Uccelliera is a tiny estate, all of 6 hectares, that sits in the southeast corner of the Brunello zone near Castelnuovo dell’Abate. This area of the Brunello DOCG is generally known for producing bolder wines due to the overall lower elevation and the resulting slightly warmer temperatures.
Interestingly, the land that is now the Uccelliera farm belonged to the neighboring Ciacci Piccolomini family until it was purchaed by winemaker Andrea Cortonesi in 1986. He set out to create an artisan farm and now in addition to producing wine, he also produces excellent olive oil and honey.
Although not certified as organic, the estate practices organic principles at each stage of production with a focus on attention to detail from the hand pruning of the vines to fertilization, harvesting and winemaking. Cortonesi met with almost instant success but the string of recent vintages has allowed even greater results across the estate’s wines.
Cortonesi is a farmer first. He makes that clear in the way he tends the vines and sheperds seemingly every grape cluster through the production process. He has a love of his land and that remains central to his artisan approach. Andrea personifies his sensitivity to nature with this quote:
”Next to the residence I left a half-hectare olive grove, which might seem odd, seeing that the plot would be more valuable planted with grapes. But the land has its way of reminding us that to ask too much of it, is to somehow lower the quality of one’s life. Just being able to dine outdoors in the evening, by this olive grove, gazing out over the vines, without necessarily thinking of the needs of the vineyard, is a precious thing.”
Today we’re looking at one of the estate’s most recent releases. The 2016 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino is a deep violet color that is very pretty to look at. What was a boisterous fruit forward wine at Benvenuto Brunello back in January has now started to mellow somewhat and the benefit of that is some additional complexity. Fresh flowers and fresh herbs accent the aromatic core which is comprised of crushed wild cherry. Juicy and fresh on the palate, the wild cherry notes display an almost sour cherry mouthwatering effect that is very attractive. Vibrant ancillary notes of lavender, powdered white stones, and pepper notes frame the palate and provide further interest. I think this will develop more complexity over the next 2-3 years when you can enjoy this wine without worry. It’s not one of the show stopping Rossos that stole the attention at Benvenuto but it’s a damn nice wine in what I think will be a generally overlooked vintage in Montalcino. 89 points. About $22-$27. Find this wine.