Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy's Greatest Wines
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Expert wine writer Kerin O'Keefe has a deep personal knowledge of Tuscany and its extraordinary wine, and her account is both thoroughly researched and readable. Organized as a guided tour through Montalcino's geography, this essential reference also makes sense of Brunello's complicated history, from its rapid rise to the negative and positive effects of the 2008 grape-blending scandal dubbed "Brunellogate."
Brunello di Montalcino helps wine lovers maneuver their way among Montalcino's minefield of diversity by breaking the vast commune down into seven distinct subzones, ranging from the highest reaches around the town of Montalcino, which yield austere, elegant wines destined for lengthy aging in cellars; down to the lower plains in the deep south around Sant'Angelo Scalo, home to immediate, muscular Brunellos with higher alchol and lower acidity; and to all the other fascinating areas that lie between those two geographical extremes.
O'Keefe also provides in-depth profiles of 58 carefully chosen wineries, big and small, famous and unknown, who produce excellent Brunellos that best express the quintessential chracteristics of both Sangiovese and the various subzones in Montalcino.
List of Illustrations
Introduction. Brunello: A Modern-Day Phenomenon of Made in Italy
Part One. The Place, the Grape, the History, and the Wine
2. Temperamental Sangiovese: Location, Location, Location
3. Birth of a New Wine
4. Brunello Comes of Age
5. Boom Years and the Loss of Tipicità
6. The Brunellogate Scandal
7. Brunello Today and Tomorrow: The Return to Tipicità, or Business as Usual?
Part Two. Leading Producers by Subzone
9. Bosco and Torrenieri
13. Castelnuovo dell'Abate
Part Three. Beyond Brunello: Other Wines and Local Cuisine
14. Montalcino's Other Wines: Rosso di Montalcino, Moscadello, Sant'Antimo, Chianti Colli Senesi and IGT Toscana
15. Brunello, Rosso, and Food Pairing
Appendix A. Vintage Guide to Brunello
Appendix B. Brunello at a Glance
background. Although owned by insurance giant Allianz, Campogiovanni is run like a family winery. Photograph by Paolo Tenti. The San Felice company, perhaps best known for its Super Tuscan Vigorello and its Chianti Classico, acquired the already established Campogiovanni estate in the mid-1980s. Despite being owned by the insurance giant Allianz, San Felice’s estates are managed with the care usually reserved for family-run wineries. Campogiovanni lies halfway between Sant’Angelo in Colle and
quintessential and finely crafted Brunellos, with enticing aromas of violet, incense, and freshly tilled earth. The creamy palate shows marasca cherry, spice, tobacco, and mineral. Firm tannins and bright acidity should allow them to evolve beautifully for at least a decade or more after release. Their 2005 had impressive depth and creamy fruit for the vintage, which had much better results in Castelnuovo dell’Abate compared to other areas of the denomination. Will drink well through 2016.
much. Under the direction of Dr. Ciatti, many areas were deemed unsuitable for Brunello cultivation, but by the early 1980s several of the larger firms were able to have their way and plant where they wanted since they wield a lot of power within the Consorzio.” The two technicians would visit Montalcino’s cellars, together or separately, and offer assistance and advice. Gambelli, whose main job was to try the wines and consult on the winemaking process, has always claimed that besides
in its own right as opposed to part of a single subzone, but for geographical reasons and simplicity, I’ve listed the estate as part of Camigliano, the closest area. FIGURE 17. Owned by the Frescobaldis since 1989, CastelGiocondo dates back to 1100. It is now the second-largest Brunello producer in terms of acreage and volume. Photograph by Paolo Tenti. Due to its unusual position, CastelGiocondo boasts a wide range of growing conditions, unusual within the confines of a single estate even in a
experiments with massal selection on the nearby Il Poggione estate. FIGURE 22. Astronomer and winemaker Giuseppe Sesti of Castello di Argiano, crafts rich, powerful Brunellos using traditional methods. Photograph by Paolo Tenti. The tepid microclimate of this part of Sant’Angelo, halfway between Sant’Angelo in Colle and Sant’Angelo Scalo, naturally generates fruit-forward wines while the vineyard altitude of 350 meters (1,150 feet) above sea level reins in excess. Soil composition of sand mixed