Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brunello di Montalcino, the king wine of tuscany!

Steps towards better wine quality production in Italy began in the 80's with the creation of the DOCG, Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, which had stricter regulations for producers from the original DOC category. The first wine granted the DOCG status was Brunello, which I'm writing about today. The others were Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, discussed in the previous blog, and the Piedmont regions with the wines known as Barolo and Barbaresco.

Montalcino Tuscany vineyardsBrunello is made from a clone of sangiovese, but it is not combined with other grapes though as Vino Nobile and Chianti can be. It also requires more aging, four years with at least two of those years in oak barrels. Their riserva requires five years of aging with at least half of that in oak. With this part of Tuscany in the town of Montalcino being a little warmer, it has deeper, richer flavor profiles and fuller versions of sangiovese.

One of the biggest producers in this region that helped to make Brunello what it is today is the producer Biondi Santi, which I'm hoping I'll be able to stop and visit while there. In the late 19th century he planted brunello in his vineyards. At this time many folks were only drinking light style Chianti and sweeter wines. He let the skins macerate with the juice and then aged the wines at a time when all of these steps were unheard of. They didn't even have a road out to Montalcino until the 1960's. Due to his efforts he paved the way for this amazing wine to be what it is today.

It's one of the most expensive wines in not only Tuscany, but also all of Italy along with some others from Piedmont, but is also very ageworthy. These wines can age over 40 years. I myself have some that I brought back to the states years ago that have been aging about 15 years and its recommended you don't drink them for at least 10 years. Some of the wines from this area need the time to settle down from their youth and develop further in the bottle. So don't be fooled when they say wines aren't ageworthy. It all depends on what you're drinking, but as a society we typically don't have the patience and usually stop in to a store to buy a wine we will drink that night. The best part about opening these bottles years later are the memories that are revisited from the times spent at the winery. Do yourself a favor and splurge one day, hold on to the wine and open it years from now for a special occasion and you will experience a treat. I'll share with you some of the producers that I have visited that are a treat. Shoot me a message or leave a comment.

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