TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

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Dennis Atick
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TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#1 Post by Dennis Atick » May 14th, 2019, 9:47 am

I've been working through the case or so of assorted BdM that I have accumulated over the years, purposefully, as I calibrate for a few days next month in Montalcino. Tuscany, in general, is a blind spot for me, especially BdM/Sangiovese. I've yet to encounter a Bdm one that really moved me. And my recent handful of experience have done little to change that.
  • 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (5/14/2019)
    Pretty perfumed nose of tertiary elements, dried cherry, some earth. Palate is resolved, tea, cocoa, mint and hints of leather. But somewhat monolithic, nothing too exciting. It leans toward sweetness, in a smooth and rounded sense. Feels polished. There are no hard angles remaining. Drinking well, I suppose. Actually was a nice pairing to enchiladas con mole!
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#2 Post by Matthew King » May 14th, 2019, 10:33 am

Keep your eyes open for wines from Stella di Campalto during your trip. Her wines have a savory edge and lighter touch that would appeal to your Burg-loving palate.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#3 Post by Dennis Atick » May 14th, 2019, 10:38 am

This is what I have heard Matthew! I was going to try to visit there, but I am not a long-time customer with history and she is not an easy visit to get. Will be looking for her wines around town. Thanks!
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#4 Post by John Kight » May 14th, 2019, 11:49 am

Matthew King wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 10:33 am
Keep your eyes open for wines from Stella di Campalto during your trip. Her wines have a savory edge and lighter touch that would appeal to your Burg-loving palate.
If Dennis has a Burg-oriented palate, then this producer in particular would NOT be one he would be likely to enjoy. There are many other producers (Fuligni, Lisini, Livio Sassetti, Altesino, etc.), whose wines, with 10+ years of age, might be more in his wheelhouse. That said, I'm surprised he hasn't yet found any BdM that inspires him, and it may just be that Sangio isn't going to be his thing. While Sangio and Burg share a few similarities--bright/tart acidity and red fruit--they are also quite different.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#5 Post by Matthew King » May 14th, 2019, 12:07 pm

Well John, I have a Burg-oriented palate and I certainly enjoy Stella’s wines.

I find them red fruited and succulent, with a savory/herbal quality ... characteristics I associate with people who like Burg.

They seem less brooding and monolithic than most BDMs, with some lift. Particularly her sheep-in-wolves-clothing Rossos.

But I’m no expert! [smileyvault-ban.gif]

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#6 Post by Dennis Atick » May 14th, 2019, 12:31 pm

I'll let you guys fight it out [berserker.gif]

John- Ive had Fuligni, Altesino, Lisini, Poggio Antico. Both young bottles and bottles with 15+ years. They are good wines. Well made, sound. They just lack some tertiary personalities and characteristics that I look for, especially in older wines. The young bottles can be tannic and show too much alcohol, and bottles with 15- 20 years feel more tired and less inspiring than I'd hoped. I feel about them the way I feel about a lot of mid-range CA Cabernet. It's just not a style that excites me. Again, I've drank and enjoyed the wines, like this Uccelleira, and people I shared them with have enjoyed them, they just don't take me where aged Burgundy, Cornas, Chinon or Steve Edmunds Syrahs do (just some things I like). Maybe Sangiovese just isn't my thing. I'll be there in June and perhaps I'll have an epiphany closer to the source. [cheers.gif]

Oh, and one technicality- I have not found bright-tart red fruit and acidity in BdM to the degree I like as in red burgundy.

Thanks, guys, for the conversation.
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#7 Post by Rory K. » May 14th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Never a better time to love Brunello! Problem with those mid to late 90s bottles however, is many producers were hardcore spoofing their Brunelli. There are a number of estates in Montalcino that have the same narrative of going all in on big, dark, barrique aged Sangiovese in the 1990s, and then dialed it back starting in the late 00s. Brunello for me is best, and most classic when it is done in a Burgundian style, and I think that is more common now than in the 90s.
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#8 Post by ky1em!ttskus » May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm

I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#9 Post by Joshua Kates » May 14th, 2019, 4:16 pm

Dennis Atick wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:31 pm
I'll let you guys fight it out [berserker.gif]

John- Ive had Fuligni, Altesino, Lisini, Poggio Antico. Both young bottles and bottles with 15+ years. They are good wines. Well made, sound. They just lack some tertiary personalities and characteristics that I look for, especially in older wines. The young bottles can be tannic and show too much alcohol, and bottles with 15- 20 years feel more tired and less inspiring than I'd hoped. I feel about them the way I feel about a lot of mid-range CA Cabernet. It's just not a style that excites me. Again, I've drank and enjoyed the wines, like this Uccelleira, and people I shared them with have enjoyed them, they just don't take me where aged Burgundy, Cornas, Chinon or Steve Edmunds Syrahs do (just some things I like). Maybe Sangiovese just isn't my thing. I'll be there in June and perhaps I'll have an epiphany closer to the source. [cheers.gif]

Oh, and one technicality- I have not found bright-tart red fruit and acidity in BdM to the degree I like as in red burgundy.

Thanks, guys, for the conversation.
I hear you, Dennis,

but Montevertine, Cerbaiona, and Cerbaiola, will do it for me, fwiw; never had a Soldera, so can't speak to that.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#10 Post by John Morris » May 14th, 2019, 4:32 pm

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm
I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.
That's where I come out, too. Though there was one Montevertine that was pretty extraordinary....
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#11 Post by Marcus Dean » May 14th, 2019, 4:42 pm

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm
I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.
Well said and plus 1, I have had some that I have really enjoyed, but never one that has confounded me.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#12 Post by Dennis Atick » May 14th, 2019, 4:52 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:16 pm

I hear you, Dennis,

but Montevertine, Cerbaiona, and Cerbaiola, will do it for me, fwiw; never had a Soldera, so can't speak to that.
Same on Soldera. Have not tried the others. Maybe I'll get to them.
Marcus Dean wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:42 pm
ky1em!ttskus wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm
I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.
Well said and plus 1, I have had some that I have really enjoyed, but never one that has confounded me.
Seems many of us are of similar mind.
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#13 Post by Justin S » May 15th, 2019, 5:33 am

Dennis, you probably should be looking at wines from Chianti rather than Brunello. Just less oak, sometimes less alcohol, and brighter tarter red fruit. Of course there are exceptions but Brunello is where I go for a more heavy handed wine. I don’t think you will have a transcendental experience but maybe it will be more to your liking stylistically.

I really like Uccelliera, but agree it is a crowd pleasing wine that can still be pleasant to a classical leaning palate. And you can drink it relatively early (the 2010 I had a few months back was fine with a decant though primary).

I started on Italian wine and only more recently have greatly expanded the amount of France in my cellar. That said, it is BAROLO that competes with Burgundy IMO. I view Brunello more like Bordeaux for some reason. Of course there are bruisers and more elegant examples in each Italian region.
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#14 Post by Dennis Atick » May 15th, 2019, 6:49 am

Justin S wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 5:33 am
Dennis, you probably should be looking at wines from Chianti rather than Brunello. Just less oak, sometimes less alcohol, and brighter tarter red fruit. Of course there are exceptions but Brunello is where I go for a more heavy handed wine. I don’t think you will have a transcendental experience but maybe it will be more to your liking stylistically.

I really like Uccelliera, but agree it is a crowd pleasing wine that can still be pleasant to a classical leaning palate. And you can drink it relatively early (the 2010 I had a few months back was fine with a decant though primary).

I started on Italian wine and only more recently have greatly expanded the amount of France in my cellar. That said, it is BAROLO that competes with Burgundy IMO. I view Brunello more like Bordeaux for some reason. Of course there are bruisers and more elegant examples in each Italian region.
Thanks, Justin. I agree about Barolo and Burgundy, and Barolo where I spend money on Italian wine. And I'm not looking to replicate Burgundy, hell, I don't drink all that much Burgundy (wish I could but $$$). What BdM lacks for me, is that it just doesn't become very interesting with age in my experience. It's not that BdM has to mimic one specific thing, it just needs to be more interesting, in general.

Thanks all for the comments.
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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#15 Post by John Kight » May 15th, 2019, 9:37 am

Marcus Dean wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:42 pm
ky1em!ttskus wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm
I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.
Well said and plus 1, I have had some that I have really enjoyed, but never one that has confounded me.
I think my expectation for wine may be lower than both of yours. I don't really ask for wine to routinely be "transcendental" or "confounding", although when it happens, of course, it's great.

I get a ton of enjoyment and pleasure out of many $30-$60 Sangio (CC, CCR and BdM) and in wines from France (Beaujolais and Jura), and in Spain (Rioja and occasionally Ribera del Duero--for example, just had a 2004 Pesquera (normal bottle), which was probably $28-$33 on release, and it FAR over-delivered any reasonable expectation for the price)....I don't often find comparable enjoyment at that price point in red Burgs. I can find a similar level of enjoyment for only about $10-$20 more (i.e. $40-$80 range) in Italy from Barbaresco, Barolo, Aglianico, Nerello Mascalese. For great red Burgs, seems like I have to pay a lot more.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#16 Post by Josh Grossman » May 15th, 2019, 10:17 am

What got me hooked was a bottle of 2001 Martoccia di Brunelli Luca Riserva. Then I tried a 2003 and 2004 of their regular bottling and found them mediocre. Right now I'm buying, Azienda Agricola San Giuseppe (their Rosso), Pian dell’Orino, and Pertimali (Livio Sassetti).

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#17 Post by Kelly Flynn » May 15th, 2019, 12:01 pm

Count me a sangio fan, but with an important caveat. Sangiovese, even more so than most Italian wines, simply demands food. Red sauce does the trick for me.

As a broader point, I think any tastings sans food are silly for a beverage meant to be consumed with it.

I recently had an older Fontalloro that was absolutely singing with a sausage calzone. On a stand alone basis it likely would have been just ok.

All that said, even the greatest BdM is unlikely to take me to the same place as the greatest bdx or burg.

Excellent points on the 1990s Frankenstein-giovese.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#18 Post by Rob Lynch » May 15th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Rory K. wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:33 pm
Never a better time to love Brunello! Problem with those mid to late 90s bottles however, is many producers were hardcore spoofing their Brunelli. There are a number of estates in Montalcino that have the same narrative of going all in on big, dark, barrique aged Sangiovese in the 1990s, and then dialed it back starting in the late 00s. Brunello for me is best, and most classic when it is done in a Burgundian style, and I think that is more common now than in the 90s.
Barrique is about the worst thing ever done to BdM...

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#19 Post by brodie thomson » May 15th, 2019, 3:23 pm

Marcus Dean wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:42 pm
ky1em!ttskus wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:50 pm
I like Sangio. I even really, really like Sangio. It has never been a transcendental variety for me. I adjust my buying accordingly and now really only by RdMs.
Well said and plus 1, I have had some that I have really enjoyed, but never one that has confounded me.
2009 Soldera Case Basse did it for me. Personally I compare Soldera Case Basse to Ch Rayas - transcendent and above everyone else

Best Sangiovese I have ever had, unanimous WOTN with 2001 Giacosa RL Rocche del Falletto, 2004 G. Mascerello Monprivato, 2004 G Conterno Monfortino and other top Italians.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#20 Post by John Kight » May 16th, 2019, 6:25 am

Kelly Flynn wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 12:01 pm
I recently had an older Fontalloro that was absolutely singing with a sausage calzone.
All that said, even the greatest BdM is unlikely to take me to the same place as the greatest bdx or burg.
Yes, but....Fontalloro is $45. "The greatest bdx or burg" are $250-$2,000." There are lots of great Sangio for under $100, and many for $40-$60. There are no "great" Bordeaux or Burgs for that price. And for my money, the best sub-$100 Sangios (Ceparello, Montevertine, Livio Sassetti, Il Poggione, Costanti...and even the much-more-modern Uccelliera) give more pleasure than the best sub-$100 Bordeaux and $100 Burg.

I guess maybe it all comes down to budget. I don't dispute that for $250+, there's a lot of Burgundy that's better than Brunello. But I simply don't and can't spend that much money to go with dinner, and it seems strange to me to even compare the two when the pricing is so different.

I will likely always be focused on what wines can give me the greatest pleasure for $30-$40 (Foillard's Morgan Cote du Py, many great Chianti Classico Riservas), $40-$50 (La Rioja Alta's Gran Reserva 904, Mastroberardio Radici Taurasi, Fontalloro, many solid BdMs, Barolo, Barbaresco), or $50-$60 (many of the BdM listed above, such as Livio Sassetti), with occasional splurges (still well under $100) on Ceparello, Montevertine, Muga's Prado Enea, Tempier Migoua or Tourtine, etc.

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Re: TN: 1995 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino

#21 Post by Dennis Atick » May 16th, 2019, 6:45 am

John Kight wrote:
May 16th, 2019, 6:25 am

Yes, but....Fontalloro is $45. "The greatest bdx or burg" are $250-$2,000." There are lots of great Sangio for under $100, and many for $40-$60. There are no "great" Bordeaux or Burgs for that price. And for my money, the best sub-$100 Sangios (Ceparello, Montevertine, Livio Sassetti, Il Poggione, Costanti...and even the much-more-modern Uccelliera) give more pleasure than the best sub-$100 Bordeaux and $100 Burg.

I guess maybe it all comes down to budget. I don't dispute that for $250+, there's a lot of Burgundy that's better than Brunello. But I simply don't and can't spend that much money to go with dinner, and it seems strange to me to even compare the two when the pricing is so different.

I will likely always be focused on what wines can give me the greatest pleasure for $30-$40 (Foillard's Morgan Cote du Py, many great Chianti Classico Riservas), $40-$50 (La Rioja Alta's Gran Reserva 904, Mastroberardio Radici Taurasi, Fontalloro, many solid BdMs, Barolo, Barbaresco), or $50-$60 (many of the BdM listed above, such as Livio Sassetti), with occasional splurges (still well under $100) on Ceparello, Montevertine, Muga's Prado Enea, Tempier Migoua or Tourtine, etc.
John- No doubt on the value play compared to Burgundy. Thanks for the all info here- helpful.
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