Just a 10-minute drive from the scenic village of Montalcino is the Mocali estate, comprising 32 hectares of olive groves and vines of the region’s signature Sangiovese grape. The history of this family owned and operated estate presents a parallel to the story of its home region, where 25 pioneer vintners (among them Dino Ciacci of Mocali) banded together to form a consortium and place Brunello di Montalcino wines on the map as some of the best that Tuscany (and Italy) has to offer. Today the estate offers a range of beautiful wines, combining both tradition and modernity in their production, and clearly expressing the essence of Sangiovese, along with the stunning terroir in which it is grown.
A Consortium of Pioneers in Montalcino
It often happens in the world of wine that the combined efforts of a passionate few results in remarkable changes for a region, a style. In the year 1967, those passionate few were a group of 25 vignerons who truly believed in the terroir of Montalcino in Tuscany, banding together to form the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino with the aim to put this region on the map. One of those ambitious 25 was Dino Ciacci, founder of Mocali estate. Although the consortium now includes over 200 producers, the original founding members share a special status and honor within the organization. It was them, after all, who first recognized the potential of this land, long before the rest of the world did.
A Frost Leads Mocali to Refocus on Wine
Like many other estates in Montalcino at that time, Mocali was a diversified farm from its beginnings in the 1950’s. Along with grapes, the property planted olive groves to produce olive oil, along with cheese. In the year 1985, a harsh frost hit the terroirs of Italy and was particularly harmful in the Montalcino region, decimating the olive trees at Mocali. Instead of replanting these olive groves after the frost, Dino’s nephew Tiziano and his wife Alessandra decided to plant vines in their place. Up until the 1980’s the estate had grown grapes to be sold and made into table wines to enjoy among friends. It was Tiziano who first focused on bottling and commercializing the estate’s wine. The first vintage available on market was 1990, with an average production of just 500 cases. Since then, the estate has increased their offer tenfold, producing 5000 cases of Brunello from 20 hectares of vines. In 2001, the couple purchased 20 hectares of land in the Maremma, in the Magliano region of Tuscany, where they produce their Morellino di Scansano wine.
A Word on Terroir and Winemaking at Mocali
The Mocali estate is located at an altitude of 350 meters above sea level in the southwest of Montalcino. The vineyard is planted near a Mediterranean forest of oak and pine, and enjoys a panoramic view of the Montalcino valley and the slopes of Monte Amiata extending to the Maremma. The property covers 32 hectares, 2 of which are planted with olive trees and around 10 with specialized vines. In the midst of a pine forest is the Raunate vineyard, also home to the remains of ancient kilns used for the production of quicklime, locally known as Balsano. The soil here is very rich in minerals, with marl and limestone alternating with sand and clay, giving the estate’s 100% Sangiovese wines an unusual and intriguing touch of minerality. The vines are planted at a density of 5,000 vines per hectare and are pruned with cordon ramming to 0.80 meter.
The estate follows a traditional style of winemaking. The wines undergo fermentation in tonneaux of French oak or stainless steel tanks, depending on the label. Their Brunello classico wines are aged exclusively in large French and Slavonian oak casks. In 1996 the estate decided to expand and began producing wines under a new label called Poggio Nardone. These wines, aged in 500 liter casks (25% of which are new each year), are considered the estate’s more modern expression of Brunello.