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The March 2023 Auction: Part 4

Auction # 755 | View Auction Schedule and Details
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Auction Ends: 3/23/2023 6:00:00 PM PDT

Lot #710. Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Description: Consists of 1 Bottle, 0.75L
Score: 94 AG.
"A dark, powerful wine, the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino hits the palate with intense dark fruit, smoke, tobacco, licorice, menthol and spices. In 2008, the estate's Brunello is decidedly powerful and brooding in style, with ferocious tannins that need time to settle down and enough overall structure to age for many years. A blast of game, smoke, licorice and incense reappears on the finish. The 2008 is a real powerhouse, partly because there was no Riserva bottled that year. Readers will have to be patient. Still, if I were looking for an under the radar Brunello that remains undiscovered, this would be it. Primo Pacenti was one of the true pioneers of Montalcino. Pacenti purchased his property in the Canalicchio district, on the northern edge of town, in 1952, well before Brunello di Montalcino as we know it today existed. At the time, the estate was planted with mixed grains and olives. Given today's standard of living and general wealth that has been created in the wine world over the last few decades, it is hard to imagine just how brutally hard the agrarian life was back then. Pacenti planted a hectare and a half of vineyards between 1958 and 1959 and made his first Brunello in 1966, the same year Brunello di Montalcino became a DOC wine. A year later, Pacenti was one of the founding members of the producers’ Consorzio, where he held leadership positions throughout his long, distinguished career. Sadly, Pacenti passed away in 2013, but he left behind a rich legacy. Pier Luigi Ripaccioli, Pacenti’s son-in-law, bought his property in Le Gode di Montosoli in 1958. Ripaccioli planted in the early 1970s and sold fruit to other wineries while he worked in the vineyards at Castelgiocondo. Holding down multiple jobs to make ends meet was typical back then. In 1987, Pacenti and Ripaccioli joined forces to create Canalicchio di Sopra pretty much as it exists today. Savvy readers will notice that wines bottled after 1987 show both estate names on the label (Canalicchio di Sopra and Le Gode di Montosoli) but it is only from the 1987 vintage on that fruit from both estates is used together in the wines. Canalicchio di Sopra went through a bit of a rough patch after Pier Luigi Ripaccioli's stroke in 1999, but things seem to have rebounded in a big way. Today, Ripaccioli’s children are in charge. Francesco makes the wines, his brother Marco tends the vineyards and their sister Simonetta takes care of hospitality. The estate’s Brunello is made of a blend from the Canalicchio and Montosoli properties and spends around 36 months in Slavonian oak botti. In the best years, Canalicchio di Sopra also makes a Riserva, which is sourced predominantly from a parcel of the oldest vines in Canalicchio plus 5-10% fruit from Montosoli. First produced in 1987, the Riserva sees about 42 months in cask. Beginning in 2003, the Riserva spends the first six months of its time in the cellar in French oak casks. The Riserva tends to be richer, deeper and riper than the straight bottling with, naturally, a bit of French oak influence. Within the broader context of Montalcino, both Brunellos are powerful, classic-leaning wines that need time to show some of the more refined qualities of the northern side of Montalcino. I find differences between the two Brunellos tend to be more stylistic than qualitative, especially in recent years. In many vintages, I prefer the straight bottling, although Francesco Ripaccioli contends the Riserva only shows its pedigree after ten years or so. Either way, both Canalicchio Brunellos are striking, full of personality and well worth checking out. Best of all, the wines will reward consumers with many years, and in some cases, decades, of exceptional drinking. Today, Canalicchio di Sopra is without question one of the most exciting properties in Montalcino." Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com, Mar 2015
Provenance: The Sillín Cellar
Lot Location: Orange County
Estimate: $300

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