14 iconic Brunello wine estate to visit in Montalcino
Among vineyards, barrel cellars and unique stories. A journey to discover the wine that the whole world envies us
The fortunes of Montalcino wine began in the Middle Ages thanks to its location on the Francigena, the pilgrims' route to Rome. And its good wine was much appreciated. Until the beginning of the 19th century, the must was the sweet and sparkling Moscadello, produced from white Muscat grapes. The birth of Brunello took place only in the 19th century, thanks to Clemente Santi's studies on the clone of Sangiovese Grosso. In addition to the Biondi Santi family, the Padelletti family (the first to put printed labels on bottles), the Paccagnini family, the Colombini family (pioneers in mail-order sales), the Caetani Lovatelli family and other families contributed to improving the quality of Brunello di Montalcino, a great wine for ageing, adored throughout the world for its power and longevity.
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo
Unforgettable bottles have been corked in this cradle of historic Brunello di Montalcino production. The two reserves, 2004 and 2006, in particular, represent for many connoisseurs and sommeliers special vintages, worthy representatives of this wine of few comparisons, with its fruity, mineral scent and great depth on the palate.
In Castelnuovo dell'Abate, a hamlet of Montalcino, stands the seventeenth-century Palazzo del Vescovo, which became the property of the Ciacci Piccolomini of Aragon in 1877. Inherited by Giuseppe Bianchini in 1985 due to the extinction of the family, it became the residence and headquarters of the farm. Today the palace is a wine cellar/museum that can be visited by appointment, where the most prestigious wines destined for long ageing rest in the ancient underground rooms.
Historic property, now in the hands of Dornatella Cinelli Colombini, 40 hectares in which 17 hectares of Sangiovese vineyards and the cellar for the vinification and barrel aging of Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino. The cellarers are all women, including the oenologist, a unique feature in Italy. Another special feature, which makes the visit to the cellar unique, are the frescoes on the history of Montalcino, which intersperse the barrels of Brunello. The guide tells tourists the little secrets of Brunello, stories and legends of this ancient territory.
This is the jewel in the Marquis Lamberto Frescobaldi's crown in Montalcino. The estate combines, in a perfect balance, the tradition of one of the world's historic wine families, and modernity, understood as a look that is always attentive to the future and aimed at making the most of what this exceptional land can offer. This is the birthplace of Luce, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes, which, in addition to being the first wine produced in Montalcino, is the iconic product of the Frescobaldi brand.
A temple, a monastery, a manor that has stood among the vineyards of Montalcino since Etruscan times, and finally the workshop of the master of the Italian Transavanguardia, Sandro Chia. A postcard place. Drinking his Brunello is an aesthetic experience that begins with the designer labels. Chia was the first to decorate them.
Castiglion del Bosco
An entire medieval hamlet owned by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo since 2003, transformed into a luxury hotel with a spa, gourmet restaurants, a golf course and an extraordinary wine cellar with the private cellars of top guests, who keep their bottles stored there, as if in a vault, so they can taste them here. At harvest time we can all have Haverst Experiences and during the rest of the year guided tours of the winery and tastings.
Casanova di Neri
Not only a distinguished Brunello di Montalcino winery, but a true centre for wine research and brand promotion. The two labels, Cerretalto and Tenuta Nuova, are different and complementary for some of the best Brunello ever. The Etichetta Bianca is famous for its high volume but still high quality.
Renowned throughout the world, Diego Molinari's winery brings to the market a rare and prized Brunello, with a high cost but which unlocks the benefits of Sangiovese on the palate like few others. Defined by some as epic, La Cerbaiona's Brunello is one of the most awarded wines ever.
Owned by the Mariani family since 1978, the winery uses the most advanced technology to preserve the richness of the grapes. There are more than 7000 barriques and barrels are located. Next to the production areas, the Castello di Poggio alle Mura is now completely renovated. Visits consist of a tour of the winery and conclude with tastings of Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino Castello Banfi and Poggio all'Oro, together with samples of local cured meats and cheeses in the Enoteca Banfi, or with lunches at the La Taverna restaurant and dinners under the fascinating vaults of the Sala dei Grappoli.
Andrea Cortonesi has created the fruit of his labours day after day, earning critical praise and an adoring public for his Brunello di Montalcino. A wine made of depth, rich but not heavy, balanced and renowned for its elegance and power.
The prized cru of the Madonna delle Grazie, makes a unique and high value Brunello di Montalcino, a reference for many in the industry. Alessandro Mori leads this label that is winning over more and more tasters and Sangiovese enthusiasts.
Poggio di Sotto
A historic winery, for some years now part of the Bertarelli-Tipa constellation of Collemassari. Here we produce one of the most solid Brunellos, of great depth from a young age, which with ageing show a rare strength and harmony. The bottles of Rosso are also famous, competing in exquisiteness with those of Brunello.
Great wines from tradition, with prices that are certainly not easy to buy but which express the value of a Brunello di Montalcino that is reliable in terms of quality, even for the Rosso. Famous is the Schiena d'Asino, historical pearl of these vineyards.
Soldera Case Basse
Mythical producer of selected Brunello, expensive, rare even in the taste that today has become more traditional than in the past. The 2001 and 2004 vintages are celebrated, making them a must for Brunello tasters at the highest level.