“Wine is like the incarnation: it is both divine and human.”
― Paul Tillich
Wine has always been an essential element of Italian identity. Therefore, to smell and taste Italian wines, to capture its tasting notes, is another way to know Italy.
In other words, to understand Italians and to have a whole picture of Italian modern culture and society, one must realize that this “divine drink” is an intrinsic part of the Italian mentality. Wine for Italians is an art of daily life, a purely Italian life style, a way to think, communicate and relax. Not only at the dinner table…
Yet, to “where”, “when”, and “why”, we will turn back in one of the next posts… In the meantime, let’s get acquainted with the history and production features. As well as, fell the flavour of tasting notes of one of the most prestigious, exquisite and the most known Italian red wines: Brunello di Montalcino.
Prestigious Status of DOCG
The pride of Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most famous wines all over the world. It is considered the best Italian wine, and probably is the most expensive. The only other Italian wine that enjoys its worldwide fame at the global scale, is perhaps Barolo. We will review this prestigious and sophisticated “rival” of Brunello di Montalcino later on…
As for now, I just want to note that Brunello di Montalcino was the first Italian wine given the prestigious status of DOCG. (DOCG is the acronym Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita. The extra G is the sign of a wine of guaranteed high quality).
History of Brunello di Montalcino
Despite its prestige and refinement, Brunello di Montalcino has a fairly recent history. And, like most Italian wines, Brunello di Montalcino has a “talking name”. It would be enough to translate “di” (“from”), so that the mysterious wine reveals the secret of its origin. Let’s see…
Known everywhere on the globe, this first-rate wine is produced at Montalcino. Montalcino is a small hill town south of Siena (Tuscany), which once upon a time used to be particularly poor. However, in 1880 a local landowner, Ferruccio Biondi Santi, had decided to resume and complete the experiments and studies of his grandfather. So, this man developed the Brunello wine from a special variety of the Sangiovese grape. It was the beginning of a new era for Montalcino and Tuscan enology as well.
Moreover, Brunello di Montalcino is produced only from Sangiovese Grosso grape variety, locally known as “Brunello”. Hence the name of the wine.
Gentle Mediterranean conditions allow the Sangiovese Grosso variety to ripen to perfection, often yielding an alcohol content of 14 per cent or more. Manufacturers are forced to follow strict production regulations in accordance with the high status of the DOCG category. According to which, Brunello di Montalcino is produced exclusively from one variety of Sangiovese Grosso.
Furthermore, Brunello di Montalcino is produced only within the Montalcino territory. That is 2 thousand hectares of vineyards. The limited production of this wine is the key to its exceptional quality. So, 250 farms annually produce only 8 million bottles of Brunello or Montalcino. That are immediately distributed among the best restaurants and boutiques around the world.
In addition, more mature Brunello di Montalcino is, more its taste becomes complex and sophisticated. Not by chance, Brunello di Montalcino wines become available to the consumer only 5 years after the harvest. What takes it so long? Consider that for to 2 years or more Brunello di Montalcino is aged in barrels, and then develops in bottles from 4 to 6 months.
In the years of the best harvest Brunello di Montalcino winemakers produce Brunello Riserva. Brunello Riserva gets to the consumer only at the sixth year.
Brunello di Montalcino is a rich, robust, full-bodied, complex, intense, fine and tannic wine, that ages well. The color of Brunello di Montalcino is dark red that may range from ruby to pomegranate. Brunello di Montalcino is one of the few DOCG wines admired by both authoritative experts and ordinary connoisseurs, for the complexity and depth of its taste.
The nose is very elegant with pleasant scents of black cherry, plum and violet, which are followed by more composite bouquet of vanilla, licorice, cinnamon, mace, black paper, cocoa, chocolate and coffee, as well as menthol and eucalyptus, with pleasing hints of tar, leather and tobacco. Dry, tannic and well balanced with an extraordinary persistence due to its full body, Brunello di Montalcino is considered an exquisite accompaniment to various dishes of red meat and game.
Precious, beloved wine…
Brunello di Montalcino, Italy’s most exclusive wine throughout the twentieth century, commands its outrageous price (€200 or more for one bottle of wine) and is a favorite of collectors.
Which one is your favourite Italian wine? Please share your impressions!