Canalicchio di Sopra was founded in 1962 by Primo Pacenti. It later passed into the hands of his son, Pier Luigi, and is today run by the third generation of siblings, Simonetta, Marco and Francesco. With 37 acres of vineyards the estate produces about 55,000 bottles annually. The estate makes Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino. Both are 100% Sangiovese. The wines regularly earn praise from reviewers. Gambero Rosso frequently gives the Canalicchio di Sopra Brunellos the journal’s highest rating of 3 glasses, calling them “neoclassic Brunellos. Traditional in ageing, in 20- to 30- hectoliter barrels, and contemporary in their healthy, luscious appearance, they have long since given some of the best and most coherent performances in the DOC zone.” Wine Advocate has written that “Canalicchio di Sopra is today among the most articulate narrators of the Sangiovese story.”
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.