Montosoli (officially Località Colombaio di Montosoli) is a renowned locality in the Montalcino region of Tuscany located just north of the town itself. Montosoli is considered one of Montalcino’s most highly regarded terroirs due to its favourable soils, altitude and relatively cool climate. Montosoli takes the form of a rounded hill, with altitudes ranging from 200-350 metres (650-1,150ft) above sea level (Kerin O’Keefe: 11 2006, p.77). Like Sesta to the south of Montalcino, Montosoli could be described as a largely self-regulating terroir as far as wine-growing is concerned. Geologically, Montosoli is separate from the rest of Montalcino.

Soil: The soil is limestone-rich, with a mix of galestro, scheletro (soil rich in rock fragments, stones) and pietrisco or alluvial rubble which helps it to drain well. Kerin O’Keefe (2012, p.59) describes the soil as a complex mix of marl, loam, rock, and limestone. The Altesino winery describes its vines on Montosoli as being on soils that are on ‘calcari marnosi e calcari silicei riferibili all’Alberese con componenti litoidi dello stesso periodo.’

Mesoclimate: In Montalcino in general cold air from the east is blocked by Mount Amiata. Montosoli has the added protection from the hill of Montalcino itself directly to the south. Thus Montosoli is spared the autumn fog that often invades the lower altitudes north of Montalcino, and suffers less from spring frosts (O’Keefe, 2012, p.159). So while Montosoli should be a cool terroir, it is never too cold. Rather it is the warmest and most temperate sub-zone in the north of Montalcino.

Typical rootstocks: The main ones used on Montosoli appear to be 420A, and 1103P (on clay).

Terroir mapping: Alessandro Masnaghetti has produced a soil map of Montosoli.

Defining Montosoli: Ian D’Agata says ‘the real Montosoli site is a small one, and much of the land that is now legally called Montosoli is in fact not the true Montosoli. The real Montosoli is a mostly south-facing slope, while that part of the hill swerving westward is more accurately referred to as Le Gode di Montosoli. To be fair, the latter is also a great site and one of the best places to grow Sangiovese in all of Montalcino, but just like Batard-Montrachet is not quite Montrachet, and Cannubi Valletta is not the same as Cannubi, those parallels apply here (both soils and exposures vary, for example), he says in ‘Montalcino: The Great 2015 Brunello’s & More,’ for Vinous 02 April 2020).

Wine style: Notably perfumed wines, with powerful but fine structure, finely delineated tannins, good acidity, elegant and fruity. In the best estates the wines almost make themselves.

Wineries, vineyard owners

Certified organic: Le Ragnaie

No certification: Altesino (‘Vigna La Casa’). | Baricci (‘Colombaio Montosoli’). | Canalicchio di Sopra (Ripaccioli). | Capanna di Cencioni. | Caparzo (‘Montosoli’). | Cerbaia. | Fattoria del Pino di Jessica Pellegrini

La Capanna di Cencioni

Bibliography

Kerin O’Keefe, ‘Brunello’s moment of truth’, World of Fine Wine 11 2006 p.77.

Kerin O’Keefe, ‘Brunello di Montalcino’ (University of California Press, 2012), p.159-161

Kerin O’Keefe, ‘Making Sense of Montalcino,’ Wine Enthusiast May 2014.