Grape varieties: Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo
The first commercial release of Pacina was the 1987 vintage. When the replanted vines began to bear fruit, it was clear that their youthful expression would require another label, and thus Il Secondo was born in 2007 as the second wine of Pacina with all the characteristics of unbridled youth in a unique terroir (before the Il Secondo label made its appearance, there had already been a couple of trial runs with non-vintage Pacina Rosso).
The younger vineyards have since come of age, climate change has required rethinking the period of elevage, and the Pacina family has further understood the potential of its wines and place. The successor of Il Secondo is blended from Sangiovese vine stocks averaging 15 years. Donesco is then aged for around two years in cement and stainless steel.
Older vines and longer elevage bring more finesse to the vivacious expression of Pacina, rounding out its edges and contributing style to Il Secondo’s rusticity. Pacina has such a singular terroir that it invites the sensitive interpreter, in this case Stefano Borsa, to focus on the exciting nuances of the ancient seashore and its weathered fossilised sea shells, as opposed to unbridled raw youth.
Donesco opens with a warm embrace, notes of licorice, coriander powder and other exotic spice notes, iodine and balsamic notes of seaweed all of which give way to deep forest fruit and plums. There is an unmistakable Sangiovese, animal leather expression, coriander freshness lingers which balances the weight of the wine and further entices. There are also mature vegetal notes of artichoke cardoon leaves. A hint of wild mint appears afar.
The taste is impressive with depth and a remarkably dense nucleus. An aged aceto balsamico, reduced and slightly oxidised, a limestone acidity, a sandy filigree structure which tames the tannic structure, lightens and heightens Donesco, rendering its voluminous presence elegant.
The difference between cerebral wines and gastronomic delights is highlighted in the case of Donesco by how an impressive amount of tannin can be very present and yet very smooth. Impressive length at this price point. A healthy drying of the palate does not impede salivation. Ah, acidity is alive and very well built into the frame. How refreshing!
Donesco has an incredible price-quality ratio. It would be difficult to find worthy adversaries with as much unique personality, authenticity and complexity. We are currently selling the 2019 and 2020 vintages. BEWARE: This seriously convenient price can create confusion. If you enjoy simple, easygoing reds, please refrain from purchasing Donesco, unless you’re adventurous. Donesco will offer great pleasure to anyone looking for personality.
Just as local grape varieties pair well with regional cuisine, so do Pacina’s wines work miracles with Pacina’s legumes. Terroir shines through in astonishing fashion on the plate and in the glass. Until you experience this, it is hard to describe. Due to its relative youth, Donesco does well with young-aged cheeses and cold cuts, as well as cooked vegetables combined with cheese or animal fat, or else simple cuts of meat grilled on open flame.
Recommending a specific glass shape and even a specific glassworks to best savour a wine can be off-putting to non-nerds. While it is amazing how the right glass can make a wine shine, it is also true that wines either shine or they don’t, period! For Donesco it is perfectly fine to use a Bordeaux or Syrah glass. I wouldn’t necessarily choose a Riesling glass which can sometimes work for elegant, young Sangiovese, since the volume of the Pacina terroir will be more comfortable in a medium large bowl.
Over the last years, I have seen a tendency toward serving red wines at lower temperatures than before. The idea is to suppress the alcoholic notes and underscore freshness by accentuating the heightened perception of acidity. 30 years ago, wines did not mature as easily and alcohol percentages were lower than today’s wines. If you are drinking red wine and the ambient temperature is high, it may feel pleasant to drink chilled reds. So, the cooling tactic can work in some situations. However, it doesn’t work as a rule. In my experience, more serious, harmonious, non-intervention wines do not always appreciate that we play around with serving temperatures. They clam up and refuse to share their beauty.