Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona is a grand estate of great historical and religious heritage, having been owned by the bishop of Montalcino in the seventeenth century. It is currently run by the grandchildren of Guiseppe Bianchini, then the principal winemaker at the estate, who was bequeathed the property due to the prior owner having no heirs. Located on the southeast facing slopes of the Montalcino municipality, close to Castelnuovo dell’Abate, the entire estate comprised 200 hectares of which about 55 are planted to vines. There are numerous wooded areas and 40 hectares of olive trees.
Substantial parts of the vineyard were replanted between 1986 and 1990. The full range of wines are made – a Rosso, a Brunello classico from 8 hectres plus a single vineyard designated Brunello and a Riserva called Santa Caterina d’Oro, both sourced from the “Pianrosso” vineyard, which extends to 11.7 hectares with a varied altitude of between 240 and 369 metres.
The winery describes itself as an alliance of modern and traditional by virtue of using state of the art oenoligical equipment but vinification process that are founded on old style traditional methods. Long Fermentations take place in steel vats or glass lined cement tanks and aging in larger Slavonian oak of varying sizes.
Glorious aromas of flowers nutmeg dark berries earth and black cherries follow through to a full body with ultra-fine tannins that are long and extremely polished. They go on for minutes. Reserved and shy still due to its excellence. Give this four or five years to come around. Try after 2024.
Both fluid and concentrated at once this exudes cherry black currant violet and mineral aromas and flavors. Saturated with ripe fruit this has beautifully integrated acidity and tannins with a racy profile that drives the superlong finish. The tannins flex their muscles at the end yet remain refined. Best from 2024 through 2042.
The Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna di Pianrosso Santa Caterina d'Oro is gorgeous full stop. It shows an incredible level of Sangiovese purity and sharpness and you taste the grape as if you were eating berries straight out of the vineyard. On top of that healthy and bright primary material the wine layers on elegant aromas of spice ferrous earth balsam herb and red rose potpourri. The aromas meet with seamless integration and segue to ongoing depth and complexity offered to the palate. This Riserva is rather delicate in terms of mouthfeel; however it is powerful and long with high alcohol polished tannins and a silky texture. A hint of sweet cherry mixed with menthol freshness pulls it together at the end. Paolo Bianchini and his family shared the same frustrations as other top producers in the appellation regarding the hot and dry 2017 vintage. Thankfully the Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona estate is located in a rather cool location with south-facing vines and well-draining galestro soils on the back side of Castelbuovo dell'Abate. I always like to think of this tiny hilltop hamlet as the place where the day's sunbeams shine in Montalcino before sunset. This estate is certified for organic farming.
Dark yet wonderfully perfumed the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna di Pianrosso Santa Caterina d'Oro blossoms in the glass to present a bouquet of dried strawberries and roses complemented by hints of blood orange and clove.