Brunello di Montalcino:
History of the Sangiovese King
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most prestigious Italian wines, produced in the Toscana region. This very region has a secular history in wine crafting, starting with the etruscans, a population that established themselves in that zone of Italy in the XI century. However, the Brunello born in much more recent times, just two hundred years ago. It's been thanks to the intuition of Clemente Santi, a pharmacologist, to take advantage of the land characteristics. In fact, this territory has always been very suitable for the production of structured and elegant red wines and this has allowed to the Sangiovese to become one of the most famous vines in the world. In particular we are talking about the Sangiovese Grosso, which takes the name Brunello in the Montalcino zone.
The grapes in this vine have a particularity: a much thicker peel, in which are contained many of the complex flavors that make the wine so special. This requires a longer maceration than usual, no less than 20 to 30 days, in order to completely extract colors and tannins from the fruit. The result of the maceration have then to rest at least five years in barrels made of oak wood.
The Brunello di Montalcino was getting better year after year, thanks to the passion and hard work of many families and winegrowers of Montalcino whom also started to produce bottles for a wider public. The most important years, however, were yet to come. During the 60s and 70s, the brand became famous well beyond Italian borders and the wine got the DOC recognition. On 18th of April 1967 was instituted the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium. In the 80s and 90s selling are multiplied and new, more refined techniques of production were adopted, reaching the Brunello di Montalcino that we know today. This led the wine to enter in the WineSpectator's top 100 of 1995 with no less than six different Brunello different labels. In 2006 the Casanova Neri Tenuta Nuova 2001 gets judged the best wine worldwide, and the Brunello popularity reaches the peak of his popularity.
Today the production zone reaches 24.000 acres on the whole Montalcino region, bordered by the rivers Ombrone, Asso and Orcia. This piece of terrain contains many different zones with different geologic constitutions, so each zone can give birth to different Brunello di Montalcino qualities with unique nuances.
The bouquet of this red wine is very complex and lies many different notes of flavors. After a careful tasting, scents of tea, coffee, mushrooms and red fruits can be distinguished in what results an elegant and fulfilling blend of aromas. In the mouth the Brunello is very structured and elegant but still fresh, in a combination that makes it an unique wine.
This complexity is possible thanks to the peculiar micro climate of Montalcino, situated in between of the sea of Maremma and the Mount Amiata. This combination of heat and cold creates a perfect and rare terrain for vineyards. Here, only the best grapes are harvested and aged long and gently in big casks.
One of the strongs of the Brunello di Montalcino are his roots deep in tradition. In recent years, in fact, many other manufacturers tend to produce a more market-ready wine, with less aging and thus losing complexity and shades of flavor. This does not happen with Brunello, being elegance and complexity its most known characteristics.
How to serve
A bottle of Brunello di Montalcino such as this Brunello di Montalcino 2016 Bio Col D'Orcia has to be put horizontally for at least two weeks before it gets opened, in order to avoid traumas. Decanting should be done only in case of presence of sediments or if the bottle is 10 to 15 years old. A decanting on a bottle of 20 or more years could in fact ruin the bouquet. The wine, once served, has to breathe in a large glass, and be enjoyed at a temperature of 18-20° C.