As a general rule, I try to avoid using the word “jazzed” now that I’m (ahem…) a man of a certain age. In fact, no—I take that back: It has nothing to do with the 39 years I’ve accumulated on this watery orb, but, rather, with my current eating situation.
Let me explain.
I feel like I’m at the best place of life that I’ve ever been, so that’s not the issue here: A loving wife and two beautiful kids; a job that basically entails drinking and traveling and eating and repeating the process…17-year-old Brian would never have dreamed that a professional life of this nature was possible; and my health is great.
No, what I mean by my “current situation” (see: First paragraph) is that, come 5:30pm, when dinner is nearly ready, it hits me every night I eat at home that I’m dining at the same time as the nonagenarian denizens of your average Florida retirement community. I mean: Dinner at 5:30? Who does that?
The answer: Mainly the very advanced-in-years. Also, these days: Me. Which makes me feel old. As in, let’s finish dinner quickly, everyone, so that we can catch Wheel of Fortune and have our prune juice and get to bed before waking up an hour ahead of the sunrise. As in, that Pat Sajak sure is a handsome young man, don't you think? And so smart!
Also, because my two-year-old doesn't really sleep right now, I'm usually up an hour ahead of the sunrise. And sometimes, Wheel of Fortune is on, and when it's either that or another episode of Bubble Guppies, well, Pat and Vanna seem pretty appealing in such moments. There's that, too.
So if I started using the word “jazzed” more often, or, okay, at all, it would only make me feel older than my paltry almost-four decades, because that word hasn’t been used to anything approaching youthful or hip effect since Donald Trump was but a prepubescent racist struggling his way through early childhood with a father who only possessed a few measly million in the bank. (How did he survive? Only millions and not billions? You can't build even a remotely useful continent-wide wall with just millions! To quote Kurtz in Heart of Darkness and Brando in Apocalypse Now: "The horror, the horror.")
But I’m going to use the word here, geriatric-linguistic perceptions be damned. Because when I opened my sample bottle of Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino 2010 last week, and stuck my schnozz in the glass and inhaled real deep-like, and then took a sip, I found myself helplessly, indubitably, joyfully and unabashedly, well, jazzed.
This is a seriously magnificent wine. Everything, in fact, that I always want from Brunello yet too often find missing in one aspect or another. But here it all was, and effusively so.
The estate is part of Gruppo Illy—yes, the legendary espresso—but it’s not one of those glamour projects that developed spur-of-the-moment as some sort of dilettante’s lark; rather, the Illy family’s purchase of Mastrojanni, back in 2008, was a natural extension of the work they’d already been doing at the neighboring Podere le Ripi since the early-1980s. The fruit of their labor, and this Brunello in particular, is spectacular. Enough, in fact, to make me gleefully, unashamedly jazzed.
There, I said it.
Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino 2010
The nose here is perfumed in that uniquely Montalcino way, with dried violets and lavender mingling with high-toned humidor and good cigar tobacco, dark-cherry skin, a hint of nuttiness at the edges, minerality, and leather. On the palate, this is supremely elegant and quite powerful, with assertive acidity, tart cherry and cranberry, spice hints, great length, melted tannins framing red licorice and citrus oil, yet still with fabulous structure-providing strength. Floral notes on the finish complete the picture of this elegant yet powerful wine. Drink now and for another decade and a half. Just remarkable.