Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2006
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The Uccelliera estate was at once part of neighboring Ciacci Piccolomini until 1986, when winemaker Andrea Cortonesi purchased it from his friends and former employers. After refining his trade as cellar master for Ciacci, Andrea ventured out on his own with the formation of Uccelliera. His first vintage was 1991 with the production of a mere 500 bottles!
The wines have quickly become cult favorites amongst the cognoscenti. Tucked away in the southeast corner of the appellation in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, the soil here is loose and stony which when coupled with a warm microclimate gives the wines of Uccelliera a rich and ripe expression, vintage after vintage. Two hectares adjacent to Ciacci’s famous ‘Pianrosso’ vineyard were recently added to this boutique estate, bringing the total to a mere six hectares. Andrea Cortonesi is tireless in his approach to winemaking, with all vineyard work done exclusively by hand.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.