The Uccelliera farm is a tiny azienda tucked away south of Montalcino, near Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The 6 hectares of vines are impeccably maintained by owner Andrea Cortonesi. Through green harvesting and utmost respect for the centuries old tradition of his land, Andrea produces authentic Tuscan wine.
I last tasted the subject of today’s review during my coverage of the great 2010 vintage and it acquitted itself very well at that time. The wine was complex and delicious. Plus, it was a fairly good value.
Rapace is Cortinesi’s vision of a Super Tuscan and he crafts the wine as only he can; true to his vision. Rapace is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet. The vineyards that provide the fruit for the wine vary dramatically in age. All three of the varietals in the blend have vines that were planted in 1975, 1989 and 1998. The Sangiovese used for Rapace is dedicated to Rapace – in other words, it is never destined for Brunello and therefore is never “declassified”. Cortonesi vinifies 50-60% of the Sangiovese together with the Cabernet and Merlot while the rest of the Sangiovese rest separately until bottling. Cortonesi feels this gives the wine an additional late “punch” of Sangiovese character. Elevated in French barrique for 18 months, the wine bottle ages for 6 months before release.
The 2015 Uccelliera Rapace, meaning bird of prey, lives up to the pedigree of the 2015 vintage. In the glass, the wine is a dark ruby/violet color which trends toward purple clearly as a result of the inclusion of the French grapes. On the nose, the wine displays vibrant crushed black plum aromas with fresh herbs, roasted coffee and sweet tobacco notes. It’s very attractive.
On the palate, the wine is seamless and concentrated. Flavors of black plums, toasted vanilla, leaf tobacco and crushed stones take center stage but are noticeably interrupted by substantial tannins that need some cellaring to tame. This is not to say the wine is imbalanced. Far from it. There is harmony between the fruit, tannins and acids, but patience is required. 90 points. Price is creeping up now at around $33. Still a good value relative to other Super Tuscans. Find this wine
Do you like to see Super Tuscans being made within the Montalcino area? Do you think it’s acreage better devoted to Brunello? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section!