Brunello di Montalcino: One of Italy’s Greatest Reds
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the greatest red wines produced in Italy, or, indeed, the entire world. The best bottles can age for decades, though holding onto them for that long is difficult—they’re so delicious that many collectors struggle to avoid the temptation to open up their precious bottles soon after they buy them.
What kind of wine is Brunello?
Sommeliers and retailers hear the question all the time: What is Brunello di Montalcino? It’s a red wine produced around the town of Montalcino in Italy’s Tuscany region.
Where does Brunello di Montalcino come from?
By law, it can only come from the Tuscany wine region of the same name. It has DOCG classification, which places it in the highest wrung of Italian wine.
How is Brunello di Montalcino made?
Brunello di Montalcino wine is produced like all dry wine—the grapes are harvested and then selected for quality before being crushed. The juice is then fermented into wine. By law, Brunello di Montalcino is produced from the Sangiovese grape variety, most famously the Sangiovese Grosso so closely associated with Brunello.
The law also requires that Riserva bottles be aged for at least five years before being released to the market. Of those five years, at least two of them have to take place in a barrel and six months in the bottle itself. For non-reserve or normale bottlings, the minimum aging requirement is four years, two of which have to be in barrel and four months in the bottle.
What does Brunello di Montalcino mean?
Brunello is the local term for the Sangiovese grape variety that grows there. Brunello di Montalcino means, “The Brunello (or Sangiovese) grape variety from Montalcino.” Some people mistakenly call it “Brunello Montalcino,” but that “di” is essential, as it lets us know that the wine is Brunello from Montalcino.
What is the best Brunello di Montalcino?
This is a matter of personal opinion, but in terms of history and potential longevity, Biondi Santi is often mentioned as among the best.
What does Brunello di Montalcino taste like?
Brunello di Montalcino is a profoundly complex red wine that gains mind-boggling layers as it ages. Notes of cherries, brambly berries, spice, and leather are common, as is a telltale floral note and a seam of minerality that anchors it all. Some producers focus on a more oak-influenced style, some work with riper grapes, and others try to highlight a particular aspect of the land in which their precious grapes grow. Your best bet is to explore the category through bottles from a wide range of producers.
What are popular brands of Brunello di Montalcino?
There are many producers to look for, including Luce della Vite, Banfi, Renieri, Terralsole, Aninori, Valdicava, and more. Look for the following vintages for an excellent in-glass experience of how weather and temperature affect wines from there:
- Brunello di Montalcino 2012
- Brunello di Montalcino 2013
- Brunello di Montalcino 2014
- Brunello di Montalcino 2016
Browse our full selection of Brunello di Montalcino wine online or check out our selection of highly-rated Brunello di Montalcino wine for a great new wine to try this week!
Want to learn more about Brunello di Montalcino wine?
Visit our Guide to Brunello di Montalcino to learn more about Brunello di Montalcino.