After I had two great Chianti in the last days, here comes a huge disappointment. Normally a RdM is made for early consumption and should offer drinking pleasure. But it was really difficult to drink even a glass due to its opulence. On the second day I put it in the fridge and drank it with 9-10C, this helped.
About ten years ago, the 1999 Siro Pacenti BdM (also '99 Uccelliera) was one of the wines that really got me interested in Italian wine, and Brunello specifically. I stopped buying both about 5 years ago because they were getting to big and modern.
My guess is that your tastes changed over that period of time, rather than the wines themselves. While the 1999s were generally on the lighter side, the style of both of those wines is definitely “opulent” for Brunello, and I don’t think the style of either has gotten more modern or extracted during that timeframe.
I personally love Uccelliera (which is very fruit-forward, and plush), but am not so fond of Siro Pacenti, which I find to be too dark, dense and extracted (and often not very expressive). FWIW, I am fairly agnostic as to “style”…I probably find a greater number of traditionally-styled Brunello producers that I consistently enjoy (especially if drinking wines with 10+ years of age), but I find enough producers on both ends of the spectrum that produce thoroughly enjoyable wines, and Uccelliera is one of my favourite 4-5 producers in that category.
John, you are right about my tastes changing. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember those wines being 15 and 15.5% though. At that time, I was drinking mostly CA wines, so maybe they were, and I didn’t realize it. I still have a soft spot for Uccelliera, but I have stopped buying them (and everything else that is 15.5%) and will gradually drink through the few cases I have.
Tasted this wines at Vinitaly, and found it pretty impressive for a RdM. Yes, it’s ripe and large-scaled, but I found it balanced and very serious too. Despite being served way too warm. Their 2013 Brunello was awesome as well. Aged in Barriques, I know their style well, and have visited the estate a few times too; great people. That said, my personal stash of Brunello is all Botti aged stuff.
Funny, I actually never realized they were that high…I just went online and confirmed that, in fact, the 2010 and 2012 were both at 15.0%. (And the 2010 is completely delicious, btw!!) I’ve never actually noticed the Uccelliera to be hot or warm from alcohol, though I do tend to drink my wines on the cooler side, often straight from the cellar.
I will check some of the older bottles tonight out of curiosity–I think I’ve got at least a bottle or two of 2001 and possibly a 1999, as well as one lone bottle of Siro Pacenti from 1999 as well.
I am curious as to what you find with the 99 and 01. I bought 6 of 2010 Uccelliera but haven’t opened any. Looks like 11 was the last vintage I bought from Uccelliera (I thought that one was big), and 06 for Pacenti. I may open an 08 from Uccelliera this weekend as I haven’t tried any from that vintage either.
Unfortunately, I only had a bottle of the Uccelliera '01 “Riserva” (15%) and the normale '04 Uccelliera (14.5%). All my other vintages ('06-'12) claim exactly 15% alcohol on the label. I think that what happened is that they got lazy and designed a label (stating 15%) that they simply use in every vintage, knowing that in almost every vintage the alcohol is somewhere between 14% and 15%. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen Brunello with less than 13.5%, due to the warm climate in Montalcino as compared to other regions of Italy). I have a hard time believing the Uccelliera labels which claim that alcohol is 15% in every vintage from '06-'12. Most striking is that 2009 was a relatively cool vintage and yet the bottle still claims a 15% alcohol content.
FYI, I unexpectedly did find a bottle of Pacenti '97 which claims 13.5%, which seems very strange because that was an extremely hot, overripe vintage, and that particular Pacenti bottling is especially dense and extracted…My other Pacenti’s from later vintages simply have an identical “sticker” on them which says “Alcohol by Volume 14.1-15.0%”. (That generally means those bottles were not initially intended for import into the U.S., but later found their way here, likely via the grey market.
I’d be curious if anyone else here has a bottle of the '01 Uccelliera, or any earlier vintages for alcohol comparison purposes…