Getty Images, Conti Costanti
Few names can make Brunello lovers weak in the knees like Conti Costanti. Founded in the 19th century, it’s not only one of Montalcino’s most historic estates, but also, every year, it consistently turns out some of the most elegant, balanced and dazzling wines in the denomination.
In my tastings of nearly 100 recently released 2016 Riservas, Costanti’s commanded attention. Considered a great vintage in Montalcino due to ideal weather patterns, many of the Riservas are in fact brawny, densely concentrated and have evident alcohol—traits I also noticed in some of the 2016 Annata bottlings reviewed between late 2020 and early 2021. Given that the vintage was not marked by extreme heat or drought, the warm, burly nature of many of the 2016s came as a surprise and underscores a worrying trend in the denomination.