Brunello di Montalcino is known as the royal wine of all Italian Wines. This red wine, consistently known as the best in Italy, has the highest DOCG classification. The DOCG is the premier level of classification and has a guarantee by the Italian government to be a wine of the highest quality. Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, sometimes referred to as Sangiovese Grosso, these thicker-skinned berries produce bold fruit flavors that are high in tannins and high in acidity, which become more elegant as they age…like most great things in life.


A wine tasting of Brunello di Montalcino is the ultimate Tuscan wine experience. We booked a tour through Cellar Tours that brought us to two of the top producers of Brunello where we explored the wine cellars, the wine storage and fermentation processes, and of course – where we tasted some of the best wines in the world.


Brunello di Montalcino is made in the town of Montalcino, and it can only be made in the town of Montalcino to be considered a Brunello. Montalcino is located in the province of Siena in the Tuscany wine region, around 80 km south of the city of Florence. Montalcino has some of the warmest and driest climates in the region with very little rainfall compared to its Tuscan counterparts.

The first inhabitants of Montalcino were artisans, known for making leather nearly 1000 years ago. Now, Montalcino is known as the premier wine town in Italy, if not the world.


Wineries we Visited

Castiglion Del Bosco: Owned by the famous Ferragamo family, this winery is aesthetically impeccable (as one would expect from a Ferragamo) and the wine is elegant, sophisticated, and unique. Even though it’s known as a newer winery in the region, Castiglion Del Bosco has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best.

Casato Prime Donne: This female run winery was the first winery in the region to be run by a female and have all female staffing. The winery was originally created in 1592 by the Castao family. Now passed down through generations to the current owner, Donatella, the daughter of a wine maker, she realized how taxing it is on the body and how physically demanding it is to make wine. Thus, she used machinery to help her all female staff create some of the best wine in the region. The Prime Donne is the premier wine at the Casato Prime Donne, which is consulted by four female tasters prior to distribution.

While there are hundreds of other Brunello wineries in the area, we obviously couldn’t see them all in one day. Other wineries that were recommended by friends are Poggio Antico, Altesino, Fattoria dei Barbi, and Biondi Santi.


Does the Year of the Brunello make a difference?

Like most wines, the vintage (year) makes a difference in the taste. This is dependent on a wide variety of factors, but most often, it depends on the weather of the year. According to Wine Folly, the best years for Brunello are:

  • 2015
  • 2012
  • 2010
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2004
  • 2001
  • 1997

As the Brunello ages, it softens with time. The acidity smooths into a tender taste while the tannins take on a charming chocolate flavor. The best time to drink is 10 years after the vintage year, but if you can’t wait 10 years, you still won’t be disappointed.

What foods does Brunello pair with?

  • Red meats
  • Game
  • Poultry
  • Truffle
  • Tomato-based dishes
  • Pecorino with truffles
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Aged Pecorino
  • Dutch Gouda