Traveling throughout Tuscany and speaking with producers and sommeliers from Florence through Montalcino has been an epic journey for me. The diversity within this home of Sangiovese can be difficult to adequately articulate. All of my visits seem to circle around to an adventurous era when Brunello di Montalcino was officially born in 1966. Since then there have been many property sales of old school iconic estates, but one has stood the test of time and prevailed. The wines of Costanti today are revered as much for their deep historical significance as for their fortitude progressing into the 21st century with a philosophy firmly rooted in the 1960's. This is where I turn when the ultimate terroir-driven tradition of Brunello is in my cross hairs.

A tour through Costanti's vineyards and cellar was the ultimate time warp. Entering this ancient building there are artifacts scattered throughout, some dating as far back as 1 AD. It was Tito Costanti in 1870 who first presented a wine named "Brunello" at the wine exhibition of Siena. And Emilio Costanti produced the first commercial release of their Brunello di Montalcino in 1964, a time when the family was just one of 25 producers in the region - and one of the first to bottle 100% Sangiovese.

Since 1983 it's been Andrea Costanti who's presided over operations. While Brunello's reputation has skyrocketed in his time, the vineyard holdings (10 hectares) and production (around 4,000 bottles) has remained fixed. The profound admiration for tradition was more evident visiting Costanti than any other estate this trip. The large Slavonian botti have stood the test of time, housing countless of celebrated vintages such as the 1988 featured today.

Costanti's vineyards sit at 450 meters, extremely high in the greater region and key to the cool-fruited, subtle, and wildly nuanced Sangiovese born here. The soil is predominately galestro, a prized high calcium mix of decomposed shale, limestone, and clay. It easily breaks in your hand, a reminder of what's happening deep below the topsoil where these old vines can dig quite deep in search of water and nutrients - in turn also endowing superb concentration to these wines.

All of the vineyard holdings here are designated as Brunello di Montalcino, and a decision to bottle Rosso di Montalcino is strictly one of declassification. Fermentation takes place over 3 weeks with daily pumpovers. Large botti are used for aging and the wines are bottled unfiltered and un-fined. 

The bright red cherry, graphite, licorice, tobacco, and leather notes really jump out from Costanti much more so than at neighboring addresses. There's an unadulterated quality of Sangiovese here that's earned them so many loyal collectors over the years. Today, bottles from the 70's are still sought after for their freshness and haunting delicacy. I'm very happy to offer two wines from some of the most classically-leaning vintages from the past few decades: the 2008 and 1988. The perfect marriage between the old school approach of Costanti and the graceful nature of the vintage makes these ideal introductions to this legendary producer.

2008 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
$59 per bottle.

1988 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino
$127 per bottle.