Description 1 of 2

 

The town of Montalcino, named for the species of local oak that once covered the area, rests on a hill overlooking the Tuscan countryside in Italy. A magnificent 14th century Medieval castle is its picturesque “skyline” that can be seen for miles in the distance. This is where Brunello di Montalcino, considered the “noblest” of the wines of the Sangiovese grape, is produced. As is Rosso di Montalcino, its fratellino (younger brother). Moscadello di Montalcino is the white grape counterpart. 
 
Early versions of Brunello (the local name for Sangiovese Grosso, meaning “little dark one”)  were enjoyed as far back as that castle was first inhabited. But the wine didn’t come into its own until the 1870s. Ferruccio Biondi-Santi is credited with innovating the production of Brunello to improve its quality and longevity. Until that point, Brunello was a field blend, using whatever grapes happened to be around, not just Sangiovese, and not just red. He nixed the second fermentation that was commonly practiced, and aged his wine for long periods in oak barrels, something that was not. The result was a unique, vivacious wine with a complexity unlike any previously produced in the region. By 1945, Biondi-Santi was still the lone Brunello producer using this method, but others began to catch on to it into the 1960s. Today, there are over 200 Brunello di Montalicino DOC producers. 
 
For a wine to be labeled Brunello di Montalcino, it must contain 100% Sangiovese, and grapes must be planted at no higher than 1968 feet (600 meters) above sea level to control ripeness and alcohol levels. The wines must be aged a minimum of four years, with two of them in oak. There has been some controversy in recent vintages with difficult climate conditions that producers have been bending the rules by bulking out wines with other grapes, resulting in declassification measures for those wines. But many wine enthusiasts have overlooked this blemish on Brunello’s reputation and the wines are still lauded the world over. Hey, what’s a little Super Tuscan among wine drinkers?
 
Rosso di Montalcino is also 100% Sangiovese, but typically produced from younger vine sources and released younger and fresher, with only six months to a year of aging before release. Though considered a “baby Brunello,” these can often be very enjoyable in the right hands, with cautious oak treatment. ~Amanda Schuster
 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

A red wine, made from the Brunello clone of the Sangiovese grape, in Montalcino, south of Siena. It was developed in the late 1800s by Ferruccio Biondi Santi, who broke with the Tuscan tradition of blending several grapes to work with what he considered the best. And astonished everyone: Baron Ricasoli of Castello di Brolio, where the Chianti blend was developed, tasted the 1891 vintage and said, "Well. I can't make wines like this." Brunello is one of the finest expressions of Sangiovese, a rich wine with a complex violet and berry fruit bouquet, good fruit, and tremendous body. It ages beautifully, gaining considerable complexity, and an old bottle can be a rare treat. Serve it with red meats; it will be perfect with a thick, well-marbled porterhouse steak. Or enjoy it with friends. Many Brunello producers also make Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello's lighter sibling. – Description from Kphillips

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