I am picky when it comes to Brunello. Too many are about overwhelming power and intensity, as if sheer size and scale should force the wine drinker into submission and admit, however, reluctantly, that, yes, indeed, Brunello is great.
However, Sangiovese is not a grape that is all about power.The best of them have a threadline of finesse, elegance and subtlety that the greatest wines in the world all share. Fuligni and Costanti are two producers that underscore this style.
And in a vintage like 2013, which is all about elegance and finesse, these two houses have produced stunning Brunelli. Ian d’Agata sums up the vintage best:
“Clearly, the 2013 Brunellos will leave those weaned on big, rich, tannic, high-pH wines scratching their heads, but those who prefer their Sangiovese restrained and refined will be grinning from ear to ear. … The best 2013 Brunellos are sleek, refined wines with high acidity, well-integrated tannins and a cool-climate character. As the majority of these wines clock in between 13% and 14% alcohol, very few of them are marred by cooked fruit character or obvious alcoholic warmth ... Although the best 2013 Brunellos will undoubtedly age well, the majority of them offer surprising early appeal, owing to their balance, ripe fruit and aromatic expressiveness, so you will not necessarily have to defer gratification if you purchase these wines” - Ian d’Agata on the 2013 Brunellos
Standard bearers for traditionalism, Costanti and Fuligni produce two of the Brunello zone’s most traditional examples of the category. Simply put, you can’t do much better
2013 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
“Very deep red. Flinty, floral red cherry and underbrush on the enticing, very pure, precise nose. Then silky and suave, with ripe red cherry, underbrush and savory spices lingering nicely on the long creamy finish. Another classic, outstanding Brunello from Costanti, who has made a few in his time.” 96 pts. - Ian d’Agata, Vinous.
2013 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino
“Luminous red. High-pitched aromas of sour red cherry, raspberry, rose, stainless steel, white pepper and minerals. Dense and silky in texture but displays great juiciness, clarity and floral lift; the lively but harmonious acidity really lifts and frames the bright red and mineral flavors. Totally saturates the palate and yet comes off as virtually weightless. This hauntingly beautiful wine showcases everything Brunello can be when made from an ultra-competent producer farming Sangiovese vines that grow in what is a real grand cru section of the much too large Brunello di Montalcino denomination.” 97 pts. - Ian d’Agata, Vinous