2013 Felsina Fontalloro

Felsina’s Fontalloro is a prestigious and semi-historical Sangiovese that is typically long lived and elegant and this 2012 is no exception. As a 100% Sangiovese from a special selection of high altitude vine in the Chianti Valley, Fontalloro could by all rights be labeled a Chianti. But Felsina bottles a single-vineyard Chianti Classico Riserva called ‘Rancia’ that is a similar price and highly regarded as well. Instead Fontalloro maintains its ‘Super-Tuscan’ roots, from a time when a Chianti could not be 100% Sangiovese, and so continues to use the IGT designation and the fantasy name of Fontalloro.

Very difficult to evaluate but loads of raw material lurking under the surface. 375ml, double decanted and left for a few hours, but still little change. Faint aromas of sweet cherry, vanilla, grilled herbs, and cigar smoke, distinct but faint. Palate is well textured with broad, sneaky tannin and distinctively sour finish. It gives the impression of a very well made wine but not giving anything up at the moment. Quite polished, like a Bordeaux not a Sangiovese, but that is the style of the Fontalloro.

Certainly enjoyable now with some fatty, grilled, herb-encrusted meat (or bitter chocolate), but worth laying down for ten years. In contrast to the Rancia, the Fontalloro reads as more polished, with a sweeter nose. The Rancia also sees time in new French oak barrels, but manages a more rustic and wild personality.

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A New Classic Brunello – Albatreti

About a year ago, several wine retailers/preachers/bloggers (K&L, Garagiste) all simultaneously started raving about a new producer in Montalcino, making Brunello and Rosso on a tiny plot just South-west of the town, at one of the higher elevations in the appellation. The vintner Gaetano Salvioni, was a hobbyist until the 2009 vintage, and with his 2010 vintage began to make waves. The prices were rock bottom, the style classic and pure, the only problem was availability as Mr Salvioni only makes about 5,000 or 6,000 bottles.

I managed to get my hands a few of his 2009 and 2010 Brunello, and the 2009 Rosso. As 2010 resulted in famously structured and long-lived Brunelli, I decided to open up his 2009s. My notes are below, but the take home is should you see these bottles, grab them with both hands. The prices are astounding for Brunello, and the quality is sky-high in a very unpretentious, character filled manner. You will find all the hallmarks of Brunello in these wines, wrapped in a pure classic style that does not appear to making a statement or trying too hard.

 

Albatreti 2009 Rosso di Montalcino

2009 Albatreti Rosso di Montalcino

This one needed a ton of air to unwind. Surprising concentration given its Rosso designation and the color. Some browning around the edges, aroma is muddy at first, but menthol and garden herbs emerge along with an overall sauvage quality. Exceptional Tuscan personality, and a sense of terroir that immediately brings vibrant images of the landscape to your mind. Underbrush and red earth, with warm, soft red fruits.
Palate also took a few hours but found balance eventually. A mid-weight, textured, red with fine tannin that cling to your tongue. Fruit is typical, and quite subdued. My only question about the wine going for longer is the rather buried or faded fruit. Given the mix of developed tertiary aromas and still vibrant structure, this wine is at its peak. The structure and balance are quite fine for a Rosso designation.

 

2009 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino

2009 Albatreti Brunello diĀ  Montalcino

Garnet color, medium concentration. Nose is a shifting aroma of burnt orange peel, bright red cherry, and a nice herbal component (mint/laurel). Palate is high toned, good acid and very fine tannin. There is nothing over ripe or lush, it has good tension.
This definitely has a long-ish life ahead of it, at least another 5 years. The wine has definitely found a nice balance and is drinking well but unlike the Rosso, has not revealed any signs of tertiary development yet. Overall this is a rustic style, not the big glamorous over-oaked Brunellos chasing parker-points, beloved by the inspirations for the casts of Wall Street or American Psycho. Good wine for food and company.