An interview with Dario Ciacci,
Villa i Cipressi estate in Montalcino
Ciao Dario. Thank you for your time and congratulations on the awards and accolades that your wines are receiving.
How long has Villa i Cipressi estate been in your family?
Villa i Cipressi has been in our family for approximately 30 years. We are a boutique winery combined with other agricultural interests including beekeeping. It was in the 1990’s that sangiovese vines and olive trees were added to the estate. Our passion is to become as good as we can working the lands that we are fortunate to have in and around Montalcino.
Who was the person from your family that first planted Sangiovese vines?
Valerio Ciacci, my grand-father, was the first to understand that Sangiovese vines were perfect for our property. Then the tradition was carried on by his son (our father) Hubert and now with the support of his sons Frederico and Dario.
When were the vines first planted?
The first vines were planted more or less 20 years ago, but our first Brunello di Montalcino was the 2000 vintage, as we waited for the sangiovese vines to mature to the point where we could start to make great Brunello wines.
Can you describe the land on which your vines are planted?
The vineyards are located both in the south part of the territory and in the north-west part, and both are
exposed toward the south which allow the vines to receive the best sunlight throughout the day. The southern vineyard is located at an altitude of about 250 meters above sea level, with a soil primarily porous and sandy, that produce a grape with a great presence of alcohol, and a full-bodied and powerful, voluminous wine.
The second vineyard is located 450 meters above sea level, where the soil is mainly clayey and calcareous. That gives us a wine well perfumed and aromatic and with low acidity. Thanks to the natural barriers and the south/southwestern exposure, the vines benefit from a climate particularly moderate. This gives us the
advantage of blending the grapes from the different vineyards, which enrich and improves the quality of the wine.
How many hectares are planted with Sangiovese Grosso grapes?
The total extension of the vineyard is 3.5 hectares
Who is involved in the vineyard from your family today?
The whole family is now working in the estate, my mother and father, Patrizia and Hubert, my brother Federico and myself.
What is your philosophy in making wines?
Our philosophy is built around taking great care of all the stages of the production, from the vineyard to the wine-making, with the best choice of the grapes during the harvest, and carefully attention to the wines during fermentation and aging process. We also believe that our wines should be accessible to the marketplace so we have a really competitive quality-price ratio which enables us to have our wines appreciated all over the wine world.
What sets your wines apart from others?
Wine for us is the most sensuous expression of the agricultural culture. Our mission to achieve the highest natural quality also involves a quest to find for the best possible means down to the tiniest detail. Villa i Cipressi wines should be characterised by elegance and finessse, underpinned by impressive structure and backbone.
You have received high ratings for your wines in recent years. Are there any that stand out as special?
Our improvement over the years has allowed us to receive very high ratings in the last few years. Our Brunello di Montalcino2004 zebras released for the first time in Australia this year is surely a special wine, that can improve with aging. It recently received 95 points from Wine Spectator. We also have a very high opinion of the Brunello 2006 which is from a five star vintage year and was rated at 93 points.
Have your vintages changed over the years?
Our vines are becoming older, so that give to us a better quality on the vintage, in the meantime our method of selecting the best grapes is every year more meticolous. Our vintages are improving.
Can you tell us about the 2004 Villa i Cipressi Brunello Zebras?
Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Zebras is a special wine. We crafted this wine from a carefull selection of our best grapes and a 30-month aging in oak. It is a brilliant wine with a lively garnet color and with an intense, persistent, full and earthy aroma. Scents of brush lands, aromatic wood, a light trace of vanilla and a blend of fruit flavors can all be found in this wine. It is characterized by an elegant, harmonic and strong body. It is dry and its flavor presents a pronounced aromatic persistence. Thanks to its qualities, it can withstand lengthy ageing, improving with time. Its name is inspired by a painting by Waltraud Redl which also has become the decoration of our cellar.
We quite like the Rosso you produce and you seem to be receiving great comments on this wine?
Rosso di Montalcino is a younger wine that combines the special characteristics of vivacity and freshness with a superb structure. This very drinkable wine is advised to be enjoyed when it is young, although it can withstand lengthy ageing.
We think that with Rosso we can see how far an estate can arrive, with the great comments that we receive every day for our Rosso di Montalcino. We are very confident about the quality and finesse of our 2009 Rosso di Montalcino.
What are the first wines you will be bringing into Australia?
Through our sole agent, Italian Wine Importers, we will be bringing our wine from the 2004, 2006 and 2009 vintages. The Brunello di Montalcino from 2004 and 2006 and the Rosso di Montalcino from 2009.
When will we see you visit Australia?
We hope to visit this big country very soon. Australia in our thoughts is one of our favorite countries.