It was an early autumn morning in Tuscany. As we left Agriturismo Civettaio, I have to admit, I felt like shit. Maybe it was because I didn’t take my Fernet the night before or maybe it was because I did. Either way, our arrival at Uccelliera was set for 10AM and I knew I was not in the mood to ingest anything remotely acidic.
Fortunately, we got a little lost and so we arrived about 15 minutes late. Angela graciously began our toir on the back terrace overlooking the vineyards and by the time Andrea Cortonesi showed up, I was beginning to feel better.
By the time we sat down and I ingested some crostini with oil, thankfully I was ready to taste. Not wanting to tempt the rath from high atop the thing, I decided to spit.
We tasted wines from Voliero and Uccelliera that day and did so across several vintages. It only confirmed what I already knew. That Andrea Cortonesi is a master and Uccelliera should be on your list regardless of the vintage. If he’s made wine, it’s worth considering.
Uccelliera is a small 6 hectare plot of land that Cortonesi purchased in 1986 from Ciacci Piccolimini. Someone’s first instinct might be to expand the vineyard plantings as much as possible on such a small estate. But not Cortonesi. He tells the story like this:
“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.”
That day, on the Rustic Tuscany Tour, we tasted the 2019 Rapace. My notes from that tasting are below.
Uccelliera Rapace 2019: (10/22/2022) 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet. Deep violet. Black cherry, black plum, menthol, herbs and tobacco aromas. Shows both Sangiovese and Cabernet on the nose. Black fruits, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco and fennel on the palate. Very complex already. Fairly big tannins need time to soften but this is great already. 94-96 points.
Recently I received a bottle of this very wine and paired with a duck risotto dish made in the style for which duck should be enjoyed – “NFF”. No Freaking Fruit.
The 2019 Uccelliera Rapace has not budged an inch since the tasting above. If anything, it’s gotten fleshier as it has settled in the bottle. This tasting revealed far little tannin than mentioned above. The black fruits, cocoa, tobacco and herb notes are still plentiful on both the nose and palate. There’s simply nothing not to like here, including the price. Shop around, you can find it as low as $29. Find this wine.
It will be interesting to see if we get to taste this wine again on property next month. Perhaps it will be the 2020 if it’s ready. Otherwise, hunt this one down. If you’re interested in other vintages, here is my review of the 2015.