Brunello

Origin: Famous clone of Sangiovese isolated by Ferruccio Biondi-Santi in 1865. Also known as Sangiovese Grosso. Only four vintages were declared the first 57 years of production (1888, 1891, 1925, 1945) adding to the exclusiveness of the wine

Grown: The clone is widely grown in Tuscany, but it is only in the Region of Montalcino it has gained true success as a single variety. Otherwise also grown in Argentina, USA (California and Washington)

Climate: The Brunello clone needs more heat than other Sangiovese clones to ripen. The region Montalcino is generally the warmest and driest in Chianti

Soil: Galestro (crumbly marl) and clay soils are predominant in the region of Montalcino

Viticulture: Big difference between north and south facing slopes in Montalcino. North facing have a more aromatic profile, while southern facing become more powerful and complex. Very varied altitude also makes for big differences between producers

Vinification: Brunello di Montalcino must be 100% Sangiovese, specifically the clone Brunello. Traditions in the region of Montalcino calls for extended maceration, and a minimum of 2 years on barrel

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Brunello Di Montalcino
  • Rosso Di Montalcino

General Personality:

  • Colour: Red with tawny hints with age
  • Aromas: Blackberry, black cherry, dark violets, dried oregano, chocolate and leather
  • Taste and Texture: Relatively moderate tannins, many and extremely fine-grained. Higher in alcohol and with a balanced acidity, full bodied
  • Conclusion: An Italian heavy weight! Together with Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino is probably Italy’s best-known reads. Not an actual variety, but to put Brunello under the Sangiovese category would at the same time be misleading, since Brunello mainly is used for a very specific style of wines
  • Future: Something to save for your retirement. Some claim that it will need at least 10 years to harmonise in the bottle, while good vintages easily can age a couple of decades (if you can keep yourself from drinking it)

Food pairings:

  • General: A wine to pair with rich dishes. More drinkable on its own than many other Italian wines (like Nebbiolo and Aglianico) especially when a bit older. But all the same, it is an amazing food friendly wine with a good adaptable structure
  • Obvious pairing: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
    Warning This Recipe contain both sausage and cheese! But all the same, it gives the best idea of this amazing pairing. For me, I used Portobello Mushrooms, replaced the sausage with vegan minced meat and some vegan bacon, and the cheeses with a vegan (oat based) cream cheese and added some extra Vegan Cashew Parmesan on top. And well, it just blew my mind!
    The meaty mushroom, with the savoury spices and the structure from the bacon together with the sweetness from the figs. It just brought out the dept for the wine, and made the young Brunello taste all the more complex
  • On the wild side: Dark Chocolate Brownies
    This pairing does not go under Sweet Treats, since it is not sweet. If you try to pair Brunello with a sweet brownie, you will be bitterly disappointed (try simple milk chocolate with some Brunello if you want to understand why). To pull this off, the brownie must be more dark and bitter than sweet. Butter and dark chocolate are key here. I used This Recipe, but I used far less sugar then suggested, and compensated with some cashew flavour and extra dark chocolate instead. Paring works as well with young as older Brunello wines