Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016


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“A deeply sensual bouquet of freshly sliced plums, crushed violets, mentholated herbs and Tuscan dust rises up from the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. This is deeply textural while also cool-toned and refined, with mineral-tinged red and black berries cascading across a core of brisk acidity. Tension builds throughout, as grippy tannins mount toward the close, nicely contrasted by a burst of sour citrus. There’s a crystalline structure to the 2016 that tempts the imagination as to what the future will bring, and it tapers off long, youthtully poised, yet also remarkably fresh. Time will only increase the depths of the 2016 Riserva, a wine that I seriously look forward to tasting again in five to ten years. Drinking window: 2026-2042. 98 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 (10/21)