Monday, December 20, 2010

Stuff Your Own Stocking...

with the beautiful 2005 Ciacci Piccolomini d Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese Grosso!  

My first trip to Italy was back in June of 2003. I stayed in Montalcino for days touring the region and tasting my favorite Brunello producers.  The clock tower in the square was over-run by children playing all night, their grandma's strolling in circles while the men sat around the steps trading cards and conversation.  Every time I pull a cork of Ciacci, it takes me right back to those magical days...

About the Winery Ciacci Piccolomini d Aragona
The origins of the Ciacci Piccolmini d'Aragona estate go back to the 17th century. In 1877 the property was sold to Francesco Ciacci, head of a Castelnuovo-based family. Then in the mid 1900's, the so-called Palazzo del Vascovo became known as  Palazzo Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona after the marriage of Alberto Piccolomini d'Aragona and Elda Ciacci.The Bianchini family inherited in 1985.

Over the course of the last decade Ciacci Piccolomini has become one of the most sought-after producers in all of Italy. This ancient estate has 35 hectares of superior holdings in the prized Castelnuovo dell'Abate zone, including the "Pianrosso" vineyard (from which the best grapes are selected for the Brunello di Montalcino) and the "Fonte" vineyard, which produces grapes for the Rosso di Montalcino.   The vineyards are located in the south, wouth-west side of Montalcino at an altitude between 240 and 360 meters above sea level. The stony slopes near the Orcia River benefit from a particularly mild microclimate and the vines grow in ideal climatic conditions.

About the Wine
This "basic" Brunello is a newer addition to the exceptional Ciacci line-up. New vineyards came into production in time for the 2003 vintage, allowing them to release a great- value Brunello di Montalcino as a compliment to their legendary, single-vineyard bottlings from the Pianrosso site. Aged for roughly 3 years in 20-85 hl Slavonian oak barrels, followed by approximately 4 months for bottle refinement.    Retail Pricing - $42-47 a bottle.

92 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is wonderfully plump and juicy in its expressive red fruit. Floral notes are woven throughout, giving the wine its sense of lift and proportion. Though not as explosive as the 2004,  the 2005 Brunello di Montalcino offers outstanding persistence on the palate and a long, generous finish. This is a terrific effort from Ciacci. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020. Proprietor Paolo Bianchini has turned out a gorgeous set of wines. In 2005 Bianchini elected to forgo his top Brunello, Pianrosso, and bottle just his straight Brunello, which has all of the best fruit he was able to bring in that year. The result speaks for itself. I also tasted a number of Brunellos in cask from vintages 2006 through 2008 that appear quite promising. As good as the Brunellos are, value-conscious readers will want to pay special attention to Ciacci's entry-level wines, which are just as noteworthy."April 2010

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