Montalcino & Brunello Wine
For wine enthusiasts, head to Montalcino & Montepulciano. If you are a wine lover, you have probably heard of these towns but for someone not as versed in this area of Italy, these two towns are known world-wide for producing prestigious, high-quality wine including Vino Nobile, Brunello di Montalcino, and Rosso di Montelcino. This post focuses solely on Montalcino & Brunello wine.
This hilltop town is located about about a 40 minute drive southwest of Lucignano. It is a gorgeous drive through the Val d'Orcia. You will not be disappointed with the views, hilltop medieval towns, castles, and tuscan stone farmhouses you see along the way. Once you are close to Montalcino, you will begin to see the vineyards of Sangiovese all around. Make a reservation (or ask us to make a reservation and recommendation for a winery in this region) and arrive for a mid-morning tasting at one of the vineyards outside the fortress walls. One of our recommendations is La Fornace which is a smaller family owned vineyard (although they do distribute wine around the world) who have been farming Sangiovese for generations. They make both Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, and Grappa, in addition to their own olive oil. Their Brunello is kept to age in barrels for 5 years and then in bottle for 4 months before sold to customers.
Unlike Chianti wine (which is obviously produced in the Chianti region), it is 100% Sangiovese grapes. No other grapes are allowed in Brunello wine unlike Chianti wines that have a requirements of at least 85% Sangiovese grapes. Brunello wine also requires more aging and only gets better with time. Rosso di Montalcino, while similar to Brunello (100% Sangiovese), it is designed to drink young. While in the area, stop in the Brunello Wine Museum to learn about the history of this magical drink.
After your first wine tasting of the day, head up to the historical center of Montalcino. Inside the town's medieval walls, you will find a medieval fortress from the 1300s and a town filled with enotecas, restaurants, and views for days. Have lunch then taste more Brunello wine from all around the region at the various wine shops in town. This town is also known for wine festivals throughout the year but tickets must be bought well in advance as it fills up fast.