Brunello di Montalcino

Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino rivals Piemonte’s Barolo and Barbaresco as Italy’s most revered red wine. “Brunello” is Montalcino’s name for its biotype of Sangiovese, the only varietal from which the wine may be made. Montalcino has around 3,500 hectares (8,650 acres) of vines and 250 wineries. A decade ago, Montalcino mired itself in a wholly unnecessary blending scandal (‘Brunellopoli‘). An influx of new estates created by investors with little or no wine-growing experience, a reliance on consultants unfamiliar with Montalcino’s then largely undiscovered terroir (rootstock choice became a lottery…), and points-oriented superstar journalist cheerleaders, one with questionable probity and egregiously limited knowledge of how Sangiovese/Brunello actually works as a varietal, and only cursory checks by the authorities on the bottled wines all combined to create a perfect storm for corner-cutting. And yet. Keepers of Brunello’s flame include the recently retired  Francesco Leanza of Salicutti, Montalcino’s organic pioneer from planting in 1994. He is arguably Brunello’s finest ever producer, combining viticultural excellence (feeding the soil with manure-based, living compost), scrupulous and well-informed low intervention (“natural”) winemaking avant la lettre, and soul. Pian dell’Orino, San Polino, Santa Maria & Stella di Campalto are other to have achieved similar excellence. A decade ago Montalcino had just half a dozen organic or Biodynamic estates. Today, there are over 40 certified organic or Biodynamic Brunello vineyards, with more in conversion. And, three of Montalcino’s five biggest wineries are now certified organic: Castelgiocondo, Col d’Orcia, and Camigliano. Over to you, Barolo and Barbaresco.

Here is a list of certified Montalcino estates:

  • Bolsignano (Roberto Rubegni)
  • Camigliano (Ghezzi family)
  • Campi di Fonterenza (Padovani family)
  • Casa Raia (Kalyna Temertey-Canta; Pierre-Jean Monnoyer)
  • CastelGiocondo (Frescobaldi)
  • Cava d’Onice (Simone Nannetti)
  • Col di Lamo (Gianna Neri)
  • Col d’Orcia (Francesco Marone Cinzano)
  • Collelceto (Elia Palazzesi)
  • Collemattoni (Bucci family)
  • Cordella (Maddalena Cordella)
  • Cupano (Ornella Tondini, Lionel Cousin)
  • Fornacella (Ciacci family)
  • Fornacina (Simone Biliorsi; Janne Enevoldsen)
  • Franci (Fabio Tassi)
  • Il Paradiso di Frassina (Carlo Cignozzi)
  • La Magia (Fabian Schwarz)
  • La Palazzetta (Flavio Fanti)
  • La Rasina (Marco Mantengoli)
  • La Serena (Andrea Mantengoli)
  • Le Chiuse (Simonetta Valiani)
  • Le Macioche ()
  • Le Ragnaie (Riccardo Campinoti)
  • Loacker Corte Pavone (Loacker family)
  • Pian dell’Orino (Jan Erbach, Caroline Pobitzer)
  • Piancornello (Claudio & Silvia Monaci)
  • Piombaia (Roberto Cantini)
  • Podere Il Coco (Giacomo Bindi)
  • Podere Le Ripi (Francesco Illy)
  • Poggio di Sotto (the Tipa family)
  • Poggio San Polo (Allegrini-WineBow)
  • Renieri (Bacci Wines)
  • Salicutti (Eichbauer family)
  • Sanlorenzo (Luciano Ciolfi)
  • San Giuseppe (Stella di Campalto)
  • San Polino (Luigi Fabbro, Katia Nussbaum)
  • Santa Maria (Marino Colleoni)
  • SassodiSole (Roberto Terzuoli)
  • Tassi Fabio (see also Franci)
  • Terralsole (Mario Bollag)