Showing 1–12 of 25 results

  • Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montesoli 2012


    “Always a crowd pleaser, the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli is a beautifully crafted wine. It shows depth, intensity and loads of authenticity both in terms of grape variety and territory. Dark cherry and blackberry rise from the bouquet with spice, pipe tobacco and moist earth in tow. The wine is layered and nuanced. That Sangiovese authenticity comes through loud and clear on the palate. This is a mid-weight wine with polished but firm tannins and evident acidity. It shows a burst of freshness on the finish. Montosoli ages in large Slavonian oak casks for 36 months. It is fully equipped for a long aging future ahead. Drink: 2018-2030. 95 points

    Owner Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini purchased two additional hectares of Brunello vineyard in 2016. They are located in an excellent position right under the Montosoli cru. Generally speaking, the Montosoli hill sees slightly cooler temperatures on average. In fact, Altesino’s 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli has resisted the heat of the vintage. This wine stands out thank to its profound elegance and grace.”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (229)

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  • Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2015


    “The nose shows an alluring display of hauntingly dark florals giving way to crushed black cherry, plums, and tobacco, with hints of spiced citrus and undergrowth adding further depths. On the palate, silky textures flood the senses with ripe red and black fruits, carried by vibrant acids, as sweet spices and minerals slowly saturate, and fine tannin begins to mount toward the finale. The finish is long and structured, resonating on zesty wild berry fruits, spice, and minerals; yet its tannic heft keeps it all in check. The 2015 Pian delle Vigne is one of the few wines of the vintage that requires some time in the cellar, and with this balance of primary fruits, acids, and structure, it should emerge as something to behold. Drinking window: 2024-2034. 94 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (04/20)

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  • Baricci Brunello di Montalcino 2015


    “Good full ruby-red. Captivating nose combines, ripe red cherry, black plum, minerals, herbs, mocha and sexy brown spices. Juicy and sweet, with refined, suave blackberry, raspberry, minerals and tobacco flavors dominating. Finishes extremely long, with a steely quality, fine-grained tannins and a multifaceted personality. Another great Brunello from Baricci. Drinking window: 2024-2035. 96 points”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (04/20)

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  • Baricci Rosso di Montalcino 2019


    “The 2019 Rosso di Montalcino litts up with rosy tlorals and herbal-tinged strawberries contrasted by wet stone mineral tones and a hint at leather strap. lt’s sott and tleshy in teel yet balanced by brisk acids and a mix ot both sweet and savory spice. There’s so much pent-up energy and tension to this spicy Rosso, which tapers oft with cheek-puckering, tart berries. Drinking window: 2022-2026. 92 points

    The Baricci Rossoo hails from the younger vines of their property, and all on the hill of Montosoli. While the wine can be enjoyed young, the best vintages also have the capacity to age over the medium term.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (01/22)

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  • Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino 2015


    The Biondi-Santi 2015 Brunello di Montalcino exudes dark, velvety fruit and concentration while maintaining the signature elegance, suppleness and lithe personalty that distinguishes the iconic Il Greppo estate. I found this new release to be quite distinctive and exquisitely beautiful, setting it apart from many of the past vintages we are most familiar with. This 2015 edition is dark, exuberant and bold, but precise, focused and sharp as well. It will live for years in your cellar, but tasted now in its infancy, the wine shows blackberry, dried cherry, plum and dark cassis. Those dark fruit tones segue to a rich presentation of tar, spice, earth, tobacco and sweet balsam herb. The bouquet offers seamless and smooth transitions. This warm and sunny growing season favored richness and phenolic weight. Wines from Biondi-Santi are made for the long haul, and the fresh acidity that characterizes this estate is the principle reason why. However, I’d argue that this wine from 2015 will evolve over the years not only thanks to the freshness but more so thanks to the important structure of this solid and profound wine. Drink: 2024-2048. 97+ points

    This spotlight focuses on two new releases from Biondi-Santi: the 2017 Rosso di Montalcino and the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino. The upcoming 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva will be released later this year, and I will publish a review of that wine as soon as I have the opportunity to taste it.

    Of these two samples, it’s worth spending an extra word on the beautiful 2017 Rosso di Montalcino. Rosso is an entry-level category of wine in Montalcino, made with 100% Sangiovese like its big brother Brunello, which has been the subject of much debate and attention in recent years. There is an acute awareness on the part of both the trade and the consumer that the enormous growth potential of Rosso di Montalcino remains untapped.

    Because Rosso commands a lower price point than Brunello (a wine that sells well), there has been an unwillingness to invest vineyard acreage or infrastructure for Rosso di Montalcino. Why focus on Rosso in a Brunello market?

    As a result, Montalcino is an anomaly in the world of wine because it has an inverted quality pyramid. The classic wine region elsewhere is built upon on a large base of lower-priced wines at the bottom, and a pointed tip where a much smaller number of expensive fine wines live at the top. In Montalcino, cellar-worthy Brunello is the expensive wine at the top produced in ample volume, but the upside-down pyramid tapers down at the bottom to capture the sidelined Rosso.

    For example, in a year like 2018, the appellation produced eight million bottles of Brunello di Montalcino and 4.5 million bottles of Rosso di Montalcino for a turnover of 160 million euros, and 70% of the wine was sold in export markets, according to the Consorzio del Vino di Montalcino. The denomination has policies in place to limit the growth of Brunello to eight to nine million bottles, depending on the vintage. However, there is ample room for growth, says the Consorzio, for Rosso di Montalcino.

    If Rosso di Montalcino is to build momentum, it is critical that the iconic brands of the appellation get behind the wine. This is the context I believe we need to consider when presenting a wine like the Biondi-Santi 2017 Rosso di Montalcino.

    “We strongly believe in Rosso di Montalcino,” Biondi-Santi CEO Giampiero Bertolini tells me over a Zoom call. “Rosso is the entry ticket to Montalcino. This wine is key to bringing in new interest and new generations of wine lovers.”

    The Biondi-Santi estate has a long-standing Rosso di Montalcino program. But it also sometimes produced a special bottling recognized by a red banner on the label called Rosso di Montalcino Fascia Rosso in the most difficult vintages such as 1989, 1992, 2002 and 2014. In those years, fruit destined to Brunello was downgraded to the red banner selection. It was determined that the Fascia Rosso was causing confusion in the marketplace and the wine was discontinued.

    “We don’t want our Rosso to be seen as a declassified wine,” says Bertolini. “Instead, we want to draw a clear identity for our Rosso.”

    The identity of the 2017 Rosso di Montalcino reviewed here is closely linked to that of the estate’s technical director, Federico Radi, who joined the estate that same year.

    “The 2017 growing season was hot and the vines were stressed. Yields were reduced by 30% to 40% in some areas,” says Radi. “Areas with heavy clay soils and younger vines suffered the most, but we were able to maintain freshness in the 2017 Rosso thanks to the advanced age of the vines in our best sites with cooler Galestro soils.”

    Biondi-Santi embarked on an ambitious project to map its vineyard holdings and better understand the soil characteristics of each parcel. The team is also slowly replanting less-productive vines. I wrote about these initiatives in my article that was published last year in the June 202 Week 1 issue. I also wrote about some recent changes at the estate in an article called “Updates from Montalcino’s Tenuta Biondi Santi” published on Wine Journal, which is free to read (no subscription required).

    The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino reviewed here will also be released in magnum for the first time in the estate history. Brunello was not made in 2014, nor was a Riserva produced that year.

    Each year, the estate selects a back vintage from the library to re-release to the market. The 1983 Riserva was selected for this purpose, and I was lucky enough to taste that beautiful wine a couple of years ago. That review was published in July 2019.

    In Good Hands

    Tenuta Biondi Santi is in a happy place today. Brunello watchers had reason for pause after the death of the beloved Franco Biondi Santi in 2013 at the age of 91 (and still active in winemaking). Not too long after his passing, rumors suggested that the estate might be for sale. This led to broad questions about the future of the brand, and specific concerns regarding the stewardship of the traditional winemaking style that so faithfully mirrors the personality of Il dottore Franco Biondi Santi. Last year’s release of the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva had a ribbon printed on the front label that read: “Dedicato a Franco Biondi Santi.” That is his final vintage.

    In 2016, Biondi Santi’s heirs sold the estate to the Paris-based EPI holding company owned by Christopher Descours. Since that date, a careful restructuring program was initiated. In the years following the acquisition, Franco’s son Jacopo and his grandson Tancredi both stayed on for consistency during the transition. However, both men have since left Il Greppo to dedicate their efforts to Jacopo’s Southern Maremma wine estate, Castello di Montepò.

    Meet the Team

    Under its French ownership, Il Greppo is managed by an all-Italian dream team of professionals, with a small Danish inclusion, culled from some of Tuscany’s most prestigious wine estates such as Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Marchesi Mazzei and Isole e Olena.

    Giampiero Bertolini, Biondi-Santi CEO, joined the team in 2018. With 16 years at the Frescobaldi Group, he served as global sales and marketing director at Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. He got his master’s degree in economy and marketing at the Università degli Studi di Firenze, completing some of his studies at the international marketing program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    His mission at Biondi-Santi is to “further expand the value and the importance of the brand to reinforce its presence among the greatest wines of the world. On the one hand, this will be accomplished through the continuous improvement of the quality of the wines, within the utmost respect of Biondi-Santi’s secular tradition and history; on the other hand, by strengthening the presence of Biondi-Santi in the best restaurants worldwide and in the most prestigious private wine collector cellars,” according to a company statement.

    Technical director Federico Radi, who heads viticulture and winemaking, joined the company in 2017. Tuscan born, he studied agronomy at the Università degli Studi di Firenze and holds a master’s degree in oenology from the Unversità degli Studi di Siena. His professional career has given him passage through the historic cellars of Villa Mangiacane, Isole e Olena (where he was vineyard manager) and the Maremma estate of Marchesi Mazzei, Tenuta Belguardo, where he was in charge of production.

    Giovanni Lai (the best-dressed man in Italian wine) is the European sales director. I met Giovanni back in 2005 when I was studying to be a sommelier with the Italian Sommelier Association. He was my instructor during the spirits portion of the course. A few years later, I profiled him in an article I wrote on Italian mixed drinks. It was around that time that I also met Lene Bucelli (Danish by birth but Italian by choice, much like myself). Lene is the head of marketing and communications at Biondi-Santi and has worked as a press officer for various estates in Tuscany. Andrea Gianardi is CFO, after having worked at the Chianti Classico Consortium for many years.

    The estate staff under employment by Franco Biondi Santi, both in production and in the offices, have pretty much all stayed on under the new ownership.


    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (03/21)

    In Stock

  • Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino 2017


    “This is the so-called “green label” Brunello with proprietor Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini’s signature on the front of the bottle. Her classic 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is sharp and tonic with wild raspberry, cassis, lilac, earth and garden herb. There is a sweet note of sour cherry on the mid-weight finish. This is an ample 160,000-bottle production made in a traditional approach with two years in casks made with both Slavonian and French oak. Drink: 2024-2035. 93 points

    Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini is back on the wine trail following these years of COVID-19 lockdowns. With her usual energy and special simpatia, she’s working hard to create identities for the single vineyards she farms, such as Caparzo’s Vigna La Casa and Altesino’s Montosoli.”

    Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (02/22)

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  • Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa 2016


    “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino La Casa takes a little time to collect itself in the glass, pulling you closer as white smoke gives way to crushed stone, then peppery florals, wild strawberry and cedar. The textures are like pure silk, with an elegant display of savory black cherry and spice complicated by salty minerals. This shows amazing density while never feeling heavy, nearly masking its fine-grained tannins until the very end, where hints of orange citrus and dried berries linger. The 2016 La Casa is a beauty with plenty of upside potential. Drinking window: 2026-2038. 94 points”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2016


    “There’s a sensuality to Costanti’s 2016 Brunello di Montalcino. It’s something about the way it draws you in and warms the soul. Its bouquet straddles both the light and dark sides of Sangiovese, rising up with alluring flowery perfumes, cedar dust and crushed cherry, yet then swaying toward rich brown spices and clove. The textures are velvety-smooth and elegant, ushering in a dense core of fleshy red berry fruits, which leave a coating of crystalline minerals and fine tannins in their wake. Though structured and aching for a stay in the cellar, you can’t help but pour another glass of this simply spellbinding Brunello. While in need of three to five years in the cellar for optimal enjoyment, the 2016 is absolutely worth checking in on today. Drinking window: 2025-2038. 96 points

    I was very happy from the first moment I tilted my glass of 2015 Costanti Brunello Riserva. Thinking back to my tastings of the 2015s in February, the Brunello di Montalcino was one of the wines from the vintage that captured the sun-kissed persona of the year, yet it didn’t deliver the complexities and structure that I look for in these wines. Well, let’s just say that the Riserva more than makes up for that performance. It’s layered, primary and structured with the capacity for a long and steady evolution in our cellars. Costanti explained that the Riserva is a selection of his best barrel of Brunello each year; the one that strikes him as having the most potential for long aging, yet the élevage is exactly the same. The Riserva spends the same time in barrel as the straight Brunello, with just one more year refining in bottle before release. However, while I’m fawning over the 2015 Riserva, it would be a shame not to mention that the 2016 Brunello is spectacular as well. Costanti has captured all of the best qualities of the vintage, and he’s turned out a wine that will thrill fans of this historic estate. Another interesting moment from our recent interview included Costanti’s explanation of how much global warming has actually helped this part of Montalcino over the past decade, located in the cooler northeast between 380 and 450 meters above sea level. When he originally began working in the vineyards during the early eighties, achieving balanced ripeness wasn’t always easy; but today, the warm days are perfectly balanced by the cold currents that blow through these hillside vineyards at night. Something to keep in mind – granted, this is the classic production zone – is that it has only been in the last decade or so that the producers here have really captured the attention of a wider range of Brunello collectors.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2017


    “”An alluring, spicy and dusty mix of cherry and raspberry preserves, crushed stone and dusty flowers is lifted by cedar shavings and dried citrus peels as the majestic 2017 Brunello di Montalcino blossoms in the glass. This is fleshy yet delicate in feel, displaying pure ripe red berry fruit, nicely contrasted by salty mineral tones, and lacking only a bit of midpalate depth that might take it to the next level. It tapers off long while leaving the mouth watering for more, as a gentle tug of tannin slowly fades under rosy inner florals. Andrea Costanti didn’t produce a Riserva in 2017, and so all of that juice was used to try to bolster the Brunello. From what I’ve tasted, I’d say he succeeded. Drinking window: 2024-2029. 93 points

    Just a short drive down the southern hill from the town of Montalcino, you’ll find the Costanti winery, where Andrea Costanti continues to produce some of the most deeply seductive, yet truly classic expressions of Brunello from vintage to vintage. While steeped in tradition, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to hear his thoughts on Montalcino’s need for better zoning, stating, “In my opinion, it is not acceptable that a significant area like Montalcino hasn’t had it.” For his vineyards, it’s the high elevations from 433 to 471 meters, large diurnal temperature swings between day and night and galestro soils that make this terroir special. Costanti spoke of those cooling nighttime temperatures as being vital during the hot 2017 vintage. When all was said and done, his production numbers didn’t suffer much, while all of the Riserva juice was added to the Brunello. The Riserva of this house is a selection from each vintage that starts its first year of refinement in new barrels; yet as a forward-thinking producer, Andrea Costanti does not keep it any longer in wood than the Brunello annata – it’s simply aged longer in bottle before release. I personally find the Riserva of this house to have a gloss of early accessibility upon release, but to then shut down, to only re-emerge as a glorious and mature wine many years later. On this visit, the 2006, 2010 and 2012 were open to taste, which was a total pleasure. On a final note, the Rosso at this address should also be of special interest. It’s sourced from fruit in the lower and sandier soils at the base of the Montosoli hill and refined for one year in tonneaux. This is a Rosso that can easily be enjoyed in its youth or cellared over the medium term. While pulling away from the estate, after the tasting, all I could think was that Andrea Costanti is at the top of his game.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (12/21)

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  • Conti Costanti Rosso di Montalcino 2019


    “The 2019 Rosso di Montalcino is deep, primary and full of character. Here I’m finding a seductive bouquet of black raspberry preserves complemented by nuances of clove, allspice and candied ginger. Its textures are silky and pliant, displaying much more weight than you’d expect from a Rosso, which is balanced by a core of bright acidity. Rich red and hints of blue fruit prevail, lasting throughout the incredibly long and floral tinged finale, where a coating of sweet tannin lingers. As good as this is today, it will be even better in another year and easily excel over short-term cellaring. There were only 10,000 bottles produced of the 2019, which is about half of what was bottled in 2018. Don’t miss it! Drinking window: 2022-2029. 93 points

    The Costanti Rosso is sourced from fruit in the lower and sandier soils at the base of the Montosoli hill, and it’s refined for one year in tonneaux. This is a Rosso that can easily be enjoyed in its youth or cellared over the medium term.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (01/22)

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  • Conti Costanti Vermiglio Rosso di Montalcino 2017


    “Deep red. Ripe red cherry, sweet spices, licorice and leather notes are lifted by violet and quinine. Enters rich and round, then more austere in the middle, with hints of tar complementing the red cherry and underbrush flavors. Finishes long with beautiful acid-alcohol-tannin balance. This is really of the same quality level of a good Brunello. Vermiglio is the old name of the Rosso di Montalcino that was traditionally used by the Costanti household decades ago and that owner Andrea Costanti brought back to life with the 2014 vintage (in which he did not make his Brunello, opting instead to make a fuller-bodied Rosso aged in oak). This was aged one year in 500 liters tonneaux (only a minimal part of which are new) and one year in very large and old barrels. An outstanding result in a very hot year (the 2017 vintage is the earliest one in which Andrea picked grapes, beginning on September 11). As good as this is, it will benefit and improve further with another year in the cellar (Costanti won’t be selling it until April 2020). Drinking window: 2020-2026. 92 points

    Andrea Costanti was off to Micronesia for a well-deserved vacation the same day I went to visit him at the winery, and told me he agreed to my visit even though it was such a bad time for him because he really wanted to be sure that I understood just how ecstatic he was over the quality of the 2015 Brunello vintage. Costanti’s vines are located roughly between 390-450 meters above sea level in an especially well-ventilated part of Montalcino (especially in the evenings); it’s an area with normally strong diurnal temperature shifts, and these were even more apparent than usual in 2015. Costanti strongly believes these were the secret to 2015’s success, ensuring a huge difference in 2015’s wine quality compared to other years when the summer was characterized by both hot days and warm nights. According to Costanti, the cooler nighttime temperatures really mark the profile of the area’s 2015 Brunellos and account for them being among the best wines Montalcino has ever produced, in his view. Clearly, Costanti also raved about the wines of the cooler 2016 vintage (to be released next year), but differently from 2015, it’s the wines of the warmer southern reaches of the denomination (like Castelnuovo and S.Angelo) that fared best in 2016.”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (04/20)

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  • Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2016


    “The Gaja family tends twenty-five hectares of vines between Tavernelle in the southwest of Montalcino and the Deserti area in the northeast. However, it’s only the vines in Tavernelle, a warm and dry part of Montalcino which is heavily influenced by the sea, that are used to create Rennina and the single-vineyard Brunello, Sugarille. All of the other fruit goes into making a Brunello which is not submitted for reviews and instead marketed to restaurants. While the family doesn’t have any intention of making any changes to this structure, Giovanni Gaja spoke excitedly about a recent acquisition of five hectares in Bolsignano, a valley in the southeast with a very unique microclimate from their current holdings. This parcel sits at elevations between 350-400 meters in galestro soils, with a large diurnal shift between day and nighttime temperatures. Starting with the 2019 vintage, this fruit will help fuel the estate’s Brunello; yet the area is undergoing a replanting project with another five hectares coming on board over the next few years. Ultimately, with global warming in mind, the Gaja family will now have the ability to blend fruit from both north to south and east to west, allowing them to find balance from vintage to vintage. What’s more, the winery has also begun to slowly introduce large, forty-hectoliter barrels throughout the range, with the goal of finding a balance between them and the tonneaux that they have used prior. In 2016 the Rennina was matured in a mix of 70% two-year-old large casks, with only 30% in tonneaux, while the Sugarille was matured in a mix of 60% two-year-old large casks, with only 40% in tonneaux. In the end, whether in Piedmont, Maremma, Montalcino or Mount Etna, the Gaja family always has a firm eye on the future.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (11/20)

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