The head of the family winery is the lovely Stella di Campalto, who has overseen the winemaking and viticulture since 1992. She has practiced certified organic farming here since 1996 and in 2002 began practicing biodynamic farming as well – becoming certified in 2005. The estate lies at the very southeast corner of the Montalcino zone, outside of Castelnuovo dell’Abate.
The vineyards are lovingly nurtured to produce the finest most natural fruit possible, and then the cellar regimen at Stella di Campalto is designed to treat the wines as gently as possible to retain the individual vintage characteristics of the wines. In this regard none of the modern cellar parlor tricks such as cultured yeasts or extraction enzymes are used during the vinification. Also, there is no pumping of the wines in the cellars, as everything is handled by gravity in the three stories of cold cellars under the property, with the wines aged in a combination of barriques and larger botti for anywhere from eighteen to twenty-two months prior to bottling. The bottling is all done by hand, and then the wines are aged for additional time in the bottle before release. Stella feels that her wines need more time in the bottle before showing optimally and is now releasing her Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino nearly one full year after most other estates.
The bouquet on the 2014 Rosso di Montalcino Libero keeps me coming back to the glass over and over again, with a display that is exotic and more savory than sweet. Depths of red currants, autumnal spice, balsam herbs and an enriching and warming note of walnut wafts up with ease. This is juicy to the core, washing across the palate with prominently soft textures that are nicely offset by sour-citrus tinged tart cherry, while taking on rosy florals toward the close. A burst of inner sweetness comes through in the finish, perfectly offset by sultry minerality and earth tones, as nuances of plum seem to last for well over a minute. There’s an immediate and mature feel to the 2014 Libero, yet the pleasure factor is off the charts, and the wine is full of life, nearly meditative. It’s not quite Rosso, nor is it Brunello, having spent 42 months in 17-hectoliter botti and three years in bottle. Any way you look at it, this is a very special wine born off an idiosyncratic vintage from Stella di Campalto. Drink heartily!!! [93 Points, Eric Guido – October 2022, vinous.com]