SIRO PACENTI is a winery in the Montalcino region of Tuscany, just north of the town. It was founded by Siro Pacenti in 1970 when he bought the land. Since 1988 it has been run by his son Giancarlo. The estate has vines on both sides of Montalcino, in the Canalicchio area north of the town (where the winery is) and south of the town in the Sesta sub-region (see the Piancornello winery for details).

OWNER Giancarlo Pacenti.

BACKGROUND Sirò Pacenti bought the estate in 1970. Siro’s son Giancarlo Pacenti took over in 1988. He switched the estate from being a classic Tuscan estate with cereals, animals and olive trees to vines. He is not tempted by Merlot or Cabernet.

STAFF Oen consultant is Mauro Monicchi (in 2017).

VINEYARDS 60 hectares (acres) of land of which 20 hectares (acres) are grain crops, 20 hectares (acres) are woodland and olives, and 22 hectares (acres) are Sangiovese of which 18.5 hectares (acres) for Brunello di Montalcino, 1.5 hectares (acres) for Rosso di Montalcino and 0.5 hectares (acres) for Sant’Antimo. Like many Brunello producers, he has vines on either side of the town.

PELAGRILLI (WINERY) VINEYARD In Canalicchio in the cooler, northern part of Montalcimo and to the northeast of the town. Provide aromas and elegance. Near the house. Around 20 hectares of land which 13 hectares are vines. 5 plots. 350 metres. Open to continenatl winds. Blue clay, morillionites.  Also grow grain here.

PIANCORNELLO VINEYARD 5 hectares. The other two-thirds lie 20km away, at Piancornello in Sesta, on the other (south) side of Montalcino (south of Montalcino), between Sant’Angelo and the Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. In view of Monte Amiata. These vines were planted at the end of the 1960s by Giancarlo Pacenti’s maternal grandfather. Piancornello vines “sono posti su terreni ricchi di minerali, ciottoli e roccia macinata. Il clima è più caldo e i vini sono strutturati e potenti, con tannini dolci e rotondi, tipici del Sangiovese. Maurizio Castelli told me on Sunday 28th Sept 2014 the terroir at the Piancornello winery to which he consults was a plateau of “argilla ferrosi calcarei” (yes). Clay, with schelt, red soil magnesium and ferro. Galet roulets. Nearly like the Maremma. 1970s vines.

CLONES Doing their own massale on the Piancornello vines. Also Guillaume MG78. And Lombardini G7, very small bunches.

PICKING 2 weeks difference between the sites.

WINERY On the north side of Montalcino, with views towards the town, under the house.

WINEMAKING 2017 (Visit) Worked with Glories since mid-1990s. Divides parcels up at harvest, so blocks get picked exactly ripe. Optical sorting. Very useful. In 1995 Giancarlo Pacenti switched from Slavonian oak vats to small French oak barrels to get more structure for more ageable wines. Does not want vanilla from the barrels, just the oxygenating effect on the wine but without using micr-ox. He also began blending the component parts of the blend earlier, too to minimise the barrel effect. The Brunello is aged in small French barriques, low toast, want clean wood, complex cleaning system to avoid infection. “Bordeaux winery, Burgundy wine.” 30% new oak usually. Rack using compressed air. Peristaltic pumps. Age wood for their barrels 20 years. Small oak = not for wood taste but to oxygenate, soften tannins. Humid barrel cellar. Bottles early.

WINEMAKING STYLE Long-standing collaboration with the University of Bordeaux paid huge dividends in 2003. “Giancarlo Pacenti is a modernist who makes complex wines,” (Atkin, T: BdiM, 2013). In 2005 Maro Monicchi was hired as consultant and 2006 was his first vintage, ‘the final year before climate change really took hold.’ Climate change can only be dealt with in the vineyard. Protect, shade but not block it. “Harvesting the grapes cool helps. Get hot weather at harvest now. 23ºC. Hard to get 8º with grapes in small boxes. Carri frigo. Hard to chill grapes in a tank. Non Sacc yeast for cool start. Selected yeast need N. In cantina poco da fare.” Cooler ferments, less extraction. Maybe with yeast which are less efficient at converting but he has never used these. Length and way of extraction: phenolic maturity is key. “Have to decide whether to extract more during juice or as wine. Thickness of skins important.” ‘Violent tannins’ avoid. Can get a bit of bitterness Need experience. “Analysis is great. But chewing grapes out in the field is fundamental. Much harder in the winery, now.”

WINES

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC The website (2014) says this comes from 15-25 year old vines. 30,000 bottles. Aged in French oak.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, PELAGRILLI The entry level Brunello. 2008 Ages 24 months in French oak barriques. Odd year. Hard tannins and high acid initially, but the wines did come round. 2009 L2 247. 15%. Nice deep colour. Sweet entry, lots to this, well handled, modernist in terms of the way the fruit is textured with the fruit and oak tannin. Suave and rich, almost like a ripasso but without the mossy element. Well handled and satisfying but might some argue it is atypical? at the Consorzio Tues 27th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata and others.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, SIRO PACENTI From both sites. 1999 Modern style red with decent texture but a bit international and with excess acetone says Hans at Il Pozzo on Thursday 13th Jan 2005 with Pepe and Hans. 2000 Youthful, new oak, extracted at Benvenuto Brunello 18 Feb 2005. 2002 None released. 2006 14.5%. Again smooth and spicy. 100% new wood. Does not dominate. 2009 L2 247. 15%. Well made, bit mossy, crisp/ripe contrast, plenty of texture at the Consorzio Tues 27th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata and others. 2006 14.5%. Again smooth and spicy. 100% new wood. Does not dominate.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG VV The old vine Vecchie Vigne cuvee was drawn mainly from vines in the south until around 2007. Now vines in the north for the PS Riserva are better, riper due to climate change but mainly better viticulture N part (big, acidic grapes have become smaller, riper ones with grassing). b Exists. 2012 Vecchie Vigne. L6312. 14.5%. Lovely sweet, crunchy fruit, well balanced, clean and crunchy. 29,000 bottles. Hot dry year. Armit, Laytons.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG RISERVA, PS From old vines. From a single plot planted by Siro Pacenti on the north side of Montalcino in the early 1970s. Only bottled in the best years. Unfiltered. 2007 Was bottled. 2008 No. 2009 No. 2010 Was bottled.

CONTACT Sirò Pacenti, Località Pelagrilli 1, I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy / Tel+39 0577.848662 Email pacentisiro@libero.it/ Website www.siropacenti.it