Cuculaia is a living winemaking experiment, a journey towards the frontier of quality, a wine that pushes at the limits of what can be expected from a Syrah grown in the Cortona terroir. Produced only in excellent vintages and crafted exclusively with Syrah grapes grown on the vineyard of the same name at Il Castagno estate, this wine is characterized by the unique soil in which the vines grow and the particularly low yields per hectare (40 quintals/5000 plants, which are tended carefully throughout the year but especially before and during the harvest to make this wine.
We use the rest of the grapes from the Cuculaia vineyard for Il Castagno, our most representative Syrah wine, in a blend with the best vinification from our other vineyards. So, we could say that Cuculaia is the Adam's rib of our wines, an important and close relative.
Harvesting for Cuculaia is done strictly by hand and usually not before the end of September. The grapes are picked and placed in small 15 kg. perforated containers. After an extremely soft crushing and destemming (in order to leave the berries intact) the alcoholic fermentation takes place, spontaneously, thanks to the indigenous yeasts, in steel tanks at controlled temperatures.
Subsequent maceration on the skins lasts at least four weeks. Malolactic fermentation uses only the first-pressed must (we never use the juices from pressing the marc in the production of our wines) and also happens spontaneously, without the injection of bacteria. This is followed by a long aging period of at least 24 months on the noble lees in the best French oak barrels from Allier, Nevers, and Troncais (barriques, tonneaux and 15 hl barrels specifically made for us by master coopers, who are also our dear friends). We also use, depending on the characteristics of the vintage and in keeping with the millesimal tradition, our beloved old concrete barrels, which have been finely restored by skilled craftsmen.
The selection process for this wine continues in the winery. Periodically we taste every single container. At the end of this long and laborious process, only a few hundred bottles (a maximum of 3,000) of Cuculaia are produced.
A fabulous wine. One of the greatest syrahs ever
Yield per hectare
50 quintals from 5000 plants
750 ml / 1.500 ml
Dark, impenetrable ruby red with purplish hues
Black pepper, meat, ripe berries, dried fruit, sour cherries, mulberries, currants, and blackberries, followed by hints of dark tobacco red and sweet notes
Cuculaia - Reviews
I Migliori Vini Italiani
Colore rubino denso e naso elegantemente complesso, polifonico nelle note di amarene e more, pot-pourri, salamoia, e ancora grafite e spezie scure in chiosa. Sorso dirompente per struttura, morbido nell'interezza, caratterizzato da degna spinta fresco/sapida. Lunga la persistenza.
Molto scuro e compatto, presenta un naso dai decisi contorni "pepati" ed ematici in aggiunta ai sentori di prugne e violette; in bocca è molto denso ma non stucchevole, il frutto è pieno e maturo, lo sviluppo continuo e bilanciato e il finale molto lungo e sostenuto da adeguata base tannica. In questa fase è incentrato decisamente sulla ricchezza del frutto che avvolge efficacemente il resto della struttura e assorbe l’imponente peso alcolico (15°) attenuandone l’ingerenza, anche se probabilmente limita, pur facendola intuire, la percezione di complessità.
by Robert Parker
This is a dazzling and beautiful wine. The Fabrizio Dionisio Cortona Syrah Cuculaia is richly concentrated and softly layered. Cuculaia emphasizes softness, darkness and textural ?ber. Black fruit and plum segue to tobacco, leather and camp?re ash. The spirit of the wine is modern and contemporary, no doubt, but this classic vintage plays up its winning assets: the intensity of Syrah and the generosity of Tuscany. It is very nicely done.
by Antonio Galloni
Il Cuculaia is wonderfully sleek and elegant in this vintage, and that's not a bad thing, as this wine has been a bit bombastic in the past. Silky, perfumed and light on its feet, but with plenty of depth, the 2018 is an absolute charmer. Blueberry, lavender, licorice, cloves and new leather linger.
This is a crazy syrah with graphite, iodine, steak tartar, iron rust, blackberries and dark cherries. Incredibly polished, yet muscular with so much dark fruit that’s so well formed and vertical. Full-bodied and very long and mineral on the finish.
International Wine Cellars
Deep ruby. Blueberry, chocolate and herbs on the somewhat balsamic nose. Big and dense, with bitter herb and cocoa nuances complicating dark berry, coffee and black pepper flavors. Finishes long, with serious mouthcoating tannins. I suggest forgetting about this one in the cellar for another six to eight years. This is Il Castagno's top syrah, a selection of the best barrels, but isn't made every year . "With syrah, vine age is all-important," according to winemaker Valentino Ciarla. "Here in Tuscany we find that the vines need to be more than ten years of age to really express much of a syrah personality."
Syrah seems to enjoy the Cortona area of eastern Tuscany and this version, from vintner Fabrizio Dionisio, is a prime example. The wine is plump and rich, with lasting flavors of black cherry, sweet spice, tobacco, cured meat and black olive.
I Migliori Vini Italiani
3° Miglior Vino Rosso Italiano
I Vini di Veronelli
Associazione Italiana Sommelier
World Wine Awards
Syrah Cortona DOC
Viognier Toscana IGT