Conti Costanti Vermiglio Rosso di Montalcino 2017


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“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)