Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino wine is from the hilltop town of Montalcino in Tuscany. The grape varietal grown in Montalcino is mainly Sangiovese.In Montalcino, sangiovese is also known as Brunello.


You may also have heard it described as Sangiovese Grosso. This is the name of the clone of the sangiovese grape that is used  From this varietal, Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino wines are produced. They are both made from 100% sangiovese.


There are about 5,120 acres of vineyards of sangiovese that Brunello di Montalcino is made from and another 1,260 acres of sangiovese vineyards that the Rosso di Montalcino wine is produced from.


Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino are looked upon as quality wines.

This is partly due to the work of a consortium of Montalcino wine makers. As of 2013,there are two hundred and eight wine makers in Montalcino  that are members of the Consorzio Del Vino Brunello Di Montalcino (Consorzio).


This Consorzio was partly created to protect their wines and maintain quality production standards. A disciplinary committee governs wine production amongst its members.

It establishes the maximum yield of grapes grown, and the earliest date of sale onto the market. Effectively it is determining the ageing requirements before the wine can be released. For Brunello di Montalcino to earn the quality recognition of Denominazione di Origne Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) they must comply with the below requirements:


The grapes must be grown in Montalcino

The grape variety must be Sangiovese

The maximum yield per acre is 128 bushels of grapes

The mandatory ageing in wood is two years in oak casks

The mandatory ageing in bottles is four months

The bottling must take place in the production area

The wine can only be bottled in Bordeaux style bottles

January 1st of the 5th year after harvest and the 6th year for Riserva is when the   wine can be made available for sale.


For Rosso di Montalcino to earn its Denominazione di origine Controllata (DOC) they must comply with the below requirements:


The grapes must be grown in Montalcino

The grapes must be Sangiovese

The maximum yield per acre is 144 bushels of grapes

The bottling must take place in the production area

The wine can only be bottled in Bordeaux style bottles

September 1st of the year following the vintage is when the wine can be made available for sale



The climate in Montalcino is Mediterranean, with dry summers and little or no freezing temperatures in the winter. Having a mild climate, the grape vines can gradually reach full growth and the grapes can reach the proper ripeness. While it may be dry, it can get to be very hot in the summer. Here as in a typical wine grape growing region, the vines can be planted on hillsides at varying altitudes and at different exposures to the sun.

In Montalcino, the vines planted at altitudes of 500 to 700 feet above sea level and on a south facing slope will give the vines hot days with cooler nights, which allows the grape to reach the desired level of ripeness.


The soil is mainly Galestro. This soil can be found on the higher altitudes vineyards and provides good drainage. Galestro is a schist based soil being a crystalline flaky rock based. This soil has little to no nutrients and is heat retentive. The lack of nutrients in the soil helps restrict vegetative growth and permits a higher proportion of the photosynthesis to be directed towards fruit maturation.


Brunello di Montalcino wines: The wine  may be 100% sangiovese but it is grown in Montalcino and it has its own sense of place (terroir) flavor profile. The aromas that come from the glass says black cherry,black berry with some earthiness, some floralness giving the impressions of violets. The texture in the mouth is smooth at first with the power of the wine gently making an appearance. It is a medium to full body wine. Those tannins appear and then the high acidity of the wine appears and your mouth starts to look for the food or you can wait out the battle of the tannins and the acidity. The wine is released when it should be ready to drink, even if it is in a very early stage of its life. From three to five years after release, would be the ideal time to start drinking these wines. And probably ten years later, you can start to enjoy the full potential of the wine. How much longer they will last is really more dependent upon the vintage and the producer combined.


Rosso di Montalcino wines: These are also made from 100% sangiovese grapes. The grapes selected for this wine can be considered grapes from the younger vines as well as sangiovese grapes solely grown for the Rosso wine. This wine spends a short six months in oak and one year in total ageing before release. With such shorter release in comparison to the Brunello and also such a small time in oak barrels, these Rossos display the lighter body fresh fruit of the Montalcino sangiovese.

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