Set amid the hills of Montalcino near Siena in central Tuscany is the Palazzo Altesi, the 14th century-built home of the Altesino winery. The ancient coat of arms, carved in white Carrara marble, is still visible above the oak door. Though its home may date back to the 14th century, Altesino is considered to be a pioneer among Montalcino estates.
Winemaker Claudio Basla, who joined Altesino in 1975, has defined the unmistakable personality of the wines. His forward thinking has also forged many firsts in winemaking, placing the winery at the forefront of groundbreaking improvements and innovations. Under his direction, Altesino became the first to employ the groundbreaking technique of aging its IGT wines in small French oak barrels, thus limiting the time spent in oak and allowing the wine to display its natural characteristics. Altesino was also the first winery to introduce the concept of cru wines made with a special selection of grapes from a single vineyard. With its 1985 vintage, Altesino introduced the concept of Brunello futures (wine purchased before its release), and perhaps most notably, Altesino was the first winery to release the single-vineyard Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli, the renowned and much sought-after wine that is still considered to be among the region’s finest.
Reviews of recent vintages from The Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni:
Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2007 – 94 points
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli shows fabulous depth and richness from start to finish. Tobacco, cedar, licorice, new leather and spices add complexity to the fruit in this beautifully textured, expressive Montosoli. Waves of fruit build through to the finish as this intense, rich Brunello shows off its pedigree.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2006 – 94 points
The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (from Montosoli) is a rich, sumptuous wine bursting with sweet black cherries, incense, licorice and tobacco. The 2006 Riserva boasts fabulous depth to match a full-bodied personality that is highly appealing. With air, the Riserva is approachable today, but it has the depth to continue to evolve for many years. This is a fabulous showing from Altesino.
Brunello di Montalcino 2007 – 92 points
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is beautiful in this vintage. Layers of dark red cherries, flowers, licorice and tobacco caress the palate in this generous, expressive Brunello. The 2007 presents an intriguing combination of classic Sangiovese aromas and flavors with the generosity and radiance of the vintage.