Why use barrique?

A New Brunello for Chambers Street Wines

Being on many wine lists, my inbox always seems full of emails with superlatives describing the most recent vintage or recently discovered winemaker that my cellar can’t survive without. I’m sure that many are quite good and our friends at other stores and journalists are working hard combing the world for the best wines, but all of the offers start to sound the same – almost a vinous Mad Libs.

The story always seems to be about a new rising star that worked with Bruno Giacosa, Clos Rougeard, or Overnoy, but has now struck out on his/her own and may be surpassing the master. Phrases like “greatest of all time,” “A new elite,” or “Kingmaker” should be paired with adjectives like “epic” or “legendary” (preferably in bold print) to explain the greatness of today’s offer. This is all great, but what about people making high quality organic wines that will never be in the center of the spotlight, but are always a fantastic value and provide years of drinkability? This has always been our concentration at Chambers Street Wines.

Organic Sangiovese at over 400 meters.

A new member of this collective of traditional producers is Fornacina. The Biliorsi family makes organic Montalcino wines with no modern embellishments – that is, aging in large, traditional botti, 20 to 30 day macerations, and only two products used in the vineyard: copper and sulfur. The vines hail from two plots, one at high elevation by the winery and one situated in Montalcino’s southern district of Castelnuovo dell’ Abate which adds concentration and structure to the wines. A strict limiting of yields to 40 hectoliters per hectare (the law allows up to 70) also improves the wines’ complexity and richness. These wines shine in a region that is far too often over-cropped or slathered in small barrels for artificial richness, or (in a worst case scenario) both.

For a great new producer making honest, soulful wines with a view to quality and tradition look no further. John Rankin

Fornacina 2010 Brunello di Montalcino

This is the second vintage of Fornacina’s classic Brunello that we’ve sold at the store, and we had to fight to get what we could. The wine press has decided that 2010 may be one of the most successful vintages of the last decade, so there has been a worldwide scramble to secure wines. After tasting a lineup of wines from the vintage, I feel that they are quite good, but will be better with a bit of cellar age. The traditional, long-lived style at Fornacina makes for a wine with a healthy amount of tannin and invigorating acid, perhaps requiring a Florentine steak today, but with plenty of stuffing to age for quite a long time. Fornacina’s wines have Montalcino’s hallmark flavors: sour cherry, dusty earth, and mature balsamic. John Rankin

  • red
  • 15 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Fornacina 2010 Brunello di Montalcino 1.5 L

This year we were able to secure a couple of cases of Brunello magnums – great for a crowd! John Rankin

  • red
  • 13 in stock
  • $109.99

  • Organic

Fornacina 2013 Rosso di Montalcino

Although from the same vines as the Brunello, the Rosso is selected from fermenting casks that don’t seem to hold up to the rigorous amount of skin contact that the Brunello sees. The result is a grape with a more delicate aromatic profile and a generous amount of bright, cherry fruit. In some ways the aromatics seem a bit more giving than the superb, but powerfully structured 2010 Brunello. Of course, having some bottles of Rosso around the house can help keep your corkscrew away from your Brunello stash. John Rankin


  • red
  • 11 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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