The love for Brunello di Montalcino is unyielding: for us Italians is an unshakable certainty, considering it is our most famous and appreciated red wine (along with Barolo) all over the world. This type of wine has today reached full maturity of style thanks to its unquestionable quality, which reaches the highest levels. Among the many Brunello wines I have tasted, there is, however, one that I could define my “heart’s Brunello” simply because it was one of the first tastings of my sommelier course. It really was “love at first sip”, believe me!
I’m talking about the “Ugolaia” Riserva (Reserve) from the Lisini company. An amazing Brunello! I’ll tell you all about it shortly.
First, however, a few words about this vineyard (an authentic jewel for the quality of its lands and the dynamism of entrepreneurship): the estate extends for 154 hectares (24 of which are dedicated to vine cultivation) and lies in the southern part of the municipality of Montalcino. The quality of the soil and the winds of the nearby Maremma Toscana contribute to a particularly favorable microclimate for the growth of the Sangiovese grosso grapes. The average altitude of the vineyards is 350 meters above sea level.
You should also know that before Brunello, Lisini was already famous for the quality of its Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Olives and vineyards have benefited fully from favorable climate conditions. It is also fair to know the history of the producers.
The origins of the noble families of Lisini and Clementi in Montalcino date back to the sixteenth century. One of the most prominent figures of the time was captain Silvio Clementi, a true forefather. In 1846, the two families of Clementi and Lisini were linked by the marriage of Francesca Clementi with Lodovico Lisini: the Clementi properties of S.Angelo in Colle were added to those of the Lisini family, located in Radda in Chianti.
But the man who realized the great promise of Montalcino’s vineyards is, however, Lodovico Lisini. It was he who understood the enormous potential of the territory, and began to plant and cultivate many vineyards, many of which are still in production (for example in Le Capannelle).
After Lodovico died in 1950, the company’s management passed to his daughter Elina, who in 1962 became the administrator until 2009, the year of her death.
Elina has always worked with passion and tenacity, enhancing the fame and success of the Lisini company in the difficult period between the ’60s and’ 70s. In 1967 Elina founded, along with other 24 companies, the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino, of which she was chairman for some time.
Currently, her grandchildren Carlo, Lorenzo and Ludovica are the successors and heirs of the work of Elina, in the name of their ancestral tradition.
Brunello Ugolaia takes its name from the vineyard of the same name facing southwest and from the selection of the best scions, grafted on wild plants by the “veterans” of the company. I tasted the Ugolaia Vintage Reserve 2011 in the last preview “Benvenuto Brunello”.
Tasting notes: This is a Brunello that manages to synthesize fresh notes with the most evolved ones from vinification. There are faint aromas of small berries, violet flowers and Mediterranean scrub, wet ground and mushroom. There is also a remarkable balsamic fabric that supports the aromatic part. The taste is intense yet graceful: you notice the perfect tannins, flavor, finesse and a long and pleasant closing, on a trail of juicy blacbberries. Only 6,000 bottles are produced and only in the best vintage. This Brunello can be enjoyed with satisfaction even in 15-25 years.
Some technical data: vinification in steel tanks with a duration varying from 20 to 26 days; Fermentation at a controlled temperature of 24 ° to 26 ° C; Aged in Slavonian oak barrels ranging from 20 to 52 hectoliters for a period of 48 months. Further aging in the bottle for 6-8 months.
Retail price: € 62 – $ 71, My rating: 95/100
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