Mario Piccini represents the fourth generation of the family at the helm of the winery that has its roots in 1882. It all started with Angiolo: he bought seven hectares of vineyards in Poggibonsi, in the province of Siena, starting that which over the years became one of the most important wineries in Tuscany, and beyond. In fact, acquisition after acquisition, the Piccini brand can count on a park of over 200 hectares of vineyards, scattered over five estates in different areas of Tuscany and across three Italian regions. Fattoria di Valiano, 75 hectares of organically grown vines in Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the southern offshoot of Chianti Classico, represents the beating heart of the group, “It’s the family home,” says Mario, “our heritage, my dream.” With Tenuta Moraia we’re still in Tuscany but in the Maremma zone. Moving towards Montalcino we meet Villa al Cortile, 12 hectares between the area of Montesoli, on the northern side of the appellation, and Lavacchio, which is instead located to the south-west. We cross regional borders, and travel down to Basilicata, where the group acquired in 2010, the 15 hectares of vineyards of Regio Cantina, in Venosa, home of Aglianico del Vulture.
Finally, we skip over the Mediterranean Sea at the Messina Strait and conclude the trip to Sicily, on Etna, where the Torre Mora brand distinguishes the bottles of the three owned vineyards, grown organically in Rovittello and Linguaglossa. “The expansion of company boundaries,” explains Mario, “has always been marked by a precise objective: search for suitable terroirs to be enhanced through choices that respect the different identities.” Identity that is also at the centre of the current rebranding project initiated by the company, with the old “Tenute Piccini” brand that leaves room for the new Piccini 1882, “A new chapter in our history begins with Piccini 1882. If Tenute Piccini represented the plurality and the whole of our wineries, Piccini 1882 is unique: it’s the parent company that includes all the estates united in the values that have guided our works for 140 years.” Present in over 80 countries worldwide, the company, despite the pandemic, managed to record a positive balance in 2020: “It was a dramatic year from a social point of view and very complicated from a business point of view with the Ho .Re.Ca. sector which suffered substantial losses. However, we managed to quickly reorganize by enhancing the growth of sales in large-scale distribution and direct e-commerce.” Still on the health crisis, Mario adds: “Unfortunately, the pandemic has not yet shown signs of abating, so we continue to focus on the strength of the brand and consequently focus on our historical markets such as the United Kingdom and Germany, together with those nations that always demonstrated an excellent propensity to buy online, like the Netherlands. We also look forward to a substantial recovery in China. That said, the past twelve months have given a great boost to digital communication and online events, a trend that, in our opinion, will continue into the post-Covid phase, partly replacing a part of the meetings and trade fairs traditionally held in presence.”
As for the wines, generally based on a style that combines territorial identity and modernity, this year we were struck by a great version of the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione GS 6.38 by Fattoria di Valiano: 90% Sangiovese, with a small balance of Cabernet sauvignon and merlot, the 2016 vintage has an intriguing nose with notes of pepper, cherry and assorted spices, from cinnamon to cloves. On the palate the balance is precious: great aromatic consistency and a lively finish, with good length. The Vino in Musica ’16 is also very pleasant, an equal blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, with fresh vegetal and wild fruit notes. Still on the Tuscan front, good evidence also for Villa al Cortile’s Brunello di Montalcino ’15, which has a fresh aromatic profile dominated by notes of cherry enriched by tobacco and licorice, and a great persistence on the palate. As for Regio Cantina we point out two Aglianico del Vulture, the Genesi ’18 with character and fullness, and the Donpà ’17 with more advanced and mature tones. We close this brief review with Torre Mora, where the elegant Etna Bianco Scalunera ’19 shows off a wide and persistent olfactory range of white fruit, aromatic herbs and iodized mineral notes, revealing pleasantly fresh and savoury on the palate.
by William Pregentelli