Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2004
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Brilliant ruby in color, intense, ripe aromas of berry fruit prelude a lush, full-bodied palate.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright medium red. Knockout nose suggests a wine of strong extract and extends one's Brunello vocabulary: cherry, peach pit, licorice, lead pencil, honey, jasmine, botanical herbs, you name it. Dry, classic and sharply delineated, conveying a strong impression of energy allied with great delicacy. This manages to be very ripe, broad and silky and at the same time virtually weightless. Finishes sweet, pliant, minerally and very long. With aeration, though, this shut down dramatically in my glass and showed a leathery element. One for the cellar. 93(+?) points."
Wine Spectator - "Rich and subtle, delivering plum, berry and ripe strawberry character, with dried mushroom undertones. Full, with a ripe, velvety tannin backbone and beautiful fruit. Features coffee and berries on the finish, with bright acidity. Best after 2011."
The Wine Advocate - "High-toned aromatics lead to a firm, taut expression of fruit in Costanti's 2004 Brunello di Montalcino. Wild herbs, red cherries, tobacco and flowers are just some of the nuances that emerge from this chiseled, traditionally-made Brunello. The wine possesses gorgeous length and finessed tannins that provide lovely balance. Today the wine is clenched and unexpressive, but it should come together in bottle. That said, numerous bottles of this Brunello have failed to deliver the magic I found when I tasted the wine from tank prior to bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024."
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Conti Costanti Winery
The small town of Montalcino, huddled around its fortressed castle on the Tuscan hillside, is miniature perfection. Montalcino residents are a tightly knit community, with a strong sense of identity and deep love for their territory. Within this community, Andrea Costanti is a well known and highly liked figure. The Costanti family has been part of Montalcino history since 1555, yet Andrea is anything but 'old hat': young, brilliant and amiable, he very much moves with the times. You will find him perfectly at ease in Tuscany as in New York, in Paris or in Tokyo. In 1983, Andrea (at the time, fresh out of Siena University's geology department) took over from his uncle, Count Emilio – the man who first put Costanti on the wine map. A difficult task: yet this inexperienced youth not only coped with his huge new responsibilities, but actually upgraded and enhanced the family's reputation for making great Brunello. He achieved this by relying on his own fine instinct for wine and in-depth knowledge of the terrain's geological components. In time, these natural skills were perfected, so that he eventually styled the range together with Vittorio Fiore. Roughly 25 acres are under vine and vine age ranges from 6 to 25 years old. Soil type is classic Tuscan "galestro" (shale marls from the Cretaceous Era, formed by a mixture of sand and calcareous rock with very little clay). View all Conti Costanti Wines
About Tuscany(TUSS-can-ee) 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.
Notable FactsThe 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.
A little ditty about Italy...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.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.