A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 588: Benvenuto Brunello

Monday, March 7th: Wrote my 680 NEWS wine reviews and spent the rest of the day inputting wine reviews from last Friday’s Vintage release tasting. Then tasted a couple of wines and a spirit:

  • Two Sisters Merlot 2012: deep ruby colour; a nose of cedar, blueberry and blackcurrant with a spicy, toasty oak note; medium to full-bodied, dry, well-extracted blueberry and black cherry flavours; full in the mouth, with well integrated oak and a floral grace note. Firmly structured with ripe tannins. Hold for two years. (90)
  • Two Sisters Cabernet Franc 2012: deep ruby colour; cedar, savoury nose of vanilla oak, pencil lead, black fruits with a herbal note; medium-bodied, dry, somewhat tight at the moment, dark chocolate and currant flavours carried on a lively spine of acidity to a cinnamon finish. (89–90)
  • Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey ($50.30): old gold colour; honey, heather, orange peel, caramel and spicy oak on the nose; mellow, rich and full on the palate with a lingering buttery, malty flavour. (93.5)

For dinner, smoked meat from Street Deli with Fantini Numero Uno Primitivo 2014 (dense purple colour; spicy, plum with cedar on the nose – very New World in style, creamy mouth-feel (87)).

Tuesday, March 8th: Down to the AGO for a big “Benvenuto Brunello” tasting – 37 wineries, not only pouring Brunello di Montalcino but Rosso de Montalcino, 115 wines in all, mostly from the 2010 and 2011 vintages from Brunello and 2014 for the Rossos. I didn’t get to taste them all but I got a good impression of the two Brunello vintages: 2010 was very rich, full and forward while 2011 was more elegant and restrained and will cellar longer. My top scoring Brunellos were:

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 'Montosoli' 2011

  • Altesino Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli” 2011 (93)
  • Altersino Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (91)
  • Carpazo Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (93)
  • Celestino Pecci Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (92)

Celestino Pecci Brunello di Montalcino 2011

  • Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (92)
  • Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2010 (92)
  • Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (91)
  • Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 (91)
  • La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010 (91)
  • Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Loreto 2011 (91)
  • Rendola Brunello di Montalcino 2004 (91)

Rendola Brunello di Montalcino 2004

  • Podere Le Ripi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 (90)
  • Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2009 (90)
  • Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (90)

Top Rosso di Montalcino:

  • Altesino Rosso di Montalcino 2011 (91)
  • Rendola Rosso di Montalcino 2009 (90)
  • Molino di Sant’Antimo Rosso di Montalcino 2011 (89)

Wednesday, March 9th: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews and prepared for a tasting of red wines for my condo in the party room. The wines were:

  • San Pedro Gato Negro 9 Lives Reserve 2015
  • Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
  • Young Brute 2014
  • Trius Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2012
  • Sisters Run Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2014
  • Bolla Creso 2011

Thursday, March 10th: Drove down to Niagara College with Sandy Kurbis, in the rain, for a meeting to discuss holding the presentation of Ontario Wine Awards medals there on June 1st. Lunch at their Benchmark Restaurant. Heard that the college is going to open a teaching distillery in addition to their winery and brewery.

For dinner with grilled steak, La Crema Pinot Noir 2014 (deep ruby colour; a nose of cherries with dialled-back oak; spicy, smoky cherry flavour, rich mouth-feel, full-bodied and well balanced. Much more restrained than previous vintages in terms of oak (91)).

Friday, March 11th: Spent the day working on the novel. Up to 45,000 words. In the evening we invited some neighbours around for drinks. They all brought their dogs, which meant we had four dogs running around the condo. Pinot was the perfect hostess, allowing her guests to root around in her toy basket and share her treats. We got through a lot of opened bottles of red from Wednesday’s tasting and I opened two whites:

  • Montes Twins Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay Vioginer 2015 (Chile): pale straw colour; aromatic, honeysuckle, peach and apple nose with a grassy note; medium-bodied and dry. (88)
  • Domaine Millet Chablis 2014: straw colour; apple blossom and ripe apple nose; richly extracted and mouth-filling for a Chablis, crisply dry with a firm finish. (89)


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