Fuligni

Italy, Tuscany
http://www.fuligni.it/eng

Founded in 1923 by Giovanni Fuligni round a Medici villa and a country convent of the Renaissance era, the Fuligni estate today is co-owned by Robert Guerrini Fuligni and his delightful aunt Maria Flora Fuligni. Together with his aunt, Roberto makes the wines with oenologist Paola Vagaggini, while agronomist Federico Ricci looks after the vineyards. The estate covers 100 hectares, of which 25 are under vine, almost all planted with Sangiovese, with a small amount of Merlot for the IGT blend. 4 plots, Semiti, San Giovanni, Ginestreto and Cotimeli produce Sangiovese for the Brunelli and Rosso and each vineyard is kept separate during fermentation.What is important is the combined height of the vineyards (350-440m), the density of planting, age of the vines (12-30 plus) and the 'galestro' soils on which they are planted. Fuligni's wines have reached international recognition for their purity of expression, strong backbone of acidity and polished tannins. These are simply the finest wines of Brunello, epitomising all that is great from the region. The 'Rosso' now comes from a defined part of the vineyard, on clay and tufa rather than the marl of the Brunello. It is made from the outset as a Rosso, with different clones and the intention to make a wine which will be approachable at a much younger age.

Other reviews and comments
       Further up the hill Montalcino sits on is the bulk of the 12ha of Brunello vineyards belonging to the Fuligni family. This is one of Montalcino's oldest, most traditional estates and a source of benchmark wines. Maria Flora Fuligni, now aged in her 80s, enjoyed running around the estate with her father – he bought the estate in 1923 – so much that she curtailed a promising academic career to be ready to take over when he died, encouraged to do so by her four brothers and one sister. ‘We used oxen to work the land,’ she says. ‘They are very good on sloping ground. Then after World War II ended we bought a very small Fiat tractor. It was a real rarity then. It was even rarer to find someone who could drive it…’ On this part of the Montalcino hill the Brunello vines get the full morning sun but are shaded by the town by late evening when the heat of the sun is at its most baking hot. The result is wines with bright, light crimson colours, real inner tension and expressive red cherry aromas and flavours. One key aspect during winemaking occurs in late autumn, after the grapes have fermented into red wine and the young wine has been separated from the skins. Fuligni then lets the wine complete its secondary, acid-softening fermentation naturally. ‘Most winemakers warm the tanks to get this done after winter sets it,’ says Fuligni, ‘but we let this happen naturally six months later, when the wines warm up with sunnier weather in spring.’ The advantage of letting nature take its course is that the tannins gain greater roundness, and are more textured. What Fuligni is too modest to say is that this laissez-faire technique only works if the grapes are picked ripe, clean and healthy. --Monty Waldin
(Sep 2014)

       What a joy it is to taste these new releases from Fuligni. The Brunellos in particular are both exceptional for their respective vintages. The wines capture a middle ground between modern and traditional styles that is immensely appealing.

       I have always admired the work underway at Fuligni. Maria Fuligni and nephew Roberto Guerrini Fuligni deliver consistent results throughout the good years (2001, 2004, 2006 and 2007) as well as the more challenging ones (2003, 2005 and 2008). The secret to this success, in my view, is twofold. First and foremost is the family’s intimate knowledge of their vineyards. There are four sites (Vigna S. Giovanni, Vigna del Ginestreto, Vigna della Bandita and Vigna del Piano) that comprehensively offer a plethora of soil types, exposures, vine ages and altitudes. Each parcel is vinified separately thus awarding enormous winemaking freedom and flexibility. Of course there is also a built-in safety valve in how the grapes are processed. Depending on quality, fruit is destined to Rosso, base Brunello and Riserva accordingly. For example, no Riserva was made in 2008 and the better fruit ended up in the base Brunello. The second secret to Fuligni’s success is courage. The family has shown brass knuckles required to make those difficult decisions.