One of the highlights of my Tuscany travels was visiting the medieval borgo of Montalcino. Steeped in history that dates back to the Etruscan times, this hilltop village holds a lot of charm and is best known nowadays for the Brunello di Montalcino wine.
Only 5,300 people live in Montalcino, which sprawls from the centro district along the valley floor below Monte Amiata, a dormant volcano (last eruption was over 300,000 years ago). Montalcino is a very picturesque area with vineyards lining the country roads and Abbadia di S’Antimo gracing the southern wine trail.
In centro Montalcino, enotecas (wine stores) are plentiful, all pouring the heavenly juice of Bacchus ~ aka Brunello di Montalcino. So little time, and so many Brunellos!
I chose to taste at Enoteca di Piazza after researching online and reading reviews in travel books. I admit that I was a little overwhelmed by all the Brunellos available for tasting.
Over 200 producers’ wines were displayed and over half of those Brunellos were available for tasting!!! Not knowing where to start, I entrusted one of the knowledgeable, (and charming), young men to guide me through my tasting, which was surprisingly free. What a way to spend an afternoon!
Brunellos are 100% Sangiovese that are aged for a minimum of five years in oak. The most common and affordable vintages were 2007 and 2008, although I did taste a very special high-end Brunello for fun! Prices ranged from 27 euros to over 250 euros, depending on the vintage and producer.
After much thought, I selected a 2008 Fornacina Brunello, a 2008 Tenuta Nuova Brunello, a 2008 San Lorenzo Brunello, a 2008 Mastrojanni Brunello and a 2007 Romitorio Brunello to ship back to California. Ahhhhhhh…..
After your degustazione at Enoteca di Piazza, (wine tasting), stroll around town and visit La Fortezza di Montalcino, an imposing 13th century fortress that stands at the highest point of town.