In the far reaches of Southeast Montalcino lies the Mastrojanni Estate, which under the guidance of estate manager Andrea Machetti and winemaker Maurizio Castelli have been crafting an amazing array of Brunello.   Classically styled, with the terroir speaking at the forefront of the wines,  this estate relies on traditional technique carried out with modern understandings.   In my interview with Maurizio Castelli, he had this to say about the estate’s philosophy on barrel aging:
“We have always aged our Brunello in botti. Over the past few years we have begun reducing the capacity of our botti from the standard of 54 hl (which are in use anyway) to smaller capacities such as 33, 25 and 16 hl. Even these smaller sizes are not considered true barrique, which will only hold 200 liters. As a final sum, I repeat, the wood must only influence the flavour of the wine and never dominate the taste of our Brunello.”

~ The impeccably clean Cantina in Agricola Mastrojanni ~

This philosophy was borne out in our recent tasting of Mastrojanni’s  2007 Brunello Vigna Schiena d’Asino.   The consistency from this vineyard and producer is noteworthy.  We were very impressed by the 2006 rendition of this wine and the current release runs a very close second.
The wine was decanted for 45 minutes prior to being taken to a local Trattoria.  A slight sediment was removed from the wine.  On the nose the wine displays effusive aromatics with freshly cut flowers, crushed wild berry, lavender, sage and tobacco notes.  It’s wonderfully complex.  
On the palate the wine is all elegance with a powerful backbone.  Graceful waves of crushed berry and wild cherry fruit present themselves to the taster, with turned earth, new leather and a peppery, spicy finish cleansing the palate.  Fairly tannic, the wine performed better with food,  but the balance is there.  The expressive nature of the vintage lends itself to drinking this now, but it will cellar well for a decade and only be eclipsed by it’s 2006 sibling. Seriously good wine from a great vineyard.  95 points, SRP ~ $100.   Disclosure:  This bottle was an importer provided sample.


~ A Single Vineyard Brunello – not denoted a Riserva,  but certainly produced to that level of quality ~


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