Brunello di Montalcino, The Story of a Great Wine
Brunello di Montalcino traces its roots to the 19th century when local farmers began experimenting
with a native grape variety cultivated in the surrounding territory.
This grape, known as "Brunello" or “Brunellino”, was identified as a variety of Sangiovese.
The delectable wine produced from this fruit can be aged for years, richly enhancing its value..
The Grapevine Classification Board of Siena issued a report on a particular Brunello that had been aged for 32 years from grapes harvested in 1843. It states that the wine was perfectly preserved, displaying its typical qualities, unchanged over time.
The founding father of Brunello di Montalcino was Clemente Santi. In 1869, his 1865 vintage was awarded a silver medal by the Agrarian Committee of Montepulciano. In the years following, this Brunello was awarded other significant international recognition, and was preferred to French wine even in Paris and Bordeaux.
For several years, Brunello remained a prestigious wine, the province of just a few refined connoisseurs. Only in the second half of the 20th century did it transition from an exquisite delicacy known by the elite to an international symbol of the finest Italian wine.
With the introduction of the DOC quality appellation (Denomination of Origin Controlled), Brunello rose to the ranks of the eight most important Italian wines bearing that designation. In 1966, it became a DOC wine, and a year later the Brunello Consortium was founded. In 1980, it was the first wine to become DOCG (Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed), a superior designation for select wines in Italy bearing a specific seal from the government.
The small quantity produced made export difficult. Efforts to market Brunello took off in the ‘70s, but the global market was only conquered after 1980, thanks to the growing number of wineries and bottles produced. Montalcino also led the way in wine tourism, with the first open cellars, guided tours, and a region that welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Countless acknowldgements attest to the quality of the wine: in 1999, "Wine Spectator" listed Brunello among the 12 best wines of the 21st century. In 2006, Brunello was crowned the absolute best in a worldwide ranking.