Villa I Cipressi is an organic estate winery in Montalcino in Tuscany, Italy. Its main wines are Rosso di Montalcino DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. Owners the Ciacci family produce organic olive oil and honey, later adding vines. They made their first Brunello di Montalcino in the 2000 vintage.

Owners | Hubert Ciacci and Patricia Bernini, and their son Federico Ciacci (born 1981) who is an oenologist and manages the winemaking and the honey production, and his brother Dario Ciacci (born 1983) who manages the vineyard and winery visits. Mauro Monicchi consults.

Estate vineyards | 3.8ha on three sites, all of which are surrounded by woodland. There is a small vineyard next to the winery (see below), which is just south-east of the town of Montalcino itself. The other sites are located in Castelnuovo dell’Abate which is in the far south-east Montalcino, and in Tavernelle which is south-south-west of Montalcino. Vines are spur pruned, cordon. 2.5 metres between the rows, 0.80 metres between the vines. | Castelnuovo dell’Abate | The ‘Pianacci’ vineyard. 2 hectares in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Near Fanti. 300 metres. Calcareous soil but with a small presence of clay. Perfumed, structured wines with high sugars and low acidity. | Tavernelle | The ‘Fosso Buio’ vineyard’. 1.5 hectares near Friggiali (see Agricola Centolani, Tenuta Friggiali e Pietranera). Wooded zone. North-west facing slopes. 450 metres. Mainly silty-sandy soil. Ripens about 2 weeks later than the Sangiovese in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Wines with nerve and finesse. | Winery | 0.3ha. 600 metres. 100% Sangiovese. Yellow coloured limestone soils. Perfumed Sangiovese with good acidity.

Viticulture | Federico Ciacci told me (05 Oct 2018) 2010 was the first vintage in which he felt he had the vineyards and winery tailored to his way of working. ‘I want to be able to be more creative in the vineyard. I want clean grapes which are ripe but not over-ripe. Tools to achieve this include changes in the way the vines are pruned (moving away from or adapting cordon), the use of cover crops to get more organic matter in the soil and to encourage deeper rooting. I want to work with horses in the vineyards because you are far more connected to your land if you are walking it every day. I am a partner in a project, a joint initiative with Francesco Mulinari of L’Aietta and the people at Piombaia which has three shire horses. They live near the Piombaia winery. I want to work with horse. I want to make the estate as biodiverse as possible. Our vines are surrounded by woodland. We have put bird boxes up around the vineyard. These are designed to attract the right kinds of birds, like tits and robins which eat insects and grape berry moth larvae rather than attracting birds which eat grapes like starlings. Finally, I want to change how the vines are pruned. There are a lot of issues with esca (he did his university thesis on esca), so I am thinking about changing the pruning from spurred cordon to guyot (‘capovolto toscano‘).

Organic certification | 2016 First vintage with full organic certification.

Winery | The cellar is underground. It was painted in a style inspired by Waltraud Redl, an Austrian friend of Hubert and Patrizia which led also to the creation of “Zebras”, the estate’s top Brunello di Montalcino DOCG wine.

Winemaking | Federico Ciacci told me (05 Oct 2018) he took 6 rather than 3 years to complete his winemaking degree at the Agrarian  University in Florence (2003-2009). He divided study with hands-on experience, completing work experience with Giancarlo Pacenti of the Siro Pacenti winery during his study. ‘I learnt the fundamental importance of hygiene, especially regarding wooden vats and barrels. The guiding principle is to create and maintain a winery which is clean, but not sterile, so there is space for wild (ambient) yeast and bacteria which are beneficial, and not the kind of yeast and bacteria which will ruin the taste of your wine.’ His first vintage on his own in the family winery was 2006. Federico says 2010 was the first vintage for which he felt he had the vineyards and winery the way he wanted them.

Red wines

Rosso di Montalcino DOC | 2012 8,000 bottles. Steel only. Nice and gentle at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2013 6,000 bottles. Easy classic, drinkability and bright and clean at Benvenuto Brunello 2015. | 2014 Simple but sticky then tight ball with not much end but pleasurable at Benvenuto Brunello 2016.

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG | 2000 Their first Brunello. Very nice style of fruit, bit dry at finish but sexy modern and well put together, some blackcurrant note maybe but also good Sangiovese fruit at Benvenuto Brunello 18 Feb 2005. | 2009 10,000 bottles. 60% aged in barrel (20% new) and 40% in botti. Nice and gentle in terms of weight, firm tannin and sweet fruit over the top, nicely weighted at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2010 6,000 bottles. Nice sweet fruit, classic at Benvenuto Brunello 2015. | 2011 Lovely sticky fruit, quite dense, clear and ripe at Benvenuto Brunello 2016. | 2013 14.5%. Based on vines in both Castelnuovo dell’Abate and Tavernelle. Fermented in squat steel tanks. Aged in oak barrels (225-litre), then wooden vats. This was very smooth, with lots of intensity but without being blockbusterish. The oak notes were well integrated and clean and complemented the fruit. Satisfyingly rich and refreshing, sapid and clear. Balanced fruit tannins and wood tannins (tasted at the winery 07 Oct 2018). | 2014 One of the better 2014s, with ripeness to both tannin and fruit, and with bright, clear red cherry and cranberry flavours when tasted at Benvenuto Brunello on 15 Feb 2019.

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva, Selezione Zebras | From Sangiovese in Tavernelle2009 4,000 bottles. Not too oaky on the nose, but get oak at finish so yet to settle down at Benvenuto Brunello 2014. | 2010 5,000 bottles. Sweet and oaky and savoury at Benvenuto Brunello 2015. | 2010 Just opened, OK, a bit tight but clear, clean at Benvenuto Brunello 2016. | 2013 14.5%.

Contact

Villa I Cipressi

Località I Cipressi, I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy

Tel+39 (0)577.848640 | www.villacipressi.it