Ornella Tondini and Lionel Cousin moved to Montalcino from Paris in the 1990's. Ornella was a journalist and Lionel was a filmmaker and director of photography. They already had a powerful bond with Montalcino having spent most of their summer vacations there. They bought land and a home on a stony hill above the Ombrone River with good drainage, high mineral content and a wonderful view. In 1997 they planted 4.4 hectares of vineyard around the hill, facing south, certified organic since the beginning; 2.4 hectares of Sangiovese for Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, 0.6 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and 0.4 hectares of Merlot. Carlo Ferrini, agronomist, enologist and famed winemaker, Gambero Rosso winemaker of the year in 2000 and Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of the year in 2007, helped them to select the land, the clones, the rootstocks, the growth system and the height of the plants. Francois Bouchet, an early adopter and passionate adherent of biodynamics initiated Cupano to the simple and efficient biodynamics of the old gentleman farmer he was. In 2013 Cupano planted 3 more hectares; 2 hectares of Sangiovese plus Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Sadly, Lionel passed away in 2021 but has left the estate in good hands.
Terroir: The estate is 30 km from the Mediterranean Sea, taking advantage of temperate climate and sea breezes, dominating the valley and the Ombrone River flowing under the hill. The terroir consists of sandy clay with a large substructure of stones, quite unique in Montalcino. The bed of the Ombrone used to run through the land but the tectonic shift caused by the nearby Mount Amiata, an ancient volcano, caused the hill to rise up above the river leaving all the sediments behind.
Winemaking: Cupano' first vintage was 2000. Lionel, from the beginning, intended to produce age worthy wines, seeking for evolution, elegance and complexity. Lionel was educated in wine in Burgundy where he befriended the likes of famed terroirist, Jacky Rigaux, and famous producer, Henri Jayer, whose winemaking philosophy was taken as a reference; limited hectares, meticulous care of the vines, indigenous yeasts, aging on fine lees in burgundy barrels, no filtration and no clarification.
Harvesting is manual. The grapes are kept in a cool cellar for a few hours to decrease the temperature. Natural fermentation takes place in steel tanks, with frequent pumpovers. The Rosso and the Ombrone are aged on fine lees in burgundy barrels for 18-20 months. The barrels are rolled to gently stir the lees. The wines are bottled without filtration 2 years after the harvest. The Rosso is 100% Sangiovese Grosso and the Ombrone is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, all of which are vinified separately. The blend is changed every year according to the quality of the grapes.
Color: Medium garnet, with earth tones at the rim, showing the evolution.
Nose: The nose is well perfumed and persistent with hints of dried flowers and a whiff of iodine like a walk on the beach at dusk.
Palate: The characteristics on the nose carry forward into the wine. The wine is extremely elegant and complex, thanks to the mastery of Lionel and the inherent character of well-handled Sangiovese grapes. The wood is not discernable other than as a contributor to the overall mouthfeel and amplitude of the wine. The finish is long and harmonious as befits a wine at the peak of its evolution.
Alcohol is 14%.
Serving Temperature: 60° F - 62° F
Cupano Rosso di Montalcino DOC Italy 2003 750 mL
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