Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tasting: More Information About This Excellent Wine

Brunello di Montalcino Wine Tasting - Poggio Rubino Wines

If you have already done or are planning to do a Brunello di Montalcino wine tour or a Brunello di Montalcino wine tasting at Poggio Rubino we are sure you would love to learn more about this incredible wine.

Brunello di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and undergoes an extended maceration to ensure the right color and aromas. The wine vintage represents the year in which the grapes of that particular wine were harvested, and naturally the climate and the weather conditions give a specific character to each year’s vintage. After fermentation, the wine stays in barrels for a minimum of three years. There are wineries that prefer the traditional method of large barrels and others that instead love to use barriques - small barrels made from French oak that give the wine original aromas of sweet spices.

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a special selection of wine that is aged for a year more than regular Brunello wine. Brunello di Montalcino (not Riserva) is available for sale after five years, while Riserva is available after six years. The difference of Riserva with respect to regular Brunello is in the aging and finishing in the bottle. Our Brunello Riserva is from grapes harvested from a single vineyard that also happens to be our oldest.

The Difference Between Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico

Together let’s compare two excellent Tuscan wines: Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico.

Chianti Classico is made in an area that includes the southern part of the province of Florence to the northern part of the province of Siena. Chianti Classico is produced from vineyards on hillsides and at an altitude not higher than 700 meters. After finishing a first fermentation, the wine undergoes a slow secondary fermentation but this time with the addition of grapes that have dried slightly on the vine.

All the wine making and bottling must be done in the DOCG geographical area. The wine must be aged until at least October 1st of the year after the grapes were harvested.
Brunello is a DOCG red wine that is produced in Tuscany as well, but only and exclusively within the municipality of Montalcino, in the province of Siena. The Brunello vineyards are also on hillsides, but at an altitude not higher than 600 meters.

The alcohol content must be a minimum of 12% and Brunello must undergo a period of aging for at least two years in oak and at least four months in the bottle. A big difference between the two wines is the blend. Chianti Classico allows a blend of up to 10% of other grape varietals besides Sangiovese, while Brunello’s strict rules require it to be made with 100% Sangiovese grapes.

Comparing French and Italian Wines

In closing, one last question: are Brunello di Montalcino and other great Italian red wines on the same level as the great French reds? There have been many journalists who have tried to compare these two worlds. The most recent to try was the journalist Jancis Robinson who on her website attempts to identify the differences that exist today between these two realities.

Robinson says that the main difference between French and Italian wines is in the history: French wines having long been a standard wine investment commodity with a history that spans centuries. She says, “If the measure is sheer volume then France and Italy annually vie for who produced more wine from their remarkably similar total area of vineyards.” Instead with regards to price, she says, “If we look at the list of the world's 50 most expensive wines … 11 are German sweet rarities, one… is from Napa Valley and all the rest are French.

Italy is notable by its absence.” She says that in fact, “It is quite a struggle to find an (Italian) wine that costs more than £100 a bottle.” But, Robinson says, the truth is that the world is asking for Italian wines. She recounts that Italian red wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Barbaresco, and Bolgheri always have sold out tastings when offered in England. “This…suggests that now is the time to take advantage of Italy's best wines, whose prices seem, unfortunately, highly likely to rise” to be nearly on par with the French wines. She concludes that Italians should be proud of their product and that it is a good idea to buy Italian wines now, before they get too expensive.