Consistency should be admired. It should be applauded. Consistency isn’t easy. But Stella di Campalto makes it seem as though it is.
Stella’s farm, the Podere San Giuseppe, sits in the far South East corner of the Brunello zone near the Sant’Antimo abbey and takes it’s name from the sharecropper Giuseppe Martelli that established the farm in 1910. Stella acquired the farm in 1992 and set about making wine the way she wanted, involved in each step of the process.
Since 1996, her estate has been certified organic but Stella has taken a further step and since 2002 she has become completely biodynamic. Her six individual vineyards, five of which are dedicated to Brunello production, cover 5 1/2 hectares (13 acres) and sit at elevations ranging from 240-340 meters above sea level. This amount of diversity allows her to vinify each vineyard separately and then adjust the blending for her Brunello each year as vintage dictates.
Lying next to the vineyards is the gravity fed winery. The hand harvested grapes arrive at the winery in wooden trays, get sorted by hand and then placed into large wooden vats. Nothing is added to the grapes. Once fermentation is completed, the wine continues it’s downward journey where it rests in a combination of French barrique and tonneaux until it is ready to be bottled. Stella doesn’t release wines until she feels they are ready to be enjoyed, typically almost a full year behind the releases of many other estates. The results are worthwhile.
Today we’re re-visiting one of her finest wines. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to find a stash of her 2006 Brunello so I immediately grabbed them and have been picking them out of my cellar every few years. I first tasted today’s subject wine in 2012, then again in 2014 and now 2017. Each and every time it has been absolutely amazing. Each time, it’s consistent.
We decanted the wine for an hour before dinner to run off a fairly large amount of sediment and allow the wine to breathe. The aromatics of this wine are utterly amazing. Crushed fresh flowers, crushed wild berry, sage, lavender, and sweet pipe tobacco are harmonious and plentiful. When you delay tasting a wine because you can’t stop smelling it – something is right. Very right.
On the palate, the wine sings a symphony. Crushed wild berries, sweet fennel, oregano, turned earth and gravel simply cascade over the palate. There are hints of exotic baking spices. The tannins have mostly resolved, but the balance is so wonderful between fruit, acids and tannins that it seems this wine could cellar indefinitely. Simply gorgeous. 97 points. About $65 upon release.
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Salute! Have a great holiday weekend!