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The Montalcino Commune

The commune is made up of four urban centers: Montalcino, San Angelo in Colle, Castelnuovo dell’Abate and Torrenieri. The top producers in the Montalcino area have vineyards on both slopes, and produce a blend of both styles

Montalcino

In 1831, the Marchese Cosimo Ridolfi, praised the red wines produced in Montalcino, and Brunello records, date back to the 14th century. But it wasn’t until 1865 that Brunello took the spotlight, when it was the “select red wine” and prize winner at the Montalcino’s agricultural fair. Around this time, Clemente Santi isolated certain plantings of Sangiovese with the intent of producing an age worthy wine, and in 1898, his grandson Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, released the first version of Brunello as we know it today, after having aged the wine in large wood barrels for ten years. It was the 1888 vintage, followed by the 1891, 1925 and 1945. By the time we reached the 60’s there were less than a dozen producers of Brunello and in 1968 the DOCG status was awarded to the area.

Red wines produced in Montalcino
As with all of the Northern Hemisphere, the northern slopes in Montalcino, receive fewer hours of sunlight and are generally cooler than the southern slopes. Vineyards planted on the northern slopes ripen more slowly and tend to produce wines that are racier and more aromatic. Vineyards on the southern and western slopes receive more intense exposure to sunlight and more maritime winds which produces wines with more power and complexity.

Although only 16km in diameter, the variations in altitude and soil composition, vary throughout its sub-regions.

© The map is courtesy of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino 

Montalcino has the warmest and driest climate in Tuscany, with its grapes ripening up to a week earlier than the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the Chianti Classico. Montalcino climate is the most arid Tuscan DOCG, with an average annual rainfall of around 700 mm, in contrast to the Chianti region averaging 900 mm.


The Northeast by the town of Torrenieri, has heavy clay soils not conducive to growing the finest fruit, but good quality fruit can be grown on hillsides with good drainage.

The Northwest is heavily forested with cool temperatures at risk of spring frosts and fungal diseases; it has clay, sandstone and schist soils. Yet Silvio Nardi with a winery established in the 50’s and Castiglion del Bosco, a ten year old venture that has spared no expense to produce high quality wines aged in French barriques.

Central Montalcino is home to the majority of Brunello’s producers, including most of Brunello’s original vineyards and many of its famous estates, including Biondi Santi, Costanti, Fattoria dei Barbi, and Valdicava.
Average altitudes are the highest of the appellation. Poggio Antico, located just south of the town, has one of the highest vineyards at 480 m, although most estates have vineyards at varying altitudes and soils. Soils north and south of the town are varied with sandstone, shale, lime- stone, marl and galestro being most common. Costanti’s vineyards just east of the city has a high percentage of marl (a mix of clay and calcareous rock) at higher elevations, but as one moves downhill sand and clay take over.
The high altitude and low temperatures lead to slow ripening that produces phenolic ripeness in all but the coolest vintages (e.g., 2002) and avoids over-ripeness in all but the hottest vintages (e.g., 2003). The cool climate and high diurnal temperature variations help the fruit retain acidity. As a result, this sub-region produces Brunellos that are especially long-lived and elegant.
Altitudes decline as one goes north in the direction of Buonconvento, and superb Brunellos are made in the north by wineries like Caponno, Caparzo and Donatella Cinelli Colombini. Of special significance are the Altesino and Le Gode north facing vineyards on Montosoli, a 450 m, marl and clay hill north of Montalcino.

The Southeast around Castelnuovo dell’Abate, has proved to be an excellent location for growing Sangiovese. Several traditional wineries in the Montalcino sub-region have purchased vineyards here, mostly in the vicinity of the 12th century Abbey of Sant’Antimo. Temperatures are warmer than Central Montalcino, evening breezes make their way up the Orcia River valley from the sea to provide goad diurnal variation, allowing the fruit to retain acidity and freshness. Vineyards have varying mixes of marl, shale, sandstone and clay soils and are planted at relatively high altitudes (up to 450 m), although some are as low as 150 m. Mastrojanni, Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, and Uccelliera are some of the best known wineries of this area.

The Southwest a few kilometers from the town, in Tavernelle, there are vineyards of relatively high altitude with good soils of lime- stone, clay and sand. Daytime temperatures are warm but cool rapidly in the evening, providing the diurnal variation required for good acidity and freshness. Angelo Gaja’s Pieve Santa Restituta is located here. Proceeding further to the southwest, one finds higher average temperatures, less rainfall, and a more varied set of vineyards in Camigliano and Sant’ Angelo in Colle. The soils range fram sand and clay near the river in Sant’Angelo Scala to calcareous soils at higher elevations. The producers here include the largest of the appellation: Banfi, Frescobaldi’s Castel Giocondo, Col d’ Orcia, and II Poggione. Each of these producers has vineyards of varying altitudes (150 – 400 m) and soils. Banfi has identified 27 different soil types on its estate alone. The warmer temperatures and faster ripening of this area can in some vintages produce wines with lower acidity and higher alcohol than the wines of central Montalcino. In cool vintages with autumn rains like 2002 the warmth and early harvesting of this sub-region allow it to still produce good quality wines, while fruit can dessiccate and wines can suffer in especially hot years. Compared to the wines of Central Montalcino, wines from this region are generally regarded as more accessible early on.

Montalcino

View The commune of Montalcino in a larger map

Since the war to date, the “five-star vintages” have been the following: 1945, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1975, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007,2010

ESTATE Area
Abbadia Ardenga C1-10
Aglieta B1-127
Agostina Pieri B3-69
Altesino B1-13
Argiano A3-23
Armilla B2-103
Baccinetti B2-203
Banfi B3-18
Barbi B2-140
Baricci B1-1
Bartoli Giusti Tenuta Comunali B2-20
Bellaria B2-145
Belpoggio C3-200
Biondi Santi Franco – Ten. Greppo B2-178
Bonacchi B1-187
Brunelli B2-132
Bucine B1-216
Camigliano A2-7
Campi di Fonterenza B3-16
Campogiovanni B3-16
Canalicchio – Pacenti Franco B1-47
Canalicchio di Sopra B1-164
Canneta B2-29
Cantina di Montalcino B1-90
Capanna B1-33
Capanne Ricci B3-100
Caparzo B1-17
Caprili B2-107
Casa Raia B2-99
Casanova di Neri C1-48
Casanuova delle Cerbaie B1-51
Case Basse B2-14
Casisano Colombaio B2-58
Castelgiocondo e Luce della Vite A2-9
Castelli Martinozzi B2-15
Castello di Velona C3-204
Castello Romitorio B2-42
Castello Tricerchi B1-183
Castiglion del Bosco A1-4
Cava d’Onice B2-126
Celestino Pecci B1-31
Cerbaia B1-59
Cerbaiona C2-25
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona B3-193
Citille di Sopra C1-172
Col d’Orcia B3-34
Col dl Lamo C1-206
Coldisole C2-142
Collelceto A2-162
Collemattoni B3-114
Colleoni B1-144
Collosorbo B3-83
Colombaio B2-209
Conte Placido B3-56
Cordella C1-212
Corte dei Venti B3-176
Costanti B2-35
Cupano A2-153
Domus Vitae A2-220
Donatella Cinelli Colombini B1-155
Donna Olga B2-158
Fanti C2-30
Fastelli B1-5
Fattoi B2-102
Ferrero B3-79
Fontebuia B2-85
Fornacella C2-191
Fornacina C2-122
Fossacolle B2-95
Fuligni B2-12
Gianni Brunelli – Le Chiuse di Sotto C2-57
Greppino B2-55
Il Cocco B2-151
Il Colle B2-19
Il Colombaio B1-210
Il Forteto del Drago B2-91
Il Grappolo – Fortius B3-40
Il Marroneto B1-163
Il Palazzone B2-157
Il Paradiso di Frassina B1-161
Il Paradiso di Manfredi B1-36
Il Patrizio B3-2
Il Poggiolo B2-52
Il Poggione B3-2
Il Valentiano B2-133
Innocenti C1-134
L’Aietta B2-180
La Campana B1-32
La Collina dei Lecci C2-152
La Colombina C3-115
La Croce B2-80
La Fiorita C2-74
La Fornace C2-125
La Fortuna C1-112
La Gerla B1-39
La Lecciaia C2-37
La Magia B2-123
La Mannella B1-62
La Melina B2-84
La Palazzetta C3-54
La Pieve C3-121
La Poderina C2-53
La Rasina C2-106
La Serena C2-109
ESTATE Area
La Togata B2-60
La Torre B2-65
La Velona C3-49
Lambardi B1-44
Lazzeretti B1-146
Le 7 Camicie C3-128
Le Chiuse B1-73
Le Gode B1-108
Le Macioche C2-46
Le Presi C3-137
Le Ragnaie B2-188
Lisini B3-3
Loacker · Corte Pavone B2-129
Luciani C2-113
Marchesato degll Aleramici A2-61
Mastrojanni C2-21
Màtè B2-21
Mocali B2-195
Molinari Carlo B1-118
Molino di Sant’Antlmo C3-131
Montecarbello B1-147
NostraVita B2-202
Padelletti B2-63
Palazzo C2-71
Panizzi C3-218
Paradisone – Colle degli Angeli B1-213
Passo del Lume Spento B2-211
Pian delle Querci B1-167
Pian delle Vigne A2-104
Pian di Macina B2-116
Piancornello B3-70
Pietroso B2-86
Pieve Santa Restituta B2-76
Pinino B1-190
Piombaia · Rossi-Cantini B2-97
Podere Brizio B2-149
Podere Canalino B1-192
Podere Canapaccia C1-214
Podere La Vigna C1-173
Podere Le Ripi C2-219
Podere Paganico C1-185
Poderucclo B3-143
Poggiarelllno B1-94
Poggio Antico B2-8
Poggio degll Ulivi B3-11
Poggio dell’Aquila B2-186
Poggio di Sotto C3-67
Poggio il Castellare C2-141
Poggio Rubino B2-215
Querce Bettina B2-207
Quercecchio B2-22
Rendola C1-199
Renieri C1-177
Ridolfi B1-217
Riguardo A2-27
S. Lucia B2-175
Salvioni B2-38
San Filippo C2-179
San Giacomo B1-208
San Lorenzo B2-130
San Polino C2-174
San Polo C2-75
SanCarlo B2-169
Santa Glulla C1-148
Sassetti B1-24
Sassetti Livio – Pertimali B1-6
SassodiSole C1-205
Scopetone B1-28
Scopone B2-154
Sesta di Sopra B3-139
Sesti B3-89
Siro Pacenti B1-26
Societa Agricola Bolsignano B2-111
Solaria B2-68
Talenti B3-138
Tassi – Franci Franca B2-197
Tenimenti Angelini – Val dl Suga B1-197
Tenuta Crocedimezzo B2-124
Tenuta di Sesta B3-82
Tenuta Greppone Mazzi B2-78
Tenuta La Fuga A2-159
Tenuta Le Potazzine B2-135
Tenuta Oliveto C3-166
Tenuta San Giorgio C3-194
Tenuta Vitanza C1-117
Tenute di Toscana Distribuzione srl A2-222
Tenute Friggiali e Pietranera B2-45
Tenute Niccolai – Bellarina C3-105
Tenute Piccini S.r.l. C1-201
Tenute Silvio Nardi A1-81
Terralsole C2-150
Terre nere B1-189
Tiezzi B2-189
Tornesi B2-110
Uccelliera C3-66
Valdicava B1-43
Vasco Sassetti C3-96
Ventolaio B2-88
Verbena C2-136
Villa a Tolli B2-119
Villa i Cipressi B2-98
Villa Le Prata B2-101
Villa Poggio Salvi B2-168
Vini Italiani da Sogno B3-171
Voliero C3-221

Source: International Wine ReviewConsorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino and Wikipedia. Pictureas are  © CONSORZIO del VINO BRUNELLO and WINEDINEGUIDE®
I’m Raffaele De Gennaro and I work as a wine consultant for Vinifera Imports, in the Hudson Valley area and sell to Restaurants and Wine Shops. Please contact me via email: rdegennaro@vinobis.com Thank You.

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