Brunello di Montalcino
The Brunello di Montalcino is a DOCG red wine made in the municipality of Montalcino (Siena), exclusively with the Sangiovese grape.
Despite the region’s strong wine-making tradition, documented since the Middle Ages, the Brunello di Montalcino is a “modern” wine, the production of which only began in the mid-nineteenth century thanks to the intuition of the pharmacist, Clemente Santi. Seeing the success of this new wine at national and international fairs and exhibitions, other families in the municipality soon followed Mr Santi’s example and began producing Brunello.
The characteristics of Brunello di Montalcino
The Brunello di Montalcino is a ruby red wine, which tends towards garnet with ageing. It has a characteristic intense, lingering bouquet with scents of woodland undergrowth, berries and mixed preserves. It’s dry on the palate with a lingering aroma and a slightly tannic, warm and well-balanced flavour.
Brunello food pairings
It goes particularly well with complex dishes such as red meats and game accompanied by sauces, mushrooms or truffles. The Brunello di Montalcino is also an excellent pairing with mature cheeses, in particular, Pecorino Toscano. However, due to its organoleptic properties, it’s also suitable as a meditation wine to sip on its own.
How to serve Brunello
It should be served in a large glass to enhance its well-balanced bouquet at a temperature of 18-20°C. Very old bottles should be decanted first.
Brunello di Montalcino ageing
If stored properly, Brunello di Montalcino wine can be laid down for a long period of time, from 10 to 30 years, and will improve with time. This is the main characteristic which separates it from the Rosso di Montalcino, a fresher, more lively, undemanding DOC wine, which should be drunk young and is a superb accompaniment to medium complex dishes, such as first courses with meat sauce, risottos and pork or veal-based main courses. The Rosso di Montalcino is also sold the year after the grape harvest, while the Brunello is not released for consumption until the fifth year after the harvest.
Brunello di Montalcino – the best vintages
Every Brunello di Montalcino vintage receives an official assessment from the Consorzio del Brunello, which evaluates the quality of the harvest. The verdict, which also takes into account the weather conditions when the fruit was ripening, comes in the form of a rating from one to five stars, from “poor” to “exceptional”.
The vintages to have received five stars since the turn of the millennium include the Brunello from 2006 and the Brunello from 2007, as well as the exceptional vintages of 2004 and 2010.
The Brunello from 2008 and the Brunello from 2009, on the other hand, received four stars, an excellent vintage nevertheless. The harvests of 2000 and 2002 were not so fortunate, respectively assessed as “commendable” and “moderate”, while you have to go back to 1984 for the last vintage rated as “poor”.