Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region. It is the birthplace of one of Italy’s blockbuster red wines, Brunello di Montalcino. This is an opulent wine made entirely from sangiovese grapes. It has an intense ruby-red color and displays the complex aromas of black cherry, rasberry and violets.
Montalcino is surrounded by medieval walls that were built in the 13th century. The Montalcino fortress was built at the highest point of the town in 1361; designed by the Sienese architects Mino Foresi and Domenico di Feo.
Montalcino is divided into quarters called contrade. They are: Borghetto, Travaglio, Pianello and Ruga. Each contrade has their own colours, songs and distinct drum rhythms. Twice a year they dress in Medieval attire and compete in an archery contest under the walls of the Castel Fortezza.
In Montalcino, take a Winery Tour of Castello Banfi. You will learn about the restrictive government regulations that prescribe wine-making practices in Italy. These rules define areas where specific wines can be made using the acronyms DOCG, DOC, and IGT.
Brunello di Montalcino earned a reputation as one of Italy’s rarest wines. At the end of WWII, the only commercial producer recorded in government documents was the Biondi-Santi. The high price and prestige of there Brunello de Montalcino encouraged other producers to emulate Biondi-Santi’s success. By the 1960s, there were 11 producers making Brunello. By 1980 there were 53 producers in Montalcino. In 1980, the Montalcino region was the first Italian wine region to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG designation means “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” (the most prestigious/elite Italian wines). This means that the wine has the following characteristics:
The location is certified and guaranteed
Provides more stringent government regulations
Requires longer aging periods and lower yields per vine
Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels to enhance the character of the wines.
The Banfi Winery was the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. It won the 2009 VinItaly International Award and has been designated Italy’s Premier Vineyard estate for 11 consecutive years.
The winery is nestled on 7100 acres of land and it is owned by two wine-making brothers from Long Island, New York.
They have a state of the art winery with a glass museum.
Taste their Brunello di Montalcino at the Winery’s Enoteca.
The restaurant is located in the vaulted cellars of the Castello. Enjoy three and five-course tasting menus of traditional Tuscan cooking on rustic wooden tables situated under gorgeous brick arches.
You can even stay in the restored rooms and suites of the Castello Il Borgo.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy andVino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
To learn more about wine tasting in Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com. Florence and Tuscany now available for iPad. Salute!!
- The Ten Most Seductive Places to Drink Wine in Italy (vinoconvistablog.me)
- 46th Annual VinItaly 2012 and Italy’s Best Wines (vinoconvistablog.me)
- Brunello di Montalcino (abouttuscany.wordpress.com)