TNs: Fontalloro, Ceparello, Solaria Brunello

Opened these wines with dinner-- the Fontalloro because I’ve been wanting to check in on some late 90’s Rancia/Fontalloro lately, and the Ceparello and Solaria because I’ve never had either and wanted to get a feeling for them, so I figured the Fontalloro would be a good baseline for comparison.

For both of us the Fontalloro was the favorite with the Solaria not too far behind, and the Ceparello a distant third. All three wines have a lot of room to grow and develop, though I don’t think the Ceparello will ever really be in my wheelhouse. The amount remaining in each bottle (always telling!) backs up these conclusions. I was scared the Solaria (a Garagist wine) would be a big show of oak and extraction but on the contrary it was pretty old school with honest concentration and a lot of power on the nose, really good stuff, just not worth twice what the Fontalloro costs and definitely not worth more than our preferred Brunelli like Ciacci, Costanti, Pertimali, etc.

  • 1999 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (7/6/2009)
    Pure, fresh lifted fruit, rainwater/dusty component, clean leathery scents, powdery perfume and minerals. On the palate great grip and strong acidity – sour cranberries, fresh strawberries, finish clamps down, more with acid than tannin, but some fresh fruit shows through. Very beguiling on the nose for now, and will improve for a good while. Needs time or food or both! Really nice.
  • 2001 Solaria Brunello di Montalcino 123 - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (7/6/2009)
    Very effusive on the nose with ripe red fruit, dust, roasted herbs, flowers, leather, dried cranberries, seemingly a weel touch of oak influence and a hint of VA. Medium bodied with a strong acidic spine and a fair shake of tannin remaining on the palate. The finish is a bit clamped down at the moment. Not a tremendous value but a very nice Brunello and should be great in 5+ years. Clearly has the stuffing, structure and balance.
  • 1999 Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (7/6/2009)
    Even after 4 hrs, not incredibly giving, still a bit wound up. This features plums / dark fruit, dust, vanilla, oak, a hint of mint / herbs and some meat. Sweet on the palate with a bit of a bitter twinge, and a moderate finish that is clamped down by tannins. I would venture that this will improve, but it is not my favorite style. I do find the sweetness and the bitterness on the palate both a bit disconcerting.

Posted from CellarTracker

Hi Josh

Fontalloro and Ceparello are 2 of my favorite Supertuscans, so it was good to see your notes. Your description of the Fontalloro is such a classic picture of a very good Italian red. There are people who just don’t understand the acidity that is an essential element in these wines.

I keep trying to subtract the “R” from Solaria, though, I suppose I never heard of this Brunello.

How much did you pay for Solaria, I think when we were selling 2001 it was $24 wholesale, so $33-35 retail, at full boat markup.

Kris, is that the 123 for that price? I see $40 range for the normal, but I paid $60 I think for the 123 and it looks like it is still in that range…

Josh - I had the '99 Rancia within the last week and it was drinking wonderfully well. As you noted with the Fontalloro, plenty of acid but with fruit (to my mind, cherries) to go along with it. I picked this wine up ( a case) several years ago at a great price and my only regret is that I did not buy more…