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2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

97 KO


Critic Reviews

Forest berry, spice, hay and menthol aromas mingle with whiffs of new leather on this stunning, fragrant Brunello. A top-scorer vintage after vintage, the 2018 combines elegance and a full body, delivering dried cherry, blood orange, licorice and ground clove alongside firm but refined tannins. Bright acidity keeps it energized while a saline mineral note adds depth to the finish. Drink 2026–2038.

Kerin O’Keefe | 97 KO
Roasted herbs, walnuts, olives, dried cherries and balsamic on the nose with a touch of leather and sage. It’s full-bodied with firm, finely-knit tannins. Creamy and so well integrated with depth and class. Try after 2024.

James Suckling | 95 JS
This 2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona in the Castelnuovo dell’Abate zone in the southeast of the appellation produces wines that combine power and elegance. The 2018 is medium ruby colored with plenty of sweet oak-spice and bright, red cherry fruit here and there. There’s lots of charm on the palate and it is a wine that is very gracefully melded together. There is a beautifully refined quality to the tannins. The finish is lingering, creamy and elegant. This wine has so much charm and drinkability. It is not huge wine but it accurately reflects the vintage and it is very appealing.

The Wine Independent | 95 TWI
The 2018 Brunello di Montalcino turns out beautiful results if you choose to drink the wine now, or if you opt to age it a little longer. It offers immediate intensity and complexity with a prelude of red and purple berry fruits that follow to tarry spice, campfire ash, licorice and rusty nail. Those savoy tones are well measured against the wine’s elegant, mid-weight finish. And the tannins are integrated seamlessly. The winemaking team has worked well in a challenging vintage. This is a large production of 80,000 bottles.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RP
Dense and brooding, revealing plum, cherry, earth, menthol and tobacco flavors. On the austere side today, with buried fruit and dominant tannins, yet this has fine equilibrium and extended length. Best from 2026 through 2043. 4,833 cases made, 2,383 cases imported.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Sweet cherry, vanilla bean and orange zest are on the nose, which slowly opens to reveal quieter aromas of cured meat and graphite. The palate emphasizes the savory with more sanguine notes pointed up by crisp fruit flavors of red apple skin and Bing cherry, emphasized by well-articulated tannins.

Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
The 2018 Brunello di Montalcino is dark and brooding, taking its time to blow off a whiff of mocha before opening up with a mix of dried red fruits, cloves and rosemary. This is surprisingly pure and lifted in style while maintaining elegance, as ripe red and black fruits cascade across a core of vibrant acidity. The 2018 leaves the palate buzzing with residual tension, as fine-grained tannins penetrate deeply, and hints of tart wild berry and a dusting of cocoa slowly fade.

Vinous Media | 92 VM

Wine Details for 2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

Type of Wine Italy Red
Varietal Sangiovese : When it comes to Tuscan wine, Sangiovese is king. This mighty grape variety resides not only in Tuscany, but throughout Italy. The varietal is responsible for some of the greatest wines in the country, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the infamous “Super Tuscans.” Sangiovese is extremely capable of adapting to the various climates and terroirs of Italy but is quite at home in Tuscany, where it is believed to have been birthed.

Like most ancient grape varieties, there are many speculations about Sangiovese’s true time and place of origin. Some theories claim the Sangiovese grape dates back to the Etruscan era and cultivated mostly in Tuscany. Another theory is that it was cultivated by the ancient Romans. Sangiovese is believed to have been first documented in 1590 by agronomist, Gian Vettorio Soderini who talked about ‘Sanghiogeto” in an essay. There is no definitive evidence that ‘Sanghiogeto’ is the Sangiovese grape that is beloved and famous today; however, it is still considered by many to be the first appearance of the grape in written fashion. It wouldn’t be until the 18th century that Sangiovese would become well-known and started being planted all over the region. It was mentioned in l’Oenologia Toscana, written by Cosimo Villafranchi in 1773, in which he discussed the winemaking process of Chianti and the use of Sangiovese.

Today, Sangiovese accounts for 10% of all winemaking grapes planted in Italy. This statistic may not seem significant but taken into consideration there are 350 authorized grape varieties across 20 wine regions, it is quite remarkable. Due to its versatility, Sangiovese is one of the most diverse grape varieties used in winemaking. However, the grape can be temperamental and sensitive to the environment in which it is planted. It is very much similar to the Pinot Noir in this fashion. Wines made with Sangiovese grapes can turn out tasting extremely different, based on climate, terroir and process. While the varietal can successfully grow most places, it tends to grow best in hot, dry climates with terroir composed mostly of shallow, limestone soils. Famously native to Tuscany but Sangiovese also grows in many other winemaking locations in Italy, such as Umbria in Central Italy, Campania in the South and Romagna where the grape is known as Sangiovese di Romagna.

There are approximately 71,000 hectares of Sangiovese covering the earth’s surface, 62,725 of which reside in Italy (mostly Tuscany). Outside Italy, Sangiovese has grown quite popular in many winegrowing regions around the world, including the French Island of Corsica, where it ranks 2nd among all Sangiovese growing localities. It was introduced to Argentina in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants and remains successful in the region of Mendoza. Although Sangiovese was brought to America in the 1880’s, it was unpopular until the 1980’s when “Super Tuscans” caused a re-emergence of the grape in Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast. Sangiovese has also gained popularity in Barossa Valley in Southern Australia.

The thin skinned, medium sized, blue-black berries of Sangiovese produce medium to full bodied, dry and highly acidic wines with fruity and savory flavors of plum, cherry, licorice, leather, tobacco and dust. Sangiovese may be synonymous with Brunello, and vice-versa, but the world of Sangiovese is far more intricate than a single wine, a single village, hillside town or designated area of control. It is the exclusive varietal and shining star in Brunello di Montalcino and provides the backbone for Chianti and many of the great Italian wines, and has gained an outstanding reputation as one of the world’s great grape varietals.

Country Italy : Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.

Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.

The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.

The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.

With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.

Region Tuscany : Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.

Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.
Subregion Brunello di Montalcino


Producer Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona : Located on the southeast slope of the municipality of Montalcino, close to the medieval village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate and the famous Romanesque abbey of Sant’Antimo which dates back to the 11th century, rests the estate of Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona. Sitting on 220 hectares of rolling hills with an unforgettable atmosphere, the vineyard - a sea of Sangiovese grape vines, is where the Tuscan terroir lends to the creation of the world-renowned wines of Ciacci Piccolomini. “Our land, our heritage,” asserts the owners.

The origin of the estate dates back to the 17th century when it was owned by the local Bishop. After his death the palace and the surrounding estates were auctioned, according to Italian law and purchased by the countess Eva Berini Cerretari. In 1877, the estate was again purchased and would come under the ownership of the Ciacci Family, who resided in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. After the marriage of Elda Ciacci and Alberto Piccolomini d’Aragona, direct descendent of Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II), the Bishop’s palace became the Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Palace and the creation of the estate we know today.

Ciacci Piccolomini is surrounded by a picturesque landscape of rolling hills, pastures and woods with unforgettable colors. It is the quintessential Tuscan countryside estate set between Arna Hill and the Orcia River to the southeast. With the beauty of Mount Amiata in the background and typical farmhouses dotting the landscape, the ambiance it creates is calm and peaceful.

Though Ciacci Piccolomini is a massive estate, only 55.5-hectares are devoted to cultivating their beloved Sangiovese, Sangiovese Grosso, and a few other varietals. The rest of the estate is reserved for the natural landscape, forests and olive groves. The vineyard terroir is comprised of soil with a medium grain texture, with good levels of marl and shale, which date back to the Eocene Period. It is perfectly attuned for Sangiovese, which dominates the landscape with its straggly bunches and big berries with thick skin, typical of the Montalcino area.

The Ciacci Piccolomini estate produces three Brunellos, which are all DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). They are 100% Sangiovese, as required by DOCG regulations in order to be considered Brunello di Montalcino and are the staple of their portfolio. Their Brunello di Montalcino is sourced from an 8-hectare parcel with an altitude of up to 360 meters above sea level. Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso is made only in the best of vintages and is sourced from the vineyard of Pianrosso. This single vineyard is also where the grapes for their Riserva is sourced. Their critically-acclaimed Vigna di Pianrosso Riserva Santa Caterina d’Oro, is the result of careful selections of grapes in the vineyard. It is considered the most representative wine of the estate.

Two Rosso di Montalcino wines, (Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso) and three other wines are produced at Ciacci Piccolomini, using blends of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Four of the wines are DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) and one is an IGT, which is a classification for a wine when a producer does not wish to adhere to the strict DOC or DOCG restrictions.

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