Fornacella is a certified organic estate winery in Località Fornacella in the Montalcino region of Tuscany, Italy. Fornacella’s main wines are Sant’Antimo Rosso DOC, Rosso di Montalcino DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. Fornacella is certified organic.
Owner: Marco Ciacci (b.1984). His parents are Franco (b.1953) and Tiziana. Franco’s father was called Alvaro (b.1933 Montalcino. d.2004). Alvaro went to school in Montalcino. He worked as a mezzadro or share-cropper for Poggio alle Mura (Banfi) until 1979. In 1976 he bought this estate (from someone called Fanti I think). There was a house, the olives and some promiscuous culture vineyards. See vineyards below for more detail.
Staff: Consultant Oen: Enzo Tiezzi advises [from the Tiezzi estate in Montalcino]. Tiezzi took over from Giuseppe Gorelli from Tenuta Le Potazzine whose style was said to have been more interventionist. Gorelli was hired after Massimo Albanese joined Poggio Nibbiale in the Scansano region of Tuscany.
Organic certification: 2000 First vintage with full organic certification (ICEA).
Vineyards: 2014 3ha of land of which 2.5ha are vines in three plots, one near the winery and the others in .
Vineyards–Località Fornacella: One plot is near the winery in Località Fornacella at 300-400 metres. No sand. Bit of galestro, stony clay. Mainly ‘arenarie‘ (sandstone) of the pietraforte type. The winery vineyard comprises 1.4ha. It was replanted and restructured by Alvaro from 1976. He built the house from the stones he pulled out of the ground. Old vines are now replaced individually. For this Franco uses the 420A which ‘starts slowly [in a field of mature vines] but is not too vigorous,’ Franco told me.
Vineyards–Castelnuovo dell’Abate: The other two vineyards are in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. They were bought in 1996 in Marco’s name as he qualified for EU handouts. It was a ‘now or never moment’ Franco told me (visit 2014). Vineyard prices were rising fast and through the roof. The two plots were not owned by the same person. They are on mainly sandy terrain consisting of galestro schist, with the presence of fossils.
The Pianacci vineyard in Castelnuovo dell’Abate comprises 0.44ha. It is located opposite the La Poderina estate and near the La Fiorita estate. Terrain is 100% galestro. Planted 1996. Partly on SO4 rootstock, and partly on 420A. ‘I had to plant the with rootstocks I was given, Franco told me (visit 2014). Another vineyard nearby in Sant’Antimo comprises 0.4ha of Sangiovese (Brunello) and 0.3ha of Sangiovese (Rosso di Montalcino). The vines are near the abbey of Sant’Antimo on what looks like yellowish stony-clay (arenaria is how they describe it). It was planted in 2000 on 420A.
Viticulture: Franco Ciacci told me (26 June 2014) he starts pruning in January under the waning moon (between full moon and new moon). The vineyards are pruned to bilateral spurred cordons (‘cordone speronato bilaterale’). Weeds are dealt with with an under-vine weeder, or by hand “con la zappa”. Mid-rows are ploughed. Early season copper-based sprays are applied, followed by sulfur. Copper is applied post-flowering (either powder or liquid. Franco prefers liquid). Water shoots are removed before the wires are raised. Then the water shoots are removed again after the wires are raised. Water shoots are removed on both sides of the row ‘for steadier ripening.’
Winemaking: The label says the wines are “hand picked and natural”. No yeast is added. Alcoholic fermentation is either in oak or stainless steel for 20-25 days. MLF can happen on skins. The cellar can be warmed if need be. Brunello’s age in 10-30hl botti. All lots are kept apart until blending. Some wine is also sold in bulk (‘sfuso’).
Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Fornacella: Hand picked. 8 months in botti. | 2004 Bright fruit, glycerol sweetness, good (Anteprima 2006). | 2012 6,000 bottles. 14.46%. 6.7g/l of acid. 32 g/l of extract. Bright clear cherry (Anteprima 2014). | 2013 6,780 bottles. Fresh, bright and creamy (Anteprima 2015).
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Fornacella: 2000 Dry fruit, light (Anteprima 2005). | 2001 Good evolution, crispness, fresh blackcurrant fruit, light to medium weight, length too (Anteprima 2006). | 2009 4,600 bottles. Inviting red cherry fruit (Anteprima 2014). | 2010 4,633 bottles. Balanced moreish bright fruit (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 Some mushroom, savoury fruit underneath, delicate in the San Quirico bar Sat evening 22 Oct 2016 with Einar’s Norwegian tourist group. | 2012 Sweet fruit plus some funk, really nice, needs a bit of polish (Anteprima 2017). | 2014 Slightly stalky nose, a little thin, tannins slightly over-exposed over understated fruit (Anteprima 2019).
Sales: Mainly direct sales (mainly foreigners). Also to Japan, Germany and Trentino. | Other crops: Olive oil, grappa, honey.
Azienda Agricola Fornacella (Azienda Agricola Ciacci Marco)
Località Fornacella, 155
I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy
Visit 26 June 2014.