Stella di Campalto

Italy / tuscany

Producer Info

Owned & run by Stella Viola di Campalto, of Roman & Piedmontese origin, the now 5ha hectare San Giuseppe wine estate – of which 0.5ha qualifies as Rosso – is located close to the south-eastern village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate in an idyllic, light-filled amphiteatro dominated by a massive sky & a breathtaking view that stretches almost as far as the Tyrrhenian sea!
Stella created San Giuseppe on her own in 1992. She turned organic in 1996, planted it in 1997 (& 2003) & then became biodynamic (!) in 2002. The unfertilised, unaided but carefully tended vines thrive on a rich diversity of soils: mostly rocky, quartz, alberese, volcanic, iron, alluvial, limoso (silt)…
The parcels of vines are harvested separately in order to capture the maximum fruit quality and soil expression, handled by gravity & vinified in 100% oak, in large wooden troncoconici/vats, followed by affinamento in botte grande of approx. 17.5hL.
All her fruit qualifies as Brunello di Montalcino, yet in 2003 she chose to declassify everything to Rosso di Montalcino her inaugural Brunello vintage was 2004. The Rosso di Montalcino is treated like a Brunello, while the Brunello is now a Riserva, released a year later. Production is naturally low – she prefers not to green harvest – & is dictated by the whim of the vintage & what nature has to offer.
In 2011 she released two new wines from two diverse soils, & named them after her very different daughters: ‘Beatrice’ from the sandy soft soils of vigna Bassa & ‘Benedetta’ from the rockier, alberese soils of vigna Leccio.
In her wines Stella seeks “la semplicita e la complessita insieme” (both simplicity & complexity).



Rosso di Montalcino

‘Benedetta’ Brunello di Montalcino

‘Beatrice’ Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

IGT Rosso Toscana

Tasting Notes

2014 Rosso di Montalcino – tasted Jan’18, from bottle (since marzo ’16), Stella refers to this gem as “leggiadro“, which translates as “graciously light & fine, noble, harmonious”, or as I would put it: “gorgeous” (even in a difficult year!). Its pretty rose petal colour & brilliant hue gets the pulse racing alone. Pure rosewater on the nose, mandarin spremuta, soooo ethereal. It’s so beautiful & essential, aranciato…sono innamorato! (release 2019)

…retasted Nov’18: in a word ‘weightless’! Acqua di rosa, full of light, esile, gorgeous.

2013 Rosso di Montalcino – fermented with a view to becoming a grown-up Brunello, hence 50 days ferment in tini di legno before being declassified as Rosso. Very pretty. Pulsating. Pure rose. Wow! Bottled June 2015. Production c. 10k bts. Not available to collect before Nov ’17

2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – tasted June’17, from botte, to be bottled in 2022, pale red rose/blush, fragile red berried intensity, sunny, a core of zip, of electricity, cordial/sciropo concentration, yet delicate, I recall 2005 (when Stella chose not to make Brunello from her barely born vines), lovely fabric…simple but complex.

2014 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – tasted from botte, June ’17, Stella’s keen to point out it’s 100% vintage 2014! She evidently enjoyed the challenge that 2014 presented, & with the resulting wine, & rightly so: pale rose, balsam oil, menthol, closed, shy, spicy licorizia, skeletal, bony, ethereal, fascinating, elusive…

2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – tight, scintillating red fruit, spezia, hay, spine-tingling, focused, sinew, such pace, crunchy, lift! A bright future.

2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – rich, dark brambly, volume, spherical, dried herbs, suave, morbido, so fleshy & enveloping, luxurious, warm, comforting…(includes both Benedetta & Beatrice fruit)…

…retasted Jan’18 from bottle (since marzo ’16), intense rosa canina red, a curry plant, rose-hip, sandal nose, compact, definite, precise yet hedonistic; silk coulis, kirsch cherry, sotto spirit, so sensual as to be gliding, comes & goes, ebbs & flows, but never lets you enter…ah, such sweet red fruit pero! (release 2019)

…retasted Nov’18: gioioso, lush yet at the same time precise, mysterious/cupo, comes with a certain brawn, needs time…

New : each year Stella makes a limited amount (c. 2k bts) of an IGT from a 0.29ha plot Vigna d’Olivo planted in 2000, that contains 4 exotic varieties Marcelain, Tannat, Arinarnoa (Merlot/PVerdot cross), a nameless one from Alto Adige & some Sangiovese. They remain true to the inimitable San Giuseppe expression, vinified fermented in tonneaux & barriques (not that you’d notice), & aged in cement.

‘Bella’ IGT  Toscana – so named after her late pet Rottweiler, tasted from bottle Nov’18, having been bottled & forgotten in June 2016, it’s a blend of 2009 & 2010 vintages (not featured on the label), bottled in June 2016 & then forgotten in the cantina! More intense, fresh, darker colour, preppy, distinct raspberry notes, ‘crunchier’ if you like; only 5% Sangiovese in the blend. 1400 bts remain

Fiorello’ IGT  Toscana – named after her late pet mongrel, is from 2011 & 2012 vintages, bottled spring 2018, & will be available in March 2019. More relaxed, ethereal, tasted blend it’s very Stella Brunello-esque, thanks perhaps to the larger % of Sangiovese in the blend (10%)! My preferred wine, delicious now. Still 2000 bts left

2011 ‘Benedetta’ Brunello di Montalcino – made from fruit grown in Stella’s higher, alberese stony ‘Leccio’ vineyard up above the cantina, only 2k bts will be bottled this summer: freschino, bright small red fruit, crunchy even, hints of mandarin skin (the warm vintage), very alive, determined & energetic (just like Benedetta!). Available from Nov’17

2011 ‘Beatrice’ Brunello di Montalcino – ‘Beatrice’ is by comparison more laid back, stemming perhaps from the fruit’s origin being that of the lower, sandier ‘Bassa’ vineyard. There’s a gorgeous roll, flecked with rose petals, swimming sfumatura (nuance), dreamy even…available from Nov’17

2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva – Stella lost 60% of her crop due to the hot dry conditions, especially in August. Fortunately, her sandy silt & volcanic Basso vineyard held the water reserves well, & her alberese Leccio plot allowed for deep roots, so preserving the freshness in the fruit. Sultry, Maremma esque warmth, balsamic, essential oils, notes of burnt Mediterranean herbs, the silkiest of tannin structures, sumptuous fruit, strawberry density, complete & profondo! The sum of the parts!..aged in one 16HL & two 25HL botti grandi. Production c. 5k bts. Not available to collect pre Nov ’17.

2009 Brunello di Montalcino – sensational, sfumatura, decadent, warm fragola (straw-berry) patch fruit, captures the broad, full bodied character of 2009 vintage perfectly, with still primary summery, orange notes, open-hearted, it glides. Still young but irresistible even now!

2008 Brunello di Montalcino (from mag), a darker hue, suave, brambly, wood smoke, firmer, transparent, joyful, still so young…