Sirò Pacenti is a winery in Località Pelagrilli in the Montalcino region of Tuscany, located just north of the town itself. The estate was founded by Sirò 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 (see vineyards, below).
Owner: Giancarlo Pacenti.
Background: Sirò Pacenti bought the estate in 1970. Sirò’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: Mauro Monicchi (in 2017).
Vineyards, wine production: 22ha producing 60,000 bottles (Gambero Rosso: 2015). 60 hectares (148 acres) of land of which 20 hectares (49 acres) are grain crops, 20 hectares (49 acres) are woodland and olives, and 22 hectares (54 acres) are Sangiovese of which 18.5 hectares (48 acres) for Brunello di Montalcino, 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) for Rosso di Montalcino and 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres) for Sant’Antimo. Like many Brunello estates the vines on either side of the town.
Pelagrilli (winery) vineyard: In Canalicchio in Montalcino’s cooler north, north-east of the town. Elegant wines with aromas. Near the house. Around 20 hectares of land which 13 hectares are vines. 5 plots. 350 metres. Open to continental winds. Blue clay, with sand, loam and montmorillonite. Also grow grain here.
Piancornello vineyard: This 5 hectare vineyard lies 19.9km (12.4 miles) from the winery at Località Piancornello in Sesta, on the other (south) side of Montalcino, between Sant’Angelo and the Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Either: Giancarlo Pacenti’s maternal grandfather planted these vines in the late 1960s–OR Alessandro Pieri’s third daughter, Graziella Pieri, married Sirò Pacenti and so her vines from the Piancornello estate were amalgamated into the Sirò Pacenti estate.
Clones: The estate is working on its own mass selection Sangiovese from its Piancornello vines. Also Guillaume MG78. And Lombardini G7, very small bunches.
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. There is a 14-day difference in ripening between the two vineyard sites–see above). 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: ‘Giancarlo Pacenti is a modernist who makes complex wines,’ (Tim Atkin MW, Brunello 2013 Report). He uses oak barrels but his wines are not obviously oaky. In 2005 Mauro Monicchi was hired as consultant and 2006 was his first vintage, ‘the final year before climate change really took hold,’ he told me, adding that ‘climate change can only be dealt with in the vineyard. You can protect or shade the grapes, but you cannot totally block its effects. Harvesting the grapes cool helps. Get hot weather at harvest now. 23ºC. Hard to get grapes with a temperature of just 8ºC if the grapes are in small boxes. Need portable refrigeration. Hard to chill grapes once they are in a fermentation tank. Non-saccharomyces yeast can provide cooler starts to ferment. Selected yeast need nitrogen. Cooler ferments mean less extraction. Phenolic maturity is key. Have to decide whether to extract mainly during the juice stage, the becoming wine stage, or the wine stage itself. Thickness of skins important. Avoid violent tannins. Need experience to avoid extracting bitterness. Need experience. Analysis is great. But chewing grapes out in the field is fundamental. But much much harder in the winery, now.’
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% alc. 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, Sirò Pacenti: Sangiovese from both sites either side of the town. | 1999 Modern style red with decent texture but a bit international and with excess acetone Hans Vinding observed (Il Pozzo, 13 Jan 2005 with Pepe Schib). | 2000 Youthful, new oak, extracted (Benvenuto Brunello 2005). | 2002 None released. | 2009 L2 247. 15% alc. Well made, bit mossy, crisp/ripe contrast, plenty of texture at the Consorzio Tues 27th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata and others. | 2016 14.5% alc. Again smooth and spicy. 100% new wood. Does not dominate.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG VV: The old vine Vecchie Vigne bottling was drawn mainly from vines in the south until around 2007. Now vines in the north for better suit the PS Riserva. This is partly due to climate change, but mainly a result of better viticulture in the northern vineyards (big, acidic grapes have become smaller, riper ones with inter-row grassing). | 2012 Vecchie Vigne. Hot dry year. L6312. 14.5% alc. Clear fruit, moreish and crunchy, well balanced, clean and crunchy. 29,000 bottles.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva: 1990 Produced.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva, PS: From old vines. From a single plot planted by Sirò Pacenti on the north side of Montalcino in the early 1970s. Only bottled in the best years. Unfiltered. | 2007 Bottled. 2008 Not made. | 2009 Not made. | 2010 Bottled.
Località Pelagrilli, 1
I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy
Visit to Sirò Pacenti 12th Sept 2017.