Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2017


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“”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)