For those of you that are friends of mine on FB, you have probably heard me mention how much I love Brunello. It is quite literally my most favorite red wine in the world. Sure, I love a Bordeaux just as much as the next person (who doesn’t?), but when it comes to Brunello there is a passionate, intense, sincerity about it. It romances and haunts you with it’s density, spice, and earthy qualities. I once tried to describe the taste to Terri without using the stereotypical wine tasting adjectives, and I said it smells like “a beautiful woman standing in a vineyard on a rainy day, holding violets and eating chocolate.” To date, it is one of the most prestigious wines in the world and one of the finest wines in Italy.
“Brunello di Montalcino” means “Brunello of Montalcino” with Montalcino being a hilltop village located south of Siena in Tuscany and Brunello being a very specific clone of Sangiovese called “Sangiovese Grosso” which means ‘little dark one.’ It’s grapes are full and dark, and it is the only Tuscan red wine that is not a blend so you get the absolute purest expression of the grape. It’s classic flavor profiles include blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and leather. Is it just me or is that not insanely delicious sounding?
Just like France, Italy takes wine making very, very seriously. The DOCG rules there are strict and wine makers are held only to the highest standards. Case in point: Brunello vineyards can’t be planted at a higher altitude than 1968ft above sea level in order to guarantee that the grapes reach the highest flavor and ripeness. Additionally, Brunello can’t be bottled until after it has aged no less than 4 years; 5 years for the Reserves. This is because it takes THAT long for the strong tannins to soften. These are just a couple of the reasons why Brunello is so unique and truly special.
Brunello is a relatively new wine as it was “invented” by Ferruccio Biondi-Santi and first bottled in the late 1880’s. The Biondi-Santi Estate still exists today as one of the finest classic Brunello creators in Tuscany.
Another famous winery which is American owned and also located in Tuscany is Castello Banfi. They have gained much notoriety for taking a more modern approach Brunello making. Their bottles can be more easily found here in the U.S. As a matter of fact, you can actually stay at Castello Banfi if you ever plan on visiting Tuscany. They have a luxury hotel that offers wine tours and tastings, hot air balloon rides and Tuscan cooking classes. They are open during the months of March-November (high tourist season.)
I found this wonderful Youtube video posted by Web Vision Italy which is a 5-minute video about today’s Brunello’s and the beautiful town of Montalcino. You can watch it below if you want a little more in depth information. It was one of the few I could find in English! haha.
Brunello’s prefect food pairings include:
Grilled Steaks and/or grilled portabello mushrooms. Also hearty Italian pasta sauces such as bolognese.