the scents of the oak. Flavourful and complex, it has a very fruity body enriched by spicy oak nuances emerging from a background of noble tannins. The colour is deep ruby red, with youthful violet hues." Winery notes. "Poggio Salvi's 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is loaded with ripe dark fruit and sweet toasted oak. It possesses a plump, accessible personality, but not quite the complexity or detail of the vintage's top wines. Drink this simple, easygoing Brunello over the next five to seven years." 88 pts. eRobert Parker


2001 Mastrojanni, Schiena d'Asino - $73
"The beautiful, textbook Brunello aromas of violet, sour red cherry, licorice and tea leaf soar from the glass. Much more plush and silky in texture than usual from this producer (this is normally the archetypical old-school Brunello), with none of the rustic notes of other vintages, this shows ripe flavors of black cherry, porcini, tar and nutmeg with noteworthy energy and vibrancy and a surprisingly round texture. Firm tannins rear their head on the long, pure finish, providing needed clarity and backbone. 93 pts." International Wine Cellar


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How The Wines Were Ranked

Please check back after the tasting for the results.


Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2001 Poggio Antico
2 7
B -
2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino
1 1
C -
2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli
8 8
D -
2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
5 3
E -
2001 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino
6 6
F -
2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino
3 5
G -
2001 Poggio Salvi
7 4
H -
2001 Mastrojanni, Schiena d'Asino
4 2