Villa al Cortile Brunello by Piccini: one grape, one territory
Mario Piccini Jr represents the fourth generation of Italy’s Piccini’s winemakers, after Angiolo Piccini founded Piccini Wine Company in Italy in 1882. We asked him to tell us more about his now highly reputed Villa al Cortile.
As they say, in order to make things become reality, you have to dream about them at first. And I am a big dreamer! Villa al Cortile is the dream I have been pursuing since I was young.
I am always looking to relive that strong and profound emotion of my first realisation that wine is a living thing. I guess all that I do is guided by this irrational desire to share the joy of tasting a glass of wine.
I believe in wines that tell the story of their birthplace. Sangiovese and Montalcino most certainly do that. I am humbled and proud to have a chance to contribute to the story of this amazing grape, this amazing territory, this beautiful wine. In our making of Brunello, we are following the rules of simplicity, equilibrium and moderation and our ambition with every vintage is to bring forward wines that are the result of the binomial equation Sangiovese – Montalcino.
We do not strive for maximum extraction and “big” flavours; rather we allow the unique characteristics of each vintage and vineyard to shine through, emphasizing of typical character Sangiovese grape in the context of its dedicated territory.
Please tell us a little more about the territory.
The finest grapes always come from a climate that allows them to grow slowly, with a long ripening period. In these conditions, the grapes can ripen with elegant complexity and pristine fruit flavours, but remain balanced, with a good natural acidity. This is what Montalcino is for Sangiovese.
The location of both our Lavacchio and Montosoli vineyards provides our wines essential features: the vineyards on the NE versant have N – NE exposure, with cooler medium temperatures which impart the high acidity, the main element responsible for classic Brunello destined for long ageing. The SW vineyards in Lavacchio are located at lower altitudes and enjoy long exposure to sun, influenced by the warm breezes coming from the Tuscan coast, which impart freshness and warmth, fruit driven character.
The ageing process is extremely important to you. Why so?
Everything in Montalcino is about the slow passing of the time. Nothing is rushed through the cellars. Brunello and Brunello Riserva undergo an average oak ageing between 24 to 36 months. The wine from each plot of vineyard is processed and aged separately as we want to monitor the evolution of each separate lot.
Focus on typical character of sangiovese remains our absolute objective. Thru the process of aging we are focused on developing the complexity of the wines and softening tannins without overwhelming the fruit component. For this specific reason, we choose to use oak casks of volumes between 20hl and 50hl. The lengthy barrel aging results in decreased astringency and increased colour and stability. It also evolves the fruit aromas to more complex one. Through a program of topping the wine (filling up the barrel) while it is in the barrel and racking the wine from barrel to barrel to clarify it, just enough oxygen is introduced to the wine to have these beneficial effects over a period of many months. Once bottled, the wine rests in bottles for the following six months prior to its introduction to the market.
MAJOR AWARDS IN 2017
After already wining a Decanter international award in 2011 for Brunello Piccini, this year the house has received several major prizes:
Decanter 2017: Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino – Platinium medal – Best Brunello di Montalcino
Decanter 2017: Piccini Brunello di Montalcino – Gold medal
International Wine Challenge 2017: Piccini Brunello di Montalcino Reserve – International Wine Trophy Italy
Hall 1, Stand A91
Photo: Mario Piccini, IV generation of Piccini family, General Manager, Tenute Piccini