Uccelliera’s 2015 Brunello di Montalcino was one of the most impressive wines I sampled at the Benvenuto Brunello tasting in Montalcino-Tuscany a month ago. If it makes one feel better, the wine was released in January, and in transit by ship long before the outbreak of Coronavirus in Lombardia to the distant north of Tuscany.
In 1986, a youthful Andrea Cortonesi jumped at the opportunity to purchase an old farmhouse on a few hectares of land previously part of the Ciacci Piccolomini property in the small commune of Castelnuovo dell’ Abate, about 6 miles southeast of Montalcino. Castelnuovo dell’ Abate is considered one of the most exciting and best sub-zones of the DOCG for its multifaceted growing conditions; south by southeastern exposures, mineral rich and diverse soils, and an elevation of 500 to 1150 feet above sea level which enables the perfect diurnal range for ideal ripening. Cortonesi’s legion of followers are well aware the Uccelliera vineyard now extends adjacent to Ciacci Piccolomini’s famous and highly coveted Pianrosso vineyard. Uccelliera (“the aviary”) pays tribute to name of the former property and all the birds that still nest in the nearby trees.
Not a surprise, Uccelliera is not a new wine to TWC as I have always offered its Rosso, Rapace, and Brunello/Reserva in the top vintages since 2001. This is a pure and transparent expression of perfectly ripened Sangiovese Grosso; very refined and elegant, perfectly balanced with all in check. Kissed with sun-dried cherry, spicy floral notes, tobacco leaf, and dark loam minerality, with a finely knit tannin and fresh acidity extending the tapered finish. Trust me, this spectacular 2015 Uccelliera vintage is not to be missed! About 2,250 cases were produced. 96 points/ES-TWC – February 22, 2020
“Andrea Cortonesi of Uccelliera shows real talent when it comes to highlighting vintage variation in his wines. His 2015 Brunello di Montalcino captures the exuberance and the ebullience of this sunny and warm growing season. However, the wine remains orderly, precise and very elegant nonetheless, with a pretty succession of aromas that play cautiously forward, building in intensity along the way. Dried currant and cherry cede to moist earth, rose petal and balsam herb. The wine’s medium-weight body is supported by fresh acidity and well-managed tannins (with 36 months of oak aging). All of these moving pieces work in harmony. This Brunello was bottled in 2019 and released in January 2020. Drink date 2021 to 2040.” – 97 points, R.Parker Wine Advocate (Monica Larner) – January 31, 2020.
“Plenty of earth, tar, spices, dried cherries and red plums here. The tannins have a firm but generous quality to them, providing an abundance of structure to the full-bodied palate. I love the juxtaposition between ripe fruit and tightly webbed texture. Drink from 2023.” – 95 points, James Suckling – September 8, 2019