Today we offer the 2013 Brunello di Montalcino and 2012 Riservas from the Fuligni and Costanti estates.
Seriously, how many wineries can say they were founded in the 16th century! Brunello at it’s best is such a beguiling wine. From Montalcino about 80km south of Florence in the Tuscany region, Brunello is the second highest classification, of the 100% Sangiovese wines made in the region. The Riservas being the highest. The fact that the current vintages are 2013 and 2012 respectively (as required by the DOCG) immediately signals that these wines spend more time maturing than many other Sangioveses from Tuscany.
This élévage has a transformative effect on the wines, guiding them past adolescence to early adulthood. The rest is up to us! The great wines reward cellaring, yet, are immediately attractive.
Both of these producers have a wonderful purity of fruit. The Costanti being aged in large botti heading down the more traditional style. Fuligni straddles the modern and traditional with use of some smaller oak from Allier seeing a lick of oak in the wine.
Owners: Maria Flora Fuligni & Roberto Guerrini Fuligni
Winemakers: Roberto Guerrini Fuligni & Paolo Vagaggini
Production: 46,000 bottles
Hectares under vine: 11
This beautiful property, surrounding a 16th century Medici villa, was founded in 1923 by a descendant of the Venetian Fulignis. Although the wines labels still bear that city’s symbol, the lion of St. Marco, the family has long been thoroughly Tuscan. The present generations are Maria Flora Fuligni and nephew Roberto Guerrini Fuligni, a.k.a Professor of Criminal Law at Siena University, who styles the wines with oenologist Paolo Vagaggini.
The property is on an almost continual strip on the eastern side of Montalcino, divided into four vineyards: San Giovanni, Il Piano, Ginestreto and La Bandita. The vineyards are predominantly east facing at 380-450 metres on rocky terrain. The soil is low in organic components and conducive to minuscule yields, further restrained by the age of the vines (mostly between 15-35 years with peaks of 55 years). Over the last decade, Roberto’s profound revision of the winery’s quality criteria – drastically reduced crops and even stricter selection of grapes that are vinified separately according to cru – have maximized the superb potential of his terroir and propelled Fuligni to be amongst the finest in the region. The wine is aged for three years in a combination of Slavonian oak barrels and tonneaux, followed by a year in the bottle. Stylistically, the wines capture the middle ground between modern and traditional, bursting at the seams with plum and cherry fruit sustained by a firm, full structure and polished tannins.
Owner: Andrea Costanti
Winemakers: Andrea Costanti
Production: 60,000 bottles
Hectares under vine: 10
According to the history books, the Costanti family has been producing wine in Montalcino since the 16th century. The current Costanti, Andrea – former President of the Brunello consorzio, multi Wine Spectator Grand Award Winner and scuba diver – assumed control in 1983 from his uncle Count Emilio. He was freshly graduated from Siena University with a geology degree and, while some may have thought Emilio a hard act to follow, Andrea set to the task with a will and a determination that has seen the winery upgraded and, in conjunction with consultant oenologist Vittorio Fiore, the family’s reputation for great Brunello enhanced.
The wines have the unmistakable imprint of the Matrichese cru, yielding Brunello of unparalleled elegance and complexity, with luscious focussed berry fruit, remarkable structure and above all, exquisite balance. The vines’ altitude (310-440 metres) is conducive to ideal ventilation and the warm days and cool nights result in wonderfully fragrant Brunellos. Unfortunately for wine lovers, there are only 10 hectares under vine and availability is subject to fierce demand from both sides of the Atlantic, hence the minuscule quantities.
“These handmade, artisan wines remain some of the most individualistic terroir-driven wines in Montalcino. I cant recommend them highly enough. Andrea Costanti is at the top of his game, its as simple as that.” Antonio Galloni.
Where in the World do they Come From?
Ian D’Agata Vinous Media
Every once in a while, when visiting a specific wine region, I taste so many good bottles that I find myself thinking I might just turn in my author’s pen and start making wine (clearly, such dangerous thoughts last only a second or two before I come back to my senses). Most recently, this happened during my tastings of the 2012 Brunellos, when I tried one delicious example after another. Even more impressive, the 2012 vintage for Brunello stands out for its consistently high quality. I found more good to outstanding examples than in any past vintage and far fewer unfocused, unbalanced and high-alcohol wines.
The 2012 Brunellos are characterized by impeccable balance, vibrant acidity and fine-grained tannins. They are not especially luscious or fleshy, but they are blessed with precise aromas and flavors of mainly red fruits, blood orange and minerals, and will prove very ageworthy. For the most part, the wines are also lower in alcohol than the 2011s are. In ultimate analysis, the 2012 Brunellos might best be viewed as sharing some of the same qualities offered by the 2006 (but with a less overbearing tannic structure) and the 2008 Brunellos (but with higher alcohol), although a few producers I spoke with believe that the 2012s are most reminiscent of the very fine 2004s (for my part, I think the 2012s are less powerful and tannic). The new set of releases is a much better better-balanced and more fruit-driven crop of wines than the 2011s. This superiority is further demonstrated by the fact that many more estates plan to produce Riserva bottlings from vintage 2012 than they did in 2011.
If you want to experience the energy, elegance and ageworthy structure that first drew wine lovers and collectors to Brunello di Montalcino decades ago, then 2013 is your vintage. A classic vintage, the best 2013s boast remarkable aging potential not seen in years. The top wines are stunning, with a radiance missed in many of the muscular, more approachable and higher alcohol Brunellos from recent vintages. The 2013s will require patience to reach their maximum potential. Unlike the extremely warm, dry years that have become the norm in Montalcino since the mid-1990s (exceptions include 1998, 2002 and 2005), the 2013 vintage was a blast from the past. It was a cool year, with abundant rainfall in spring and the first part of the summer. Careful vineyard management was needed to keep the grapes free of disease. The 2013 growing season proved incredibly long and slow. Cooler temperatures prevailed in September and the first half of October, and the grapes benefitted from ample sunshine and breezy conditions. It produced fragrant, medium-bodied wines loaded with finesse. The best are impeccably balanced, with vibrant acidity and firm but noble tannins.
*Magnums have already sold out. Wines will be delivered in April weather permitting.