2018 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany, Italy.
Always a wine I search out for its pedigree and value, this Rosso di Montalcino (baby Brunello) comes from classic Sangiovese Grosso grapes with vines in some of this famous estate’s prime parcels, and this 2018 is lively and delicious with exceptional purity and rich detail. The 2018 may not be as fantastic as the other worldly 2016, but it is not far off and is much more flexible and quaffable in style with a bit more acidity and as it opens it gains another level making it very compelling with a nice and full range of flavors you expect from this producer. The palate starts brightly with very subtle floral notes, a hint of spice and toasted cedar on the nose and echoed in the mouth along with blackberry, plum, maceration cherries and earthy mulberry fruits that are accented by dried potpourri, candied orange rind, minty herb and anise. As this Ciacci Rosso gets going with time and air it reveals itself with splendid clarity gaining a touch of toffee and sweet pipe tobacco as well as delivering more textural presence making this wine much more interesting and really exciting with food. The dark garnet core and orange/ruby edged Rosso di Montalcino, which comes from organic grapes, has many charms and its medium/full body gives it some serious impact, especially for the price this vintage is a wine that over delivers and great for anytime drinking with without wallet draining guilt, it’s a Sangiovese lovers bargain.

This Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Rosso di Montalcino was made, as per DOC rules, from 100% Sangiovese from the Brunello Castelnuovo dell’Abate zone set at elevations between 180-360 meters above sea level with mineral-rich marly soils witch is complex with some limestone and volcanic sub structures adding to the terroir influence with good sun exposure. The primary fermentation of the carefully sorted and all de-stemmed berries is in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks with a gentle maceration or extraction before being rested in large Slavonian oak casks for about a year to soften the tannins and allows for immediate pleasure on release. The Ciacci Piccolomini winery is run by Paolo and Lucia Bianchini, brother and sister, who’s family inherited this highly regarded property in 1985, they took over from their late father Giuseppe in 2004 and they have not just continued the traditions here, but have raised the quality level to even greater heights, especially with their top Brunello di Montalcino bottlings that are some of the most prized in the region. Ciacci has mainly Sangiovese in their elite vineyards of course, but they also have plantings of Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot that go into Bianchini’s other wines, including their Super Tuscan “Ateo” and their IGT Toscana Rosso, with those last two wines also being fabulous bangs for the buck, plus the 100% Syrah Fabius, which I hope to try. There is a lot to love from Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona and the coming soon 2016 Brunello(s) look to be legendary, so it is an awesome time to explore this lineup. I am big fan of these Ciacci wines and they really bring out a desire to re-visit Tuscany, especially the historic Montalcino area, as soon as possible!
($20 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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