Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia 1995
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
The BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO "UGOLAIA" DOCG is from the 5-acre Ugolaia Vineyard (planted in 1978), is a top cru from a top vintage. While great now, it will continue developing and improving over the next two decades. Density of the vines is twice as high as the remaining vineyards' - over 1,800 per acre versus 1,150/a. - with crop yields correspondingly even lower than the regular Brunello's; terrain is particularly favorable, conducive to extraordinary levels of concentration and complexity.
Located a few miles south of Montalcino itself, at Sant'Angelo in Colle, the fourteenth-century towered villa is steeped in one of the appellation’s most beautiful and "wildest" landscapes, surrounded only by woodland and vineyards at an altitude of 1312 feet above sea level. Typically built in stone and terracotta tiles, the villa itself blends into this natural backdrop with a harmony that is all Tuscan. The Lisini estate, covering a total of 380 acres and comprising one of the finest, most historical crus in the Montalcino appellation, has been in the Lisini family since the early 1700s. Under the tutelage of Elina Lisini, this superb terroir has fulfilled its exceptional promise. Located in the hills a little south of Montalcino itself, overlooking the Orcia valley (an area conducive to full, potent Brunellos), it was one of the very first to produce and bottle this noble wine. The vineyards now cover almost 49 acres and include the high-rising, 3.7- acre cru of Ugolaia. Lisini's unique soil, together with state-of-the-art vinification, yield a model Montalcino range.
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One of the most important wine regions in Italy, Tuscany is home to the cities of Florence and Siena, the districts of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, and the wineries of Sassicaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia. Tuscany is also home to the indigenous Italian grape variety, Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
The most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the
1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.