2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rossofonte Rosso di Montalcino

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rossofonte Rosso di Montalcino

In the southern part of the appellation, close to the Orcia river and benefitting from its influence, this estate produces a great Rosso, exquisitely true to its terroir. The relatively cool 2018 vintage in this warmer subzone of Montalcino has amplified the fruity character and the supple style of Rossofonte, without losing complexity. Alluring floral notes of roses and macerated violets are joined by liquorice freshness and a touch of smoky woodland. The palate is focused on cherry and raspberry fruit, with good tension balancing the supple fruit with velvety tannins and refreshing acidity. Slightly chalky on the finish, it is otherwise a clear example of generous Rosso drinkability.
Drinking Window 2021 - 2025.

Decanter | 91 DEC
The 2018 Rosso di Montalcino Rossofonte is dark and youthfully brooding in the glass. With coaxing, a mix of black cherries dusted in exotic brown spices, hints of tobacco and violets comes forward. This is silky and polished, with textural waves of ripe red fruit laced with licorice and salty minerals giving way to a collection of fine tannins toward the close. There’s plenty of structure here for medium-term cellaring. The 2016 will require another year or two to come fully into focus, as this tapers off to notes of blackberry and plum, yet with a slightly monolithic feel.

Vinous Media | 90 VM

Wine Details on 2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rossofonte Rosso di Montalcino

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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.
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 Rosso di Montalcino
Climat/Vineyard Rossofonte
Country Italy: What are the first things that come to mind when thinking about Italy and Italian culture? There's one thing that nearly everyone tends to mention, it's the food - and where there's fine food, there is almost always fine wine. Italy is the most prolific wine region in the world, outclassing even France in terms of production quantity. Even if you're a complete wine novice, you have almost certainly heard of names such as Barolo and Barbaresco, Italy's most famous wine styles. When it comes to soil composition and other geographical characteristics, Italy offers a lot of diversity, and this never fails to show in the wines themselves.
Type of Wine Rosso
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.

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