Celestino Pecci in Montalcino takes its name from its proprietor, who was born near the property. Although his parents wanted him to study for an office job in the city, he preferred working the land. So in 1968 the young Celestino Pecci acquired nearly 100 acres with two old farmhouses and devoted himself to growing grapes and making wine. Over the years the family worked the land and produced Brunello and olive oil. Today Celestino’s daughter Tiziana Pecci runs the operation, with help from her father and mother Idria. The estate makes Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino and Celestino, an IGT appellation Sangiovese. Reviewers have been complimentary and the wines have earned ratings in the mid-90s.
Brunello di Montalcino is regarded as one of Italy’s best appellations. Located in south central Tuscany below Chianti, the wines of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG are made of a Sangiovese clone called “brunello,” which means “little dark one,” a reference to the brown tones in the skin of the grape. Unlike some Tuscan appellations that allow other grapes to be blended with Sangiovese, Brunello di Montalcino is entirely Sangiovese. Montalcino itself is a picturesque, hill-top town not especially well known for wine production until the mid-19th century, when a local vineyard owner isolated the brunello clone and planted it. Other growers followed suit. Nevertheless it wasn’t until 1970s that wine enthusiasts started paying attention to Brunello di Montalcino, which by then was becoming an outstanding wine. Today there are 120 estates in the DOCG, up from about 25 estates in 1975. Brunellos in general are bigger, darker, more tannic and more powerful wines than Chiantis or most other Sangioveses. By law they must be aged for four years, and two of those years must be in wooden barrels.