~ The Fortezza in Montalcino Centro ~

Spuntali.  One word, that’s simple enough.   But that’s all it takes to get the juices of passion flowing in a lover of Brunello.   Indeed, along with Montolsoli they are probably the most recognizable Cru vineyards in the Brunello appellation.   The reputation is well deserved.

Acquired in 1983 by Val di Suga,  the Spuntali Vineyard sits on the western slopes of Montalcino at 300 feet elevation.  A moderate size, the vineyard is 15 hectares and has optimal southwest exposure.  In walking the vineyard recently, I was struck by the consistency of the soil.  At first blush, it’s what you’d imagine when you conjure an image of normal brown dirt.  However, when I bent over to grab some, the surface layer is powdery and seems to crumble to the touch.  Below, it’s denser, poorer.   It’s a unique texture that I’ve not encountered and results from a concentration of clay and limestone.

~ The Val di Suga winery sits just north of Montalcino Centro. Here in the foreground is the lake that gives its name to “Vigna del Lago” another of Val di Suga’s Cru Brunello vineyards ~

Only produced in the best vintages,  Spuntali is vinified in open topped cement vats for as long as 20-30 days.   The wine is then transferred to 300 liter French oak barrique where it rests for 24 months before being bottled and aged a minimum 0f 24 months prior to release.    In the glass, the wine is a classic, deep ruby color which fades to fine copper rim at the ring of the bowl.

The aromas from the wine are spellbinding.  Loads of candied cherry, ripe fig, dark chocolate and leather notes are discernible in this warm enveloping masterpiece.  On the palate, the wine is fresh and juicy and explodes with flavors of ripened cherry, roasted nuts, fennel, and black plums. Rich, elegant and very long on the palate; the structure is there from the acidity but despite the tannins beginning to resolve nicely, there was not much sediment observed.  Truly a remarkable Brunello.  98 points.  Price varies widely.

~ Tasted first with assorted antipasti, we then finished the bottle with Bucatini con Crema di Tartufo Nero. Miraculous! ~

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