~ Cantina Mastrojanni ~

Mastrojanni has been at the forefront of Brunello production for a long time.  With the exceptional Maurizio Castelli overseeing the production,  they are certainly in good hands.  Located in Castelnuovo dell’Abate,  Mastrojanni typically creates three different Brunello:  The Estate Brunello, the Vigna Loreto and the Schiena d’Asino.  The latter is the premium Brunello of the estate and in 2009 it was not produced.  Instead, the grapes were declassified into the subject of today’s article.

~ Vigna Loreto ~

Every time I taste a wine from Mastrojanni,  I notice the very deft use of oak in the wine.  It’s noticeable, but only in trace elements.  Such is the case with today’s wine.  A few years ago,  I interviewed the estate manager and the winemaker for Mastrojanni and this quote resonates today.

What attitude does Maurizio have toward notes of oak in Brunello?  Does he feel that Sangiovese needs or benefits from extended oak aging? 

Good question Giovanni.  The answer is, this is half techical, and half philosophical.  The tannins of the Brunello grape (all Brunellos) are so strong that it has to age in wood. Oak aging is mandated at a certain level by DOCG law.   At Mastrojanni, we age our Brunello in oak botti for 3 years.  So a light oak flavour is naturally part of its range of its flavours. What is definitely important to us is that our Brunello must have the flavour of the Sangiovese grown in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, not a chocolate or vanilla or licorice liquid with a touch of grape flavour!

The 2009 Vigna Loreto Brunello is a very nice wine,  but you can tell that it’s a child of the vintage as it lacks the finesse, vibrancy and complexity of it’s sibling from 2007.   We decanted the wine for almost 90 minutes before dinner which included prime rib,  homemade sausage and sage stuffing and broccoli rabe. 
In the decanter the wine is almost black.   In the glass, the color is noticeably deep ruby with slight lightening at the rim.   The aromatics coming from the glass are very nice with ripe cherry, fresh fennel, brown leaf tobacco and a touch of spice.  On the palate, the wine is rich and ripe, with enough acidic structure to keep the wine fresh, but lacks the floral tones of Sangiovese imparted in ideal vintages.  Cherries,  mocha, roasted hazelnut, pepper and dried herbs comprise the flavor profile and the tannins are balanced well with the fruit.  I think there’s a long life ahead for this wine and it’s very well made.   That said, it’s typical for the vintage profile.   92 points.  About $50.

~ Vigna Loreto in decanter ~


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