Sangiovese
2015 Costanti Rosso di Montalcino
Tuscany, Italy

$80.00

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

THE GRAPE

Sangiovese (san-jo-vay-zay) is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy and is responsible for producing some of the world’s most iconic wines, think Chianti & Brunello. It’s a thin-skinned grape, which can cause issue in the vineyard, so careful handling is required. Brunello is the name given to the local clone of this special grape and Brunello di Montalcino is the most powerful expression of the Sangiovese.

THE REGION

Tuscany, located on the Tyrrhenian Coast of Italy is a fairy tale region with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Wine is deeply embedded in the story of this region. It’s a small area located around the town of Montalcino, just 80km south of Florence. The Rosso appellation sits below Brunello and was introduced in the mid 1980’s to allow producers more flexibility. While Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino have the same delineated boundaries, Rosso is allowed to be released earlier into the market and gives the producers something to sell and us something to drink while we are waiting for our Brunello’s to mature. Some producers will use younger vineyards or inferior parcels of land to go into their Rosso’s but Costanti makes no such sacrifice. The only difference between his two wines is the time that they are matured in the cellar. This ensures that you are getting the highest quality wine and the biggest bang for buck. Proper baby Brunello!!

THE PEOPLE

Conti Costanti has a rich history in this region, having made wine here since the 16th century. The man at the helm now is Andrea Costanti, who has managed to elevate this estate to the highest level in the 20 years or so he has been in control. Granted, he was handed the reins when the family winery was in very good shape. They are situated in Colle al Matrichese in the eastern part of the Montalcino zone, just outside the town of Montalcino. This is a beautiful property, archetypal Tuscany. 25 hectares in total, 12 devoted to vineyards, 4 to olive groves and the remainder is fallow land and woodland. Important to this site is its altitude. Higher than many other properties in Montalcino, sitting at 310 – 400 metres above sea level. It’s also situated on the famed galestro soil (Rocky, schistous clay) that’s consistently found in the vineyards of the best wines from the region.

THE WINE

Whenever I’m presented with a glass of Italian wine without knowing what it is, I’m immediately taken there, such is the unique character that these wines have. Dripping with a certain scent, they have a very real sense of place. Never supremely dark in the glass, due in part to the fact that Sangiovese is a thin-skinned grape, they appear with a ruby red, often with a slight orange or copper hue, even in their youth. This wine leads with dark Morello cherries, baked strawberries and red currents. A hallmark is dried flowers, potpourri and rose before you move into the non-fruit descriptors, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg are dotted around earth, baked terracotta, burnt orange zest, grilled meat and smoke. The list goes on and this is all before you’ve tasted it. The palate doesn’t disappoint, and I think the thing to remember about these very special wines, is that they are food wines, made to be on the table. First time Sangiovese drinkers and indeed Italian wine drinkers can struggle with the acidity and tannin these wines have, but paired with the right dish, it all makes sense. Medium to full bodied without being too heavy, this wine leans on sour red fruits and all the same savoury and spice characters that are present on the nose. I describe these wines as being angular, but in the best way possible. They have edges, derived from tannin (the grip and pinch you receive on your cheeks) and acid (the tingle you get down your tongue) – think about how that can help sweep away some fat or richness that’s left after eating slow cooked lamb shoulder. Take me there!

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Review

THE GRAPE

Sangiovese (san-jo-vay-zay) is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy and is responsible for producing some of the world’s most iconic wines, think Chianti & Brunello. It’s a thin-skinned grape, which can cause issue in the vineyard, so careful handling is required. Brunello is the name given to the local clone of this special grape and Brunello di Montalcino is the most powerful expression of the Sangiovese.

THE REGION

Tuscany, located on the Tyrrhenian Coast of Italy is a fairy tale region with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Wine is deeply embedded in the story of this region. It’s a small area located around the town of Montalcino, just 80km south of Florence. The Rosso appellation sits below Brunello and was introduced in the mid 1980’s to allow producers more flexibility. While Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino have the same delineated boundaries, Rosso is allowed to be released earlier into the market and gives the producers something to sell and us something to drink while we are waiting for our Brunello’s to mature. Some producers will use younger vineyards or inferior parcels of land to go into their Rosso’s but Costanti makes no such sacrifice. The only difference between his two wines is the time that they are matured in the cellar. This ensures that you are getting the highest quality wine and the biggest bang for buck. Proper baby Brunello!!

THE PEOPLE

Conti Costanti has a rich history in this region, having made wine here since the 16th century. The man at the helm now is Andrea Costanti, who has managed to elevate this estate to the highest level in the 20 years or so he has been in control. Granted, he was handed the reins when the family winery was in very good shape. They are situated in Colle al Matrichese in the eastern part of the Montalcino zone, just outside the town of Montalcino. This is a beautiful property, archetypal Tuscany. 25 hectares in total, 12 devoted to vineyards, 4 to olive groves and the remainder is fallow land and woodland. Important to this site is its altitude. Higher than many other properties in Montalcino, sitting at 310 – 400 metres above sea level. It’s also situated on the famed galestro soil (Rocky, schistous clay) that’s consistently found in the vineyards of the best wines from the region.

THE WINE

Whenever I’m presented with a glass of Italian wine without knowing what it is, I’m immediately taken there, such is the unique character that these wines have. Dripping with a certain scent, they have a very real sense of place. Never supremely dark in the glass, due in part to the fact that Sangiovese is a thin-skinned grape, they appear with a ruby red, often with a slight orange or copper hue, even in their youth. This wine leads with dark Morello cherries, baked strawberries and red currents. A hallmark is dried flowers, potpourri and rose before you move into the non-fruit descriptors, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg are dotted around earth, baked terracotta, burnt orange zest, grilled meat and smoke. The list goes on and this is all before you’ve tasted it. The palate doesn’t disappoint, and I think the thing to remember about these very special wines, is that they are food wines, made to be on the table. First time Sangiovese drinkers and indeed Italian wine drinkers can struggle with the acidity and tannin these wines have, but paired with the right dish, it all makes sense. Medium to full bodied without being too heavy, this wine leans on sour red fruits and all the same savoury and spice characters that are present on the nose. I describe these wines as being angular, but in the best way possible. They have edges, derived from tannin (the grip and pinch you receive on your cheeks) and acid (the tingle you get down your tongue) – think about how that can help sweep away some fat or richness that’s left after eating slow cooked lamb shoulder. Take me there!