Brunello Di Montalcino Wine Descriptions

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Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. is one of the most prestigious wines in Italy. D.O.C.G. stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. These letters are on the pink collar strip on each bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. The D.O.C.G., as a category, was created in 1980 and, out of hundreds of Italian wines, there are just 45 D.O.C.G.s in all of Italy. It is an elite and exclusive category of wine with many rules and regulations, including panel tastings for quality and maximum yields. Brunello can only be made from 100% Sangiovese, known in Montalcino as Brunello, grown on authorised vineyards. There are minimum and maximum altitudes for vine cultivation and there has actually been a freeze on authorisations since 1995. The maximum yield per hectare is 7.000 kg of grapes (the conversion to wine is 68%). The wine must spend 2 years in wood and cannot be released until the fifth January after harvest – so 2004 is on sale in 2009, 2005 in 2010 and so on and so forth. One of the DOCG regulations expressly forbids climate intervention, so any kind of manipulation of nature is forbidden. So no irrigation or smudge-pots and great variation from vintage to vintage. The heatwave of 2003 or the wet 2002 is expressed in Brunellos from these vintages. These troughs and peaks make it hair-raising for producers who can see a year’s work disappear in 10 minutes of hail, but make Brunello a fascinating wine for consumers. In an ideal scenario the difference in vintage quality should determine potential cellar aging – a petit vendage as they French so generously call them – should be consumed soon after release whereas the great vintages should be cellared for 5+ years or much more. Currently there are over 200 producers of Brunello, all essentially following the same “recipe”. What differentiates producers is essentially a mix of two variables; terroir and wood. An estate’s attitude to wood aging is usually a key to their whole wine philosophy. Terroir Montalcino has quite different subzones and an incredible variety of soil types, altitude and so on. Where an estate is – or where an estates’ vineyards are (not always the same thing) – can result in distinct markers. For example the south-west facing low altitude estates have soil that contains marine fossils and was once sea. This can come out in a salty tang or, at worse, as a brackish “salmastro” taste in the wines. The north-west estates tend to have greener tastes due to a slower maturatation due to their position. And so on and so forth. Wood : size, provenance, time in Brunello must spend two years in wood but the original DOCG regulations were for 4 years. The towns’ production is now split between modern “international” Brunello which relies on barriques, 225 liter French oak barrels, and the “traditional” producers who prefer to use the large “botti.” These barrels are made from Slavonian oak and are so large that they can be cleaned by hand i.e. someone actually goes in to scrape them out, and can be re-used for many years. The wood:wine ratio is clearly very different so barrique aged Brunellos tend to spend the minimum 2 years in wood whereas the traditional Brunellos can spend three or even the original four years in wood. The tertiary aromas from the different sized barrels are quite different. Montalcino has every kind of producer and wine philosophy; tiny estates with less than 2 hectares under vine, those who consult the moon before bottling, truly biodynamic properties, VIP owned boutique wineries, ancient Tuscan noble families, locally owned farms and huge conglomerates. Montalcino itself is a terrifically cosmopolitan community. An article recently highlighted that there are 44 nationalities in a town of 4.000 residents… – Description from Laurapal

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Description 2 of 2

Wine Learner – Description from FatDad

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