The Piccini family is 125 years or four generations into their wine making tradition. They’re amongst the biggest names in Tuscan wine; in fact they produce more than 10 percent of all the wine made in Chianti. All of this is done employing sustainable farming methods. Recently I attended a large-scale Brunello tasting in New York and while there I had the opportunity to taste some wines in a sit-down seminar setting as well as a walk around tasting. The Piccini Brunellos were among the offerings that really spoke to me. With that in mind, I took the opportunity to re-taste them on their own. Here’s a look at Piccini’s two current Brunello releases.
Piccini Villa al Cortile 2009 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG — ($60). This wine is composed entirely of sangiovese grosso. Aging was accomplished over 26 months in oak and six months of bottle aging followed prior to release. Dark cherry aromas and hints of anise and cinnamon fill the nose of this while cherry characteristics continue on the palate where they essentially steal the show. Bits of white pepper and a touch of espresso poke through and offer support. The finish has good length with chicory and red cherry providing the final bits of memorable flavor. Sweet, medium tannins and firm acidity balance each other out nicely. Delicious on its own this wine is a delight with charcuterie.
Piccini Villa al Cortile 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG — ($80). This wine is 100 percent sangiovese grosso. Fermentation took place in stainless steel over 18 days. Aging took place over 36 months in oak and six months of bottle aging followed prior to release. This Riserva leads with a remarkably perfumed nose that is impressive, not only in the level of aroma but also the depth. Violets, tobacco, cherry, and copious spice are all part of the package. Strawberry and cherry are joined by boatloads of earth on beautiful and intricately layered palate. Black tea, continued cherry flavors, and earth are each part of the memorably long finish which reverberates on your taste buds long after you swallow the final sip. This wine is stunning now, particularly after a couple of hours in a decanter but it will improve over the next decade and drink well for several years after that.
A lot of Brunello isn’t approachable for close to a decade after it’s made. Those wines can often age for a long time after that too; in fact that’s what they’re made for. The Piccini Brunellos have the advantage of being eminently drinkable now; they also have the sheer stuffing to be age-worthy. Because of the accessibility these two wines offer, they’re an excellent choice for someone who is either new to Brunello or simply doesn’t have the time or patience to lay their wine down for an extended period.