Mastery in Montepulciano


May 2017


When Brothers Alberto and Ettore Falvo bought Avignonesi in 1974, Tuscany as a whole had not yet fully embraced the craft of fine wine making. Sure, there were a few vagabonds and artists, but really volume farming and bulk wine was the norm.


A commitment to viticulture as well as to technology allowed them to introduce their first Vino Nobile in 1978. Experimentation never rests, and their introduction of Merlot and Cabernet to the portfolio further propelled their fame, as well as the fame of the region as a whole.


In 2009, the winery was purchased by Virginie Saverys, who has made great strides. Organic certification is imminent (it takes a few years to qualify) and she has gone one step further by implementing biodynamic farming principles such as natural tea sprays and soil preparations. Her aim at Avignonesi is to produce wines that not only mirror the distinct identity of the terroir of Montepulciano, but wines that are healthier for her customers, healthier for the land, and therefore better for future generations.


Avignonesi enjoys worldwide fame not only for their reds, but for their Vin Santo di Montepulciano and very rare Vin Santo di Montepulciano “Occhio di Pernice”. Drinking these wines is a life-altering experience if you’re a wine nerd like me. These wines are made from dried grapes and aged for many years in oak and chestnut barrels. They are simply some of the most intense, amazing, luxurious wines made.


The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in 375ml and 750ml is one of our continuous listings. The other wines offered here are by reservation now. The wines will arrive in 3 months. No payment is necessary at this time. Prices are our best estimate, subject to fluctuate with currency.


We have over 300 wines available at all times, many of which are in short supply and not available at LCBO stores. You can also call me anytime and we can “talk wine”: 647 955 8872.


I hope to hear from you.






Vin Santo di Montepulciano 2001

$326.95 per 375 ml bottle, cases of 2

Estimated arrival: Late August


“The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano is a divine and superbly delicious sweet blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto. The results are super concentrated and simmered down to a virtual reduction sauce of deliciousness. There are so many aromas to name, but some of the most evident highlights include candied orange peel, almond marzipan, caramel, toasted coffee bean, vanilla stick, mocha, dark honey and fragrant yellow rose. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and deeply layered. I’m suggesting a slightly shorter drinking window here compared to the Occhio di Pernice (below). But, the truth is: I have no idea. I’m pretty sure these wines will outlive anyone of legal drinking age.”
98 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2017



Vin Santo di Montepulciano “Occhio di Pernice” 2001

$416.95 per 375 ml bottle, cases of 2

Estimated arrival: Late August


“This wine merits every one of these 100 points. The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice is a singular work of art and a profound expression of Tuscany. I know Avignonesi owner Virginie Saverys would like to draw attention to the other wines in her portfolio, and she has every right to do so. But I just want to cry. When you have a wine as profound and perfect as this, everything else fades fast into the background. Virginie likes to say that Occhio di Pernice (made with red grapes) is the “male” and the Vin Santo di Montepulciano (made from white grapes) is the “female.” This is a great observation. The bouquet here is smokey and savoury, but brilliant and sophisticated at the same time. You get an infinite array of caramel, maple syrup, espresso bean, licorice and candied fruit aromas. There’s so much dried fig as well. The concentration and thickness is out of this world. This wine is built like a tank and I’m not sure it will ever exit its drinking prime.”

100 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2017

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2013
Continuous availability from Rogers & Company


“The 2013 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano marks a very happy return for Avignonesi. This wine underlines the commitment and the dedication of the estate’s new owners and I could not be happier for this turnaround. Past vintages may have seen smaller percentages of Merlot, but this vintage paints a pretty picture of Sangiovese in a classic vintage. The Tuscan grape requires a long growing season and a sunny September. This vintage offered both. The bouquet opens to wild fruit aromas with distinct mineral tones that define and delineate the aromatic offering. The mouthfeel reveals good complexity and lots of bright freshness. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a red wine that can be consumed young. In fact, I would recommend an early drinking window in the case of this wine.”
91+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2017


“There’s loads of Sangiovese character here, from the earthy, tobacco-scented beginning to the cherry, leather and earth flavours, all underlined by stiff, chalky tannins. Rustic yet soulful. Best from 2018 through 2024. 16,666 cases made.”
91 points, Wine Spectator (Web Only), 2016


“Grifi” IGT Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 2013
$81.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Estimated arrival: Late August


In 2013 Grifi is made with 57% Sangiovese and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the estate’s best vineyards in the Cortona and Montepulciano area. It is a supple yet rich wine, with a firmness and structure on the palate suited to long cellar ageing.


“A firm and silky red with slightly austere tannins and hints of new wood. Yet it’s structured and shows a fine backbone. Attractive bitter chocolate and subtle berry character. Drink in 2019.”
92 points, JamesSuckling.com, July 2016

“Desiderio” IGT 25th Anniversary 2013
$89.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Estimated arrival: Late August


Desiderio 2013 is an intense, hedonistic, dry red wine; 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from two vineyards, La Badelle and La Selva. It ages 18 months in French barriques and 6 more in the bottle.


It reveals pretty notes of sweet cherries and raspberries, rose petals and aromatic herbs, enhanced by subtle hints of menthol, red licorice, and chocolate espresso beans. The flavour is smooth and fruit-driven, with chewy tannins and a deliciously savoury finish. Giant T-bone, please!


“A generous red that shows exuberance and tension. Medium to full body, silky tannins and superb intensity of berries, crushed chocolate and sage. Even so, this remains always refined and elegant. A classic Merlot from Tuscany. Better in 2020.”
95 points, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2016

“Grandi Annate” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012
$135.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Estimated arrival: Late August


“Grandi Annate” is simply the finest wine that Avignonesi makes. It is only produced in “great years”, hence the name. It is full-bodied yet fresh, with lovely acidity. Plums, cherries, and roses on the nose are complemented by earthy notes of sandalwood, clove, and resin. Although round and long now, this will benefit from three to five years in a cellar. You can enjoy it for 15 years.


“You’ll notice that this wine is no longer labeled “Riserva.” Avignonesi wanted to reduce the time it spends in oak and made the name adjustment accordingly. This seems like a good idea to me. The 2012 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Grandi Annate gives new life to one of Tuscany’s most historic wines. There is more elegance and finesse here. I must say that past vintages have been a disappointment, but this expression seems to break all ties with the past. Fruit is sourced primarily from the Banditella vineyard that tends to produce more austere and concentrated Sangiovese. Indeed, this wine is highly redolent of black fruit, tar, licorice and even a touch of white mushroom. Everyone loves a comeback story and that’s what you get here.”
93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2017


“A chewy and silky wine with just ripe fruit, chocolate and hazelnut character. Fresh earth undertone too. Medium body, fresh finish. Drink now or hold.”
93 points, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2016


“Austere initially, with tightly wound and gruff tannins shoring up sweet black cherry, floral, earth, tar and eucalyptus notes. Elegant and long on the minerally finish, but needs time. Best from 2019 through 2030. 1,666 cases made.”
92 points, Wine Spectator, Oct 2016

“50 & 50” IGT 2012
$210.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Estimated arrival: Late August


Picture it: Tuscany, 1988. A dinner brings together the owners of the region’s top estates to celebrate one of the greatest vintages in memory. Among them are Chianti Classico’s Cappanelle and Avignonesi.


After a few hours of merriment, Cappanelle’s then-owner Rafaele Rossetti and Avignonesi’s then-owners Alberto and Ettore Falvo begin comparing the quality of the Sangiovese from Chianti Classico and Merlot from Cortona. They began mixing glasses, looking for the perfect blend, and interestingly it was half from one winery and half from the other … “50 & 50” was born. Years later, ownership and stewardship of both estates has changed, but the tradition remains. Each year this Sangiovese/Merlot blend is hailed by critics.


“This is always such a curious and special wine. The 2012 50 & 50 does a great job of showing the prickly side of Sangiovese next to the soft side of Merlot. This wine represents a celebrated blend of two varieties from two of Tuscany’s best estates. One is located near Cortona on the eastern side of Tuscany and the other is inside the Chianti Classico appellation. The wine shows great detailing with sharp fruit and spice on evident display. The intensity of the vintage (due to warmer than average growing conditions throughout the summer) is also evident in terms of the wine’s textural richness.”
92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2016


Chris McLean

direct: 647 955 8872

office: 416 961 2294 x 29