Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vino di Medatazione

I've written before about wines that transcend.  They go beyond mere beverage; they set the scene, they will be remembered long after they're gone. It's what makes wine unique, for no other beverage on earth can attain such preeminence in our minds and hearts. 
Long after the frenetic rush of the holiday pace was over, long after the meals were consumed, we opened a Brunello that became the focus; sitting in the parlor by the fire, with the glow of the hearth, the tree, and a selection of fine cheeses, we contemplated, we meditated...
The 1990 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a special wine. I graduated college in 1990. As I had the wine in my glass I sat and reflected on what the world looked like then.  I wondered what the vineyard workers who harvested these grapes were worried about then.  Did they know they were picking greatness?  I wondered who the winemaker was?  If he is still alive?  If he dreamed that his wine would live these 22 years..... 
In the glass, the first thing that strikes you is the color, the darkness of the wine after all this time. Not only the darkness, but the violet hues that are still present.  Yes, as you swirl it, there's some bricking to the core, some copper at the rim, but this could easily be a wine from a younger vintage.  The aromas are captivating and orchestrate themselves in a manner that can only be achieved by patient cellaring.  There are dried flowers, crushed cherries, dried herbs, autumnal aromas reminiscent of that leaf pile you jumped into as a kid, and the comforting smell of that leather baseball glove or broken in saddle. In the mouth, again the wine holds it's youth. The core of fruit is solid, assertive, with ripe cherries displaying a slight tartness. There are concentrated - in the sense of being reduced - flavors of roasted coffee, smoke, baking spices and earth notes. The tannins are ripe, and still present themselves as a silky force, in balance with refreshing, lively acidity.  Indeed this is stately. With parmigiano, aged cheddar, cambozola, and soppresatta, the wine met it's perfect reflective end.
Medatazione indeed.  95 points.  Probably less than $50 upon release........
Vino di Medatazione: 1990 Costanti Brunello Riserva


  1. Hello John! Great post, so evocative. In the spirit of pedantry, I can tell you that the winemakers in 1990 at Costanti were Vittorio Fiore and Andrea Costanti... 1990s are simply wonderful, I wish I had some in my cellar. Alla prossima.

  2. Ciao Laura,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I've had some great 1990s and still have a few more I think. Truly a special vintage and I got involved with wine just a little too late to secure a lot of them. The few I have, have been gorgeous.

    Buon anno amica. Grazie a lei, for stopping in.

  3. John, what a great cellar you must have! I've only gotten into wine much more seriously in the last six or seven years, so it's going to be a while before I have such aged bottles as this 1990. But, at least in the mean time I can live vicariously through your posts.