Revolution/Tradition in Brunello:
New-Release Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino

Posted by Ian McFadden

"A visit to this small cellar is a must for anyone who wants to understand the potential of Sangiovese in Montalcino, especially in regards to finesse and elegance." -Antonio Galloni

As we wrote last year, we don't think it's really news that this is a region that has been a bit confused as of late.

The problems have been numerous: Lackluster vineyards producing lackluster wines whose greatest (only?) attribute is the fact they say "Brunello" on the label; international influences that have seen Brunello blown up into a grotesque caricature of itself, scandals involving Syrah and any number of varietals that are most definitely not Sangiovese.

But things are changing and the new (old?) Brunello is once again a wine of power, yes, but power with detail, with high-toned aromatics,a truly brilliant register that only Sangiovese seems capable of hitting, all woven with sun and soil and structure.

These are Brunellos that speak to those of us who normally find ourselves obsessed with Burgundy or with the traditional reds of the Piedmont. Brunello can soar and anyone who doubts it is encouraged to take a gamble with this one... though it isn't much of a gamble.

Ms. Stella di Campalto burst onto the scene with her 2004 Brunello; a traditional wine (non-interventionist winemaking, gravity flow, low sulfur, native yeasts, biodynamic farming, etc) with a singular style, muscular and fierce and elegant. Dark, rich, sun-scorched fruit along with crackling and fresh red fruit, that minty-brambly-earthy-mineral thing that really only great Brunello ever achieves.

Descriptors fall far short.

Galloni described the 2004 as, "off the charts, especially considering it is the debut vintage for this wine." The past two bottlings have each been vintage-true masterpieces, with all the accolades and big scores one might expect.

Even with "Brunello-gate," even with the Brunello market being uncommonly tied to the vintage reputation (it's either a blockbuster boom or a damning bust for many in Brunello), Stella seems to transcend all this. For Stella, each successive bottling has been exceptional, each wine has had only increased demand.

Many Brunello producers speak of big reserves in the cellar; with only 5.5 hectares under vines (this is VERY small in Montalcino), this is one Brunello estate where the wines truly disappear. Go ahead and take a look for back-vintage Stella.

Today, we present a small parcel of the 2007 at special pre-arrival pricing that ends Monday.

The book on 2007 Brunello hasn't been written; frankly, the first chapter has yet to be penned. This is a vintage that will no doubt struggle in the shadow of 2006, yet by most accounts (James Suckling, Antonio Galloni) the wines lack little for concentration or punch. To some extent, 2007 seems to show a lot of what made 2006 such a blockbuster year, really stunning, beautiful fruit, the kind of sweet perfumes that inspire poetry. Perhaps the wines have a smaller frame, they are a bit more compact. They do not quite have the extreme depth of the 2006s.

This is the line that damns many a spectacular vintage: The 2007 Brunellos will drink younger. Yes, we apologize - you will not need to cellar this wine for a decade to enjoy, though the wine is not going to fade either. Lose the bottle for a decade in the cellar if you like - it'll be fine and more likely, profound.

It's ironic - the very fact the wines seem to show so lovely and sweet and luscious at this early age, the very fact that they seem a bit more feminine, all this will work against their reception in the market while simultaneously making them in many ways more our style of Brunello.

Still, for the best of the bunch (Sesti di Sopra, Cerbaiona, Soldera, Biondi-Santi), they'll do very well. Despite the setbacks, or because of the setbacks(?), Brunello has found itself and when Sangiovese sings... it's a tune worth taking note of.

All orders are subject to confirmation. To order, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden

Director of Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
2007 Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino