Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino 2003
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Deep ruby red with reflections from crimson to garnet. The bouquet of light vanilla is accompanied by spices and tobacco leaf flavors. The taste is initially pleasantly sour, then wide and palatable. It has an amazing sapidity. Game, grilled red meat and mature cheeses will pair nicely.
Wine Spectator - "Raspberry and flowers follow through to a full body, with soft tannins and a round, pretty aftertaste. Best after 2008. 2,900 cases made."
The Wine Advocate - "Mastrojanni’s 2003 Brunello di Montalcino reveals high-toned aromatics that lead to very ripe, almost candied red cherries. Notes of tar, smoke, menthol and spices emerge with air as this wine puts on considerable weight in the glass. The heat of the vintage appears to have given this wine an extra degree of plumpness, but it is also one of the few wines in which the alcohol is clearly felt. Although the wine offers excellent length, the elegance of the finish is compromised by bitter, astringent tannins. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018."
International Wine Cellar - "Medium red with an amber edge. Aromas of bitter cherry, brambly berries, dried flowers, cedar and licorice. Silky and pliant in the mouth, but with good energy to the juicy, sweet red fruit and leather flavors. Finishes with smooth tannins and good length."
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About Tuscany(TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.