Siro Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino 2008

Siro Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino 2008

When discussing Rosso di Montalcino wines, I am not especially fond of the term “baby Brunello”. The two are different wines, really, wines of differing intent, in fact. One is not simply a pint-sized version of the other.

That said, in the case of Siro Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino 2008, well, I am willing to make an exception.

After a one hour decant, Pacenti’s Rosso exhibited enough scaled-down, Brunello-like character, that “baby Brunello” seems a rather accurate description.

siro-pacenti-rosso-di-montalcino-2008-aGiancarlo Pacenti (Siro was the estate’s founding elder) has often been described as an innovator within the Montalcino zone, a modernist producer, seeking more color and structure from Sangiovese, choosing French barrique over traditional Slavonian oak for aging his wines, playing to the preferences of an international consumer.

Perhaps.

When the music is well-played, I am not so sure the source of artistic inspiration matters.

In any case, Pacenti strikes me as a producer possessing a deep understanding of Montalcino terroir married with precision production methods who creates Sangiovese wines not to be missed by anyone interested in the Montalcino appellation.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

The initial decant released a plume of bright cherry, strawberry, and red currant. As the wine opened up, hints of violets, earth and smoke came and went, adding complexity. Black cherry tones filled out the wine’s lower register. Muscular and supple on the palate with firm, velvety tannins, acidity balanced with just the right degree of ripeness.

Sangiovese grapes for Pacenti’s wines are hand-harvested and undergo rigorous hand-selection. The Rosso di Montalcino undergoes a wood regimen of new (30%) and year old (70%) barrique, though avoids overt wood attributes. About 3,000 cases made per year.

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Agostina Pieri Rosso di Montalcino 2011

Agostina Pieri Rosso di Montalcino 2011

It strikes me that much has been made of late to suggest that Montalcino’s northern areas produce elegant, perfumed Sangiovese wines, while its southern reaches produce robust wines with less cellar potential. While true, perhaps, in the broadest sense, it should be noted that there are exceptions to the rule.

pieri-rosso-di-montalcino-2011I recently snapped up a bottle of Agostina Pieri Rosso di Montalcino 2011. The estate is located in Montalcino’s southern territory around Sant’Angelo Scalo, aka one of hottest and driest parts of the growing zone.

I found the wine not at all willing to be stereotyped. First day, the wine was fresh and open, with delicate, long aromas of cherry and currant, a broad palate and a clear core of cherry fruit. Second day, suggestions of kirsch and rose. Third day, viscous and still fresh. Impeccably refined tannins.

Added all together … a very elegant wine, in fact.

The wine is produced from 100% Sangiovese from two very different estate vineyards. Loamy, well-drained soil with aspects of organic matter and stone characterize one vineyard, while the other’s clay-based soil prompted a producer decision to use different rootstock in that site. The producer seems to favor low-vigor rootstock as well as the cordone speronato vine training method. Planting densities in vineyards producing the 2011 vintage of Rosso di Montalcino are 3333 and 4200 per hectare, respectively.

Grapes bunches underwent careful selection in the vineyard and again at the sorting table. Fermentation was carried out over 18 days in stainless steel vat. The wine was sent 30% to 2nd passage barrique, 70% to demis-muid (large barrel), aged 12 months, and then moved to stainless steel for bottling.

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