Brunello Vertical

(May 9, 2012) — Brunello is a relatively recent viticultural adventure in Italy. It was born out of a preference for a small-berried sangiovese clone that was rot resistant and produced richer, deeper wine than its Chianti cousin. In 1870 Ferruccio Biondi-Santi segregated these grapes and called the clone Brunello (the little brown one). He insisted on high quality winemaking and a high price to differentiate the new brand. Brunello is a delicious, liquorous, age-worthy wine, largely unknown to the world at large until the 1970’s. Its increased popularity is certainly aided by the fact that it was the first appellation granted a the coveted DOCG. The Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita is the governmental recognition of pre-tasted exceptional products.

Brunello was the local hero. Its dusty, red cherry notes are often accompanied by a whiff of orange peel and finely structured fruit tannins. (Look for aromas of dark fruit, chestnuts, anise, damp soil and tobacco as well.) By the 1990’s Brunello was challenging Barolo as Italy’s most prestigious wine. Cask ageing of two years is mandatory and the wines do not enter the market until four years after the vintage. Wine Spectator writer Matt Kramer puts it on his “Don’t die before trying it “ list. That recommendation is certainly good enough for me!

This tasting features a vertical that covers 1993-2000. We are pouring the ‘93, ‘94, ‘95, ‘98, ‘99 and 2000 Brunello di Montalcino, La Casa – Tenuta Caparzo. La Casa is Caparzo’s single vineyard offering, equivalent to a great Grand Cru Burgundy. The Tenuta Caparzo estate was planted in the 1960’s before Brunello was a household word. They have been making great wines since the 1970’s using the traditional 36-month maturation in wood methodology. It should be noted that most of large Slovenian oak casks that hold these wines impart less vanilla-oak characteristics than the smaller French barriques, popular in France and the rest of the new world. The missing years are filled with the famous 1997 Brunello di Montalcino, Sugarille (single vineyard) by Angelo Gaja and the 1996 Brunello di Montalcino, Poggio Antico Altero. Altero is an example of a new style of Brunello, aged in small barrels for 2 years instead of large vats for 3 years, brighter and more fruit driven in style.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume.

Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 North York Memorial Community Hall
Time: 6:30 p.m. 5110 Yonge St. (under library)
Limit: 122 people North York Centre Subway
Members: $80 Guests: $97

Cancellations accepted up to May 4, 2012. See the event form for cancellation contact details. No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

Download the event form if you wish to mail in your reservation cheque.