These wines have a distinctive personality...

It is hard not to be won over by the passion and commitment of Giancarlo Pacenti of Siro Pacenti.

Bordeaux-trained, some of his approaches might be considered extreme in the Montalcino context, but they give his wines a very distinctive personality.

He ages almost exclusively in barriques, for example, at least a third of which are new every year.

Grape selection is one of his great preoccupations.



In 2015 he installed, alongside the usual manual selection table, an electronic optical sorter, which not only discards spoiled berries but can also select by weight, size or even the thickness of the skins of individual berries.

Pacenti sources his fruit from two properties with very different growing conditions. Pelagrilli to the north of the village has younger vines, more clay in the soils and a cooler climate.

Piancornello in the south is hot and stony.

The Vecchie Vigne selection from the latter is full-on Mediterranean in character; big and deep and powerful. Pelagrilli wines are more supple and more forward.

The common denominator is the pristine definition of the aromas – in which the oak is a classy but never over-powering presence – and the precision of the fruit.

Richard Baudains is the regional chair for Veneto in the Decanter World Wine Awards.