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Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Price: Members: $63
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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 eRobertParker.com, 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.
2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino - $59
2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli - $77
2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino - $75
2001 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino - $48
2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino - $69
2001 Poggio Salvi - $60
2001 Mastrojanni, Schiena d'Asino - $73
Please check back after the tasting for the results.
|Name of Wine (in order poured)||Group Ranking||Guest Ranking|
A -2001 Poggio Antico
B -2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino
C -2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli
D -2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
E -2001 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino
F -2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino
G -2001 Poggio Salvi
H -2001 Mastrojanni, Schiena d'Asino