Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Collection 3-Pack
 
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Montalcino 95-96-Point Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Collection

In exceptional years, the top estates of Montalcino turn out sumptuous Riservas that send collectors reaching for their checkbooks. In the first decade of the new millennium, the appellation's elite ripped the cover off the ball in three vintages. Every bottle of 2004, 2006 and 2007 was snatched up on release by importers from NYC to London.

But a few proprietors, conscious of the age-worthiness of their Brunello Riservas in superb vintages, held back a few cases for later release — none more astonishing than Fuligni.

While some of the estates of Montalcino are sprawling properties, Maria Flora Fuligni's vineyards occupy just 10 hectares. Set on the hillsides of Cottimelli at altitudes ranging from 380 to 450 meters above sea level, the vines enjoy perfect eastern exposure. The soils are largely marl, poor and rocky, challenging the family's deep-rooted Sangiovese vines to an annual game of Survival of the Fittest. In 2004, 2006 and 2007, the crew took to the vines early and often, crop-thinning aggressively. When all was said and done, just 50 to 55 kilos of grapes would be harvested annually, one of the smallest yields of the appellation.

In the superb 2004 vintage, punctuated by a warm, dry September, Fuligni dropped nearly 50 percent of their crop, putting out Robert Parker's #2-rated Riserva of the year. The Wine Advocate described the 2004 Brunello Riserva as having "gorgeous clarity, precision and richness in a generous, enveloping style," before lobbing on 96 points. James Suckling, the former Wine Spectator European bureau chief, followed suit calling the 2004, "Full-bodied, refined and polished" before adding a matching 96 point score.

The 2006 growing season made for a far more varied script. June and July were torrid before ushering in a damp, mild month of August. When the heat lamp switched on in mid-September, not to be turned off before the early October harvest, Fuligni harvested an extraordinary crop of small-berry Sangiovese. Again, The Wine Advocate came on like gangbusters, calling the 2006 Riserva one of the stars of the vintage, describing a Brunello that "shows incredible purity and finesse, most notably in its silky, polished tannins." James Suckling upped the ante with a stunning 96 points.

In 2007, budbreak began very early in spring, causing many to predict an early harvest. But when September and October turned unusually mild and dry, Fuligni — like most of the other superstars in Montalcino — waited out the Indian summer, harvesting some of the richest, most concentrated Sangiovese in recent history. Parker's Wine Advocate called it "the best of the 2007 Riservas" before suggesting that the 2007 Riserva will hit full stride sometime in 2027! 94+ points. Suckling agreed, granting the 2007 vintage 95 points.

First, a thank you to Maria Flora for prying open her cellar doors. 6 cases of each vintage — not a drop of which has moved from the family's cellars since bottling — have been earmarked for WineAccess. 72 three-packs have been assembled (one bottle of each vintage).

Tasting Notes

2004 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
"The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva reveals gorgeous clarity, precision and richness in a generous, enveloping style. The fruit remains incredibly pure and almost primary at this stage, suggesting the wine has many years of fine drinking ahead of it. Deceptively medium in body, Fuligni's Riserva has plenty of tannic clout to back up the sexy, opulent fruit. A layered, impeccable finish rounds out this utterly brilliant Riserva. Readers will not want to miss this fabulous Brunello from Fuligni. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024."
96 points -- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"The flowers and berry character shows through beautifully here. Full-bodied, with rich tannins and a bright acidity. Refined and polished. Drink or hold."
96 points -- James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

2006 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
"Very perfumed aromas of ripe fruit such as strawberries and blackberries. Turns to flowers and incense. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a bright, citrus aftertaste and ultra-clean fruit. The purity and focus of the wine is spellbinding. Better in 2015."
96 points -- James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

2007 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
"Dried fruits with hints of coffee bean and cedar. Full body with silky tannins and a tangy, savoury, complex, succulent finish. Almost salty character, with ripe fruits. Drink or hold."
95 points -- James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

"Fuligni's 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva captures the richness of the vintage while maintaining plenty of classicism in its structure. Tar, smoke, tobacco, savory herbs and incense emerge from the exotic, highly expressive bouquet. Layers of red fruit build effortlessly through to a deeply resonant finish. The 2007 has wonderful richness, but at the same time, it is clearly holding back some of its significant potential. Overall, this is one of the best of the 2007 Riservas, even if it falls a bit short of being truly viscerally thrilling. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2027."
94+ points -- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 

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