Tuscany covers an incredibly large area of Italian. Many kick-off with Chianti and Chianti Classico. Head a little further South and you’ll discover Montalcino home to Brunello di Montalcino.

Made from Sangiovese, specifically the Sangiove Grosso Clone, Brunello can reach epic heights.

The Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino classifies wines into 3 groups from bottom to top we have 1st Rosso di Montalcino, 2nd Brunello di Montalcino, and, last Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. The usual array of restrictions around yield, time in wood, and, total time ageing before release including time in bottle apply.

It’s most unusual in the determination of Rosso vs Brunello vs Riserva. Often the difference between a Rosso and a Brunello is bunch selection along a row of the same vineyard. From a Brunello to a Brunello Riserva it may simply be a barrel that looked better and was then aged for a further year.

The better producers tend to have specific sites for Rosso vs Brunello and are more likely to declassify Brunello into Rosso than the other way around.

An incredible proportion of the Montalcino can be classified as Brunello di Montalcino. Unfortunately, this is not simply for reasons of quality. There is an abundance of underperforming vineyards and wineries.

Hopefully, over time a more detailed classification with an emphasis on quality will be established.

Combining these two factors makes it even more important to taste the wines before committing to buy!

This, too, has been the reason for some exceptional producers choosing not to maintain membership of the Consorzio, simply classifying their wines as IGT. One of the more basic classification.

Far and away the best example of this is Soldera make of one of the very best Sangiovese’s in Montalcino, in reality, one of the very best wines in the World! One of the most stunning incarnation of Sangiovese on the planet, you would be forgiven for thinking you were drinking an exceptionally good bottle of Grand Cru Burgundy!

Like many Italian regions use of oak can be a defining factor between success and meh! Those using large, often, older oak typically have a better chance of success.

The lesson here is the same one we preach for most regions, know your producers and know your sites!

Conti-Costanti's Rosso di Montalcino

Pertimali's 2015 Brunello

Andrea's 2015 Uccelliera Brunello!

2015 Poggio di Sotto Brunello

Canalicchio's 💯 Burgundian Brunellos!

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