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


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 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 maritime winds, producing wines with more power and complexity.

Montalcino  is only 10 miles in diameter and the variations in altitude and soil composition, vary throughout its sub-regions.

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, 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. 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 producing 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 Capanna, 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.

Since 1945, the “five-star vintages” have been the following: 1945, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1975, 1987, 1988, 1990,1995, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007,2010,2012,2015,2016

Source: International Wine ReviewConsorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino and Wikipedia. Pictures are  © CONSORZIO del VINO BRUNELLO and WINEDINEGUIDE®

Barolo DOCG – The Grand Crus

Barolo DOCG, produced from Nebbiolo grapes, comes from the province of Cuneo in Piedmont

Eleven communes with 500 plus members, make up the Barolo area: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba and some parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, Novello, Roddi and Verduno.

The Vine

A listing of the Barolo Communes and the Vineyards where the Barolo Grand Crus are produced

The Nebbiolo vine requires a south or southwest-facing hillside, for the right formation of tannins and an altitude of between 650 and 1,500 feet above sea level, where spring frosts rarely occur. The vine buds in mid April and ripens around the middle of October. Nebbiolo is the oldest indigenous red-grape vine of Piedmont. Nebbiolo derives from “nebbia”, Italian for fog.

In the 1970s and 1980s trends in the worldwide market favored fruitier, less tannic wines that could be consumed at a younger age. A group of Barolo producers, led by the house of Ceretto, Paolo Cordero di Montezemolo, Elio Altare, and Renato Ratti, started making more modern, international styles of Barolos by using shorter periods for maceration (days as opposed to weeks) and fermentation (usually 48–72 hours or at most 8–10 days), less time aging in new small oak barrels and an extended period of bottle aging prior to release.

Few wineries evoke excellence and artistry the way the Gaja family name does. To utter these two simple syllables is to call forth one of the greatest and most venerated traditions in European winemaking. To mention this family and its wines is to summon an icon and touchstone of Italian viticulture.

The Wine

Barolo is required by DOCG regulations, to age for a total of 38 months, includes 18 months in wood, starting on November first. If Barolo is aged for 62 months, includes 18 months in wood, it’s called Barolo Riserva. Barolo cannot be made available to the consumer prior to January first of the fourth year of its harvest, while for  Barolo Riserva its the sixth year from its harvest, again after January first.

The color of Barolo is an intense garnet red with fruity and spicy perfumes. Red berries, cherries, roses, violets, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and at times, licorice, cocoa, tobacco and leather, are present both in the nose and in the mouth.

In the mid 19th century, Barolo was a sweet wine, because it was a late harvest grape

But the mayor of Grinzane Cavour, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, a municipality in the Province of Cuneo summoned Louis Oudart, French enologist to the region to enhance winemaking procedures. Oudart was able to ferment the Nebbiolo must completely dry; the maceration and fermentation process took around three weeks. Today fruitier, earlier drinking wines are preferred and winemakers have decreased fermentation times hence creating earlier drinkable wines.

The Barolo area is divided into east and west

The Central Valley to the east is made up of Tortonian soil that creates more approachable wines characterized by rose and violet fragrances with a distinguished softness and elegance and the Serralunga Valley to the west, consists of Helvetian soil which generally creates long lived, powerfully concentrated wines that mature slowly.

The Tortonian soil is darker in color with compact calcareous marl mixed with sand and rich in magnesium and manganese. The  Helvetian soil is lighter in color with looser calcareous marl soil, less fertile and rich in iron and phosphorous.

A listing of the Barolo Communes and the Vineyards where the Barolo Grand Crus are produced


Albarella, Bergeisa, Boschetti, Bricco delle Viole, Bricco San Giovanni, Brunate, Cannubi, Cannubi Boschis, Cannubi Muscatel, Cannubi San Lorenzo, Cannubi Valletta, Castellero, Cerequio, Coste di Rose, Coste di Vergne, Crosia Druca’,  Fossati, La Volta, Le Coste, Liste, Monrobiolo di Bussia, Paiagallo, Preda, Ravera, Rivassi, Rue’, San Lorenzo, San Pietro, San Ponzio, Sarmassa, Terlo, Vignane, Zoccolaio, Zonchetta, Zuncai.

Castiglione Falletto

Altenasso, Garblet Sue’, Garbelletto Superiore, Bricco Boschis, Bricco Rocche, Bricco Vigna Mirasole, Brunella, Codana, Fiasco, Mariondino, Monriondino or Rocche Moriondino, Monprivato, Montanello, Parussi, Pernanno, Pianta’, Pira, Pugnane, Rocche di Castiglione, Scarrone, Solanotto, Valentino, Vignolo, Villero.

La Morra

Annunziata, Arborina, Ascheri, Berri, Bettolotti, Boiolo, Brandini, Bricco Chiesa, Bricco Cogni, Bricco Luciani, Bricco Manescotto, Bricco Manzoni, Bricco Rocca, Bricco San Biagio, Brunate, Capalot, Case Nere, Castagni, Cerequio, Ciocchini, Conca, Fossati, Galina, Gattera, Giachini, La Serra, Rive, Rocche dell’Annunziata, Rocchettevino, Roere di Santa Maria, Roggeri, Roncaglie, San Giacomo, Santa Maria, Sant’Anna, Serra dei Turchi, Serradenari, Silio, Torriglione.

Monforte d’Alba

Bricco San Pietro, Bussi,a Castelletto, Ginestra, Gramolere, Le Coste di Monforte, Mosconi, Perno, Ravera di Monforte, Rocche di Castiglione, San Giovanni

Serralunga d’Alba

Arione, Badarina, Baudana, Boscareto, Brea, Bricco Voghera, Briccolina, Broglio, Cappallotto, Carpegna, Cerrati, Cerretta, Collaretto, Colombaro, Costabella, Damiano, Falletto, Fontanafredda, Francia, Gabutti, Gianetto, Lazzarito, Le Turne, Lirano, Manocino, Marenca, Margheria, Meriame, Ornato, Parafada, Prabon, Prapo’, Rivette, San Bernardo, San Rocco, Serra, Teodoro, Vignarionda.


Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico Returning to NYC with the Prestigious Gran Selezione

An Exploration of the Terroirs of Chianti Classico
with Antonio Galloni, Founder, Vinous

Miami, FL – April 29, 2015 – Whichever the producer, the common ground is always the same: membership in Italy’s oldest wine consortium, which brings together wineries of different sizes and origins under the same symbol, the Black Rooster. A presentation of the latest Chianti Classico vintages to the top wine experts and press will be held May 13 in New York City at the historic The New York Public Library (5th Ave and 42nd Street). It represents a unique occasion for learning all about the Chianti Classico appellation, its labels and what’s new in one of the world’s most important wine territories. Over 30 of Italy’s most distinguished producers will present what makes the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico’s top-tier wine, including its virtues and characteristics that elegantly express the Tuscan wineries’ grandest selections, along with their Chianti Classico latest releases and Riservas.

The event will debut with the “An Exploration of the Terroirs of Chianti Classico” masterclass tasting with Antonio Galloni, Founder of Vinous, from 11 am to 12.30 pm. Trade and media will have the opportunity to engage with Chianti Classico producers and taste in addition to the Gran Selezione, Chianti Classico Vintages and Riserva wines in the magnificent Edna Barnes Salomon Room during the afternoon walk around tasting from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Gran Selezione, a new type of Chianti Classico at the summit of the Black Rooster denomination’s quality pyramid was first presented to the world a little over a year ago. It signified a true trend reversal. For the first time in the history of Italian Wine denominations, Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico created a new type of wine, positioned at the summit of the quality pyramid and not at its base. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a wine that responds solely and exclusively to criteria for high-range placement and it was immediately projected into a well-defined market space. Fifteen months from its launch, Gran Selezione is being produced throughout the Chianti Classico territory in all of its communes, with 73 wineries that were already certified in 2014 and at the beginning of 2015, for one or more vintages, for a total of 78 labels of Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. In 2014, a million and half bottles were produced generating nearly 35 million euros in sales.

It is worthy of note that the Black Rooster registered the best performance among Tuscany’s great reds in the past year. In 2014 overall sales rose 5% thanks to further growth in exports, which in 2014 reached 82% of output, the highest ever; the USA being once again the number one market. Chianti Classico’s performance is in line with overall trends in the Italian wine sector that sees America consolidating its position as a strategic market. An apparent “return to the past” since this market continues to be “enamored” of Italian wine, and Tuscany’s most of all.

We are very pleased with market trends,” stated both by the President and General Director of the Consortium, Sergio Zingarelli and Giuseppe Liberatore respectively. “An achievement partly due to the locomotive effect of Gran Selezione, the new type of Chianti Classico presented to the trade one year ago. By introducing Gran Selezione wines, Chianti Classico sent the market a definite signal of its will to further increase the qualitative level of the denomination and this decision certainly had positive impact on product image and sales.
Today Gran Selezione is at the summit of the Chianti Classico quality pyramid, with sales accounting for about 4% of the total, but it has given and will be giving fundamental impulse to all of Chianti Classico. It is a type of wine that we very much longed for and that has further qualified our offer. A great wine,” Liberatore concludes, “which has already been highly acclaimed by the international wine press and public and just in a short time joined the ranks of the world’s finest wines”.


Wineries to be showcased at the tastings are: Barone Ricasoli, Bibbiano, Carobbio, Casa Emma, Casa Sola, Castello d’Albola, Castello di Ama, Castello di Cacchiano, Castello di Fonterutoli, Castello di Gabbiano, Castello di Volpaia, Castello La Leccia, Cennatoio, Colle Bereto, Felsina, Fontodi, Il Molino di Grace, Isole e Olena, Lanciola, Lornano, Luiano, Marchesi Antinori, Ormanni, Poggio al Sole, Poggio Torselli, Rocca delle Macie, Rocca di Montegrossi, Ruffino, Tolaini, Vignamaggio and Vignavecchia.

The Chianti Classico Wine Consortium was founded in 1924 to provide the regulation of and promotion for the Chianti Classico D.O.C.G., the historical winemaking region comprised of 172,900 acres in the heart of Tuscany. Its boundaries were formally defined in 1932, the word “Classico” (translated to “the first” or “the original”) was attributed to the appellation created in the territory where Chianti wine was originally produced and the only one which nowadays can geographically bear this name (e.g. Greve, Castellina and Radda “in Chianti”). With 566 members, of whom approximately 371 are bottlers, the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium now represents 96% of the entire denomination and has up-to-date, well-structured and professional organization in charge of the mission for which it was created: protecting and valorizing Chianti Classico wine and its trademark.
More information can be found at

Media interviews with the Chianti Classico Consortium President, Mr. Sergio Zingarelli, and with the Chianti Classico Consortium General Director, Mr. Giuseppe Liberatore, will be available on site upon request. If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact:

Ana Murguia (New York)

For more information please contact:
Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico
Silvia Fiorentini


To register for trade and press portions, please visit