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I must first say that I consider Andrea Costanti a friend so my opinion of his wines can sometimes be a little biased. With that said, I had a chance to sit down with him and taste the 2004 Riserva, 2005 and 2006 Brunello di Montalcino at the winery on this trip to Italy.

2004 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

There was considerable bottle variation in the 2004 normale. Last year, the bottle tasted at the winery was very good. Another bottle opened at Il Giglio at the Montalcino off-line was marginal at best. Another bottle tasted in the US was in between the two. The bottle of the '04 Riserva opened with Andrea was excellent (not quite up to the '01 Riserva, but excellent in its own right). The color is not as intense as the '01 but more ruby. The nose is very characteristic of Costanti wines, with bright fruit and a distinctive spicy note. On the palate, the wine is elegant with enough tannins to show it is made for aging. The fruit is definitely in the forefront with nice acidity. The finish is very long. The major difference that I could distinguish between the '01 Riserva and the '04 is the mid palate. There is just a small component that is missing with the '04. The wine is selling for less than 50 euros in town and is a good value at that price. 93 points.

2005 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino

The 2005 is almost a carbon copy of the 1998. Unlike 2000 and 2003, this wine does not show the heat of the vintage. I did not taste the jamminess of those vintages. The fruit is fresh and the wine lively, with good acidity. I found it to be drinking very well right now and would be a good vintage to buy if you want to drink it now and for the next 3-5 years. The price is 30 euros, which is less than some rossi in town. I don't know what it is selling for in the US and Canada, but if you can get it for less than $40 I would say buy and enjoy now while you are waiting on other vintages to mature.

2006 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino

I had tasted this wine from barrel in the past and was anticipating excellence. I was not disappointed. This has the potential to be a classic Costanti (similar to 1990 and 2001). The color is classic sangiovese, bordering on dark ruby to garnet. The elegance is definitely there but the wine has great power to boot. The nose is somewhat muted at the moment but that is to be expected. The wine was bottled in September of last year. After a little air, the wine started to show some glimpses of more floral notes and cinnamon. I felt very fortunate since I was only the second person other than Andrea that had tasted this wine. He had opened a bottle for his Dutch importer last week. The wine showed black plums, cherry, and spicy flavors on the palate. The elegance was there with the fruit and acidity and the power from the very ripe and sweet tannins. I enjoyed the wine very much and would say that the potential is there for a 94-95 point wine. If the wide bottle variation is absent from this vintage and you typically enjoy Costanti wines, then I would say buy. Andrea is very sensitive to the price pressures being experienced across the globe and especially in the US and Canada. You could be surprised with the attractive pricing of this wine when released. It will all depend on how greedy the importers and distributors will be.
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Thanks for this excellent update on Costanti!

So perhaps I should have bought some '05
I really loved the '98. But I was a bit put off by last years experience with the '04.And din't have the opportunity to taste the '05.
Anyway, I still have some '03, and they are very enjoyable right now.

Can't wait to taste the '06. If the Rosso are a good predictor as to how the Brunello will be, than I expect a great BdM from Costanti!
Shavez - No, we did not discuss the bottle variation in the '04 normale. It is quite possible that it was an isolated incident, although I know others in the US that said they had a similar experience. In my opinion, the '77 Riserva, the '88, the '90 normale and riserva, the '95, the '97 riserva and the '01 riserva are the best wines from Costanti. I believe the 2006 will be right up there with this group.

An interesting side note, the first vintage that Andrea was solely responsible for was the 1983 vintage. The first vintage he bottled was the '77 Riserva. He says that vintage still holds a special place in his heart. If you ever get a chance to taste this wine you will truly understand the true beauty of this estate. Just ask GlennK, Otisabdul, Ampuis, and BobbyC. I opened a bottle in London a couple of years ago that was absolutely stunning.
Another check on the 2006 Costanti normale.

When I visited Andrea in September, he gave me several bottles of the 2006 normale (just stuck a label and handwrote 2006, no capsule, with a sticker on the back that said "Sample, not for sale. Tasting purposes only"). I decided to open a bottle last night with Brasato al Brunello with a few friends.

The last 5 months in the bottle have been very kind to this wine. I opened the wine and let it Slow-O for approx. 4 hours prior to drinking. The color is more ruby and the nose is much more complex with the same floral notes that are accentuated by more dark fruit and leather. Intoxicating best describes the nose at this moment. The same dark fruits carry over to the palate, with a perfect balance of acidity and tannins (not harsh). This is an excellent Brunello that has the stuffing to age gracefully for the next 20 years. All that tasted it were raving about the wine and most have very discriminating palates. I have upped my rating to 95-96 and would definitely call this one a buy. I can't wait to taste more 2006 BdM. It does not look like the hype is overblown.
quote:
Originally posted by Jochems:
Thanks for this update-teaser Big Grin

I'm currently trying to figure out if/when I can make a Montalcino trip this year. Costanti will definetly be on the list of wineries to visit!


If you need to be in London next week you can join BobbyC, Birdungy, myself and a few others at St. John for an '82 Biondi Santi, '85 Lisini, '90 Altesino Montosoli (you remember that one from Il Giglio), '89 Pio Cesare Barolo, and a few supertuscans. Should be a fine night indeed (Feb. 2).
quote:
Originally posted by Longboarder:

2005 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino

The 2005 is almost a carbon copy of the 1998. Unlike 2000 and 2003, this wine does not show the heat of the vintage. I did not taste the jamminess of those vintages. The fruit is fresh and the wine lively, with good acidity. I found it to be drinking very well right now and would be a good vintage to buy if you want to drink it now and for the next 3-5 years. The price is 30 euros, which is less than some rossi in town. I don't know what it is selling for in the US and Canada, but if you can get it for less than $40 I would say buy and enjoy now while you are waiting on other vintages to mature.


$65 through the LCBO. Not sure if I'm going to bite.
Update on the 2004 Riserva - The wine has continued to improve and now rivals the 2001 Riserva IMO. The fruit core is intense without being close to a fruit bomb. Nice balanced acidity and velvety tannins are still there but are additive to the whole wine. I was originally worried since the normale showed great bottle variation. I am now wondering if it was just in a transition phase. I asked Andrea and Annalisa there impressions and they both said that the '04 Ris. has been a very pleasant surprise in that it has come around nicely over the past year or so. It still has a long life ahead of it and I am raising my score to 95 vs. the 93 I originally gave it.

Update on the 2006 Riserva - I loved this wine the first time I tasted it from botti and then again with Andrea from the bottle. After tasting it again yesterday I still love it. This is a great wine that continues to improve. It has not shut down like some other classic vintages and is only improving. This wine has everything that you could want from BdM. Great fruit core with perfect acidity and tannic structure. Andrea has never had a heavy hand with his wines and the finese of the higher vineyard elevations always show through. In 2006 he may have done his best work (mother nature also contributed greatly). A classic wine.
I visited Costanti's vinery one month ago or so. No former knowledge of the wines, besides info from the net.
The Riserva 2006 was the most elegant and refined wine among the ones presented for the tasting. Open and balanced, with everything in check, very classy, kind of burgundian.

Among the other wines, we got to taste also the 2004 Riserva and the 2007 Riserva; both showed very, very well, but not really up to the level of 2006.

Splitting hairs, I found the 2004, while excellent, to have a shadow of ripeness more than what I would have preferred. I wouldn't have even noticed if not for having the 2006 glass there for comparison.

As for the 2007, being so young, it had still some edges in comparisons with former wines; also excellent, but kind of shadowed by the fact that the 2006 was so well balanced.

My ranking: 2006 1st, then 2004, then 2007.

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