About Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Brunello di Montalcino is considered to be one of the top wines in Tuscany. Equally prestigious wines are the well-known Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Brunello di Montalcino wine is made from the Sangiovese grape which is grown near the Tuscan hilltop village Montalcino. This cozy little village first began producing wine back in the early 14th century. However, it wouldn't be until decades later, in the 1870s to be specific, that they would begin to make Sangiovese Brunello di Montalcino wine.
It all began with Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, a soldier in Garibaldi's army. Once home from the war, he began to manage the Fattoria del Greppo, an estate that belonged to his grandfather Clemente Santi. During his time as a winemaker, he would revolutionize many of the wines in Tuscany. But of course, he is the one responsible for popularizing Brunello di Montalcino wine.
Biondi-Santi had a unique approach to winemaking. He would vinify Sangiovese grapes apart from the other varieties. During those times it was common practice in Tuscany to co-ferment all grapes together (including red and white grapes). Due to his technique, Biondi-Santi was able to create unique wines. Furthermore, his wines were also more fruity and possessed a bold taste which he achieved by skipping the secondary fermentation process. Another radical change that Biondi-Santi implemented was wooden barrel aging, a process that could take longer than a decade.
By the time World War II ended, Brunello di Montalcino was praised as Italy's finest wine. At the time, there had only been four vintages declared by Biondi-Santi. Thus, more winemakers were encouraged to produce this unique and ground-breaking wine. By the 1960s, at least 11 Brunello producers were in operation.
To produce good Brunello di Montalcino, vineyards must be planted on hills that do not surpass a certain altitude level (600m). With optimal growing conditions, Sangiovese Grosso grapes are able to grow and reach their optimal flavor and ripeness. With a strong aroma that's reminiscent of berries with underlying tones of vanilla and spice, alongside an earthy yet fruity taste, Brunello di Montalcino has earned its top spot as Italy's finest wine.