"Very fresh aromas of pressed flowers with hints of plums and raspberries. Full-bodied, with super well-knit tannins and a long, long finish of ripe fruit and beautiful character. I love this. This is better than 1997. Get it fast." -Wine Spectator
High standards in the winery match those in the vineyard. Fermentation takes place under the severest temperature and quality control, followed by skin maceration for 15-20 days. The hallmark of Fuligni Brunello and Rosso (the latter, from the rocky and rewarding cru of Ginestreto) is their great complexity. Élevage takes place in Slavonian oak casks and in French barriques and tonneaux, effectively enhancing and fine-tuning the wines intrinsic nobility and depth.
All labels bear the lion of St. Marco in honor of the Fulignis' Venetian origins. The family, however, has long been thoroughly Tuscan, founding the winery in 1923 round a Medici villa and a tiny country convent of the Renaissance. Maria Flora Fuligni and nephew Roberto Guerrini Fuligni have just restored the latter to its sixteenth-century purity. Its cool, cloistered tranquillity supplies ideal aging conditions for these elegantly structured reds, jointly orchestrated by Maria Flora, oenologist Paolo Vagaggini, and agronomist Federico Ricci. Besides this restoration work, the past year has seen further expansion of the vineyards (now 25 productive acres out of the total 247). Altitude varies between 1250-1480 feet above sea level. Exposure is mainly eastern and southeastern, and terrain consists of stony/clayey, hillside "galestro" marls. The soil is low in organic components — therefore conducive to minuscule yields. Crops are further cut back by the vines’ age (12-30 years), their density, severe pruning and green harvest. The newly added vineyards are even more densely planted, 10 to 12 years old and at a slightly lower altitude of 984 feet, on predominantly clayey terrain better suited to Merlot. The grapes are vinified separately according to cru, in a classically inspired international style.
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One of the most important wine regions in Italy, Tuscany is home to the cities of Florence and Siena, the districts of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, and the wineries of Sassicaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia. Tuscany is also home to the indigenous Italian grape variety, Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
The most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the
1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.