Cupano is an organic estate winery in the south-west of the Montalcino region in Tuscany, Italy. Cupano produces red wines under the Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Sant’Antimo DOC.

Founder owners: Lionel Cousin and his partner, Ornella Tondini. Lionel is French. He was born in 1947. He worked in film as a cinematographer and moved to Italy in 1996. A mentor was Henri Jayer from Bourgogne. Carlo Ferrini selected the land for the vines, chose the varieties and decided the vine density, trellising etc. François Bouchet introduced them to biodynamics. Giulio Gambelli was another key influence.

Staff: Carlo Ferrini consults. Gioia Cresti has also been involved here.

Vineyards: The estate lies in the  Località Podere Centine in the wider Camigliano area, near Castello di Camigliano, south-west of Montalcino town centre. Lionel describes the site as ‘a stony hill on the Ombrone river with good drainage, high mineral content and great views.’ There are 35ha of land of which 14ha is woodland. Being near the Ombrone river there are pudding stones in the soil. Lionel bought the land in 1994. The land had been abandoned for over 40 years and in Lionel’s words ‘had never suffered an assault of modern agrochemicals, having mainly been used as pasture for cows and sheep.’ Lionel planted 3.2ha of vines from 1997: 2.2ha of Sangiovese planted in 1998; and 0.40ha of Merlot and 0.5ha of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 2001. 6,250 vines/ha. First wire at 50cm. Cover crops have included beans, barley, alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers. | 2016 At the anteprima 2016 I was told there are now 6ha (3ha of vines having been planted).

BiodynamicsFrançois Bouchet was due to consult on Biodynamics here from 2005, but he died in Dec 2005. In Feb 2011 Lionel Cousin told me he had never used any Biodynamic preparations here.

Organic certification1997 Organic since planting. | 2000 First vintage with full organic certification.

Red wines

Sant’Antimo Rosso DOC, Ombrone: Named after the nearby river. | 2003 Certified organic grapes. Nice crisp sweet fruit, some new oak/blackcurrant essence (Anteprima 2006). | 2008 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Sangiovese. Certified organic grapes. 5,000 bottles (Anteprima 2011). | 2011 Ombrone 100 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 2,100 bottles. Rich berries, simple, savoury, some wildness (Anteprima 2014). Sweet and savoury, no herb, no dry end, good length, very nice (Anteprima 2015). | 2016 4,623 bottles.

Rosso di Montalcino DOC2000 24 months in barrels. | 2001 12 months in barrels. | 2002 15 months in barrels (one and two year old). Decent (Anteprima 2005). | 2004 Soft middle. Lionel admitted that this wine was a “little overcooked” (Anteprima 2006). | 2008 Fermented in stainless steel with no temperature control. 2,800 bottles. Aged on its lees and the barrels were rolled periodically to keep the lees in suspension after what owner Lionel Cousin describes as a ‘very quick malolactic fermentation’. Very bright light crimson colour. Clean, direct, fruit with appetising, crackly tannins and well handled oak (Anteprima 2011). | 2010 4,000 bottles. Very nice nose, bit of wood, bit of cough mixture and new wood too (Anteprima 2013). Bright medium crimson core. Balsamic nose, wood, fruit a bit pinched on the palate (Montalcino Consorzio, 2014). | 2011 2,000 bottles. Cooler and mintier than I remember (Anteprima 2014). | 2012 Nice sweet fruit, dense, ripe and clear, bit sticky, lots of energy (Anteprima 2015). | 2013 Very bright and clear (Anteprima 2016). | 2017 3,600 bottles.

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG2000 Brunello Old wood, sherry (Anteprima 2005). | 2001 Brunello New oak dominates and has dried and stretched the fruit (Anteprima 2006). | 2006 Quite dense, thick rather than overcooked fruit which is still settling into its nevertheless agreeably tannic frame. This wine certainly has an inherent hearthstone warmth (Anteprima 2011). Retail price around €80. 6,300 bottles. | 2007 Bottled. | 2008 8,200 bottles. Decent cool red fruit (Anteprima 2013). | 2009 6,800 bottles. Bit youthful–but at least not over-done–, nice fruit, sticky, ripe (Anteprima 2014). | 2009 15%. L1201. Brightish ruby garnet with a pink rim. Broad nose of vanilla and crushed redcurrants. Ripe fruit, wood still prominent, crushed raspberry underneath. Impression of sweetness. Delicate overall, despite the oak, in terms of mid-palate weight but the oak is rather over-apparent at the finish (Montalcino Consorzio, 2014). | 2010 Rich, very rich in fact, very youthful too, rich tannins, quite unique, lots of ripe sticky but well balanced tannin (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 Woody (only barrels) nose and palate, some caramel, nice weight and clean (Anteprima 2016). | 2012 Interesting texture, very bright sweet fruit, savoury tannins, clear style, well integrated (Anteprima 2017). | 2015 5,325 bottles.

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva | 2005 2,000 bottles Very dense, sweet fruit (Anteprima 2011). Retail price around €100. Bit thick, and woody, but still has plenty of fruit (Anteprima 2013). | 2008 2,520 bottles. Decent depth (Anteprima 2014). | 2008 14%. L B0711. Bright mid-deep ruby middle with a pinkish rim. Flattish nose of raspberry and vanilla, quite open knit with milk chocolate in there too which also dominates at the end which is oak-dominated (Montalcino Consorzio, 2014). | 2010 Lovely velvet texture (Anteprima 2016).

Contact

Cupano

Loc. Podere Centine, Loc. Camigliano, 31

I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy

Tel+39 0577.816055 | www.cupano.it

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