Why is Brunello di Montalcino so Special?
Montalcino is a small Tuscan town about 45 minutes drive South of Siena. For many years, the area grew a grape variety they called Brunello. It was only in the late nineteenth century that it was determined to be the same grape as Sangiovese. However, the clone of Sangiovese grown in this area is smaller than the clones grown in Chianti. That, combined with the warner climate, meant that the wines around Montalcino have always been considered among the best wines in Tuscany.
The Brunello clone of Sangiovese was further improved by Clemente Santi, who isolated certain vines of Sangiovese that produced grapes capable of extended aging. In 1888, his grandson Ferruccio Biondi-Santi produced what many consider to be the first modern version of Brunello di Montalcino, a wine that aged for more than 10 years in wood barrels.
Today, Brunello are aged 4 years before release, of which a minimum of 2 years must be in oak. This delay in release leads to a cash flow problem for estates who have to wait a considerable period for payment. As a consequence, the region allows producers to produce a Rosso di Montalcino, also made with Sangiovese but with shorter aging requirements. It can be sold after one year with just 6 months of aging in barrel. The Rosso is also 100% Sangiovese and grown in the same area as the grapes for Brunello.
Browse through our wines from Montalcino, which include both Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino.