The beautiful Medieval town of Montalcino crowns one of the soft hills of the picturesque Val d’Orcia. The town and surrounding countryside is renowned for its production of Brunello wine. Visitors should take at least half a day to admire the landscape, architecture as well as the wine.

The beautiful village of Montalcino in a sunny day
The beautiful village of Montalcino on a sunny day

How to Get there

The best way to get to Montalcino is by car. The drive, depending on traffic, should stay under 2 hours. Take the highway in direction of Siena. Follow signs for the Siena-Sud exit and continue towards Montalcino.

Wine Tour

Travellers who want to get a true feel for Brunello wine should make a stop at a winery and enjoy a wine tasting. The tour operator I Just Drive organises a day trip to Montalcino and the neighbouring town of Montepulciano, another great wine producer.

A Little Wine History

Brunello wine bottles on a wooden shelf
Brunello wine bottles on a wooden shelf. As you can see by looking at the price tags, Brunello di Montalcino is not the cheapest wine out there.

Though wine making has been a part of the Montalcino tradition as far back as the Middle Ages, the area was originally known for its white Moscadello wine.

In the mid 19th century, a pharmacist named Clemente Santi started experimenting with the production of a red wine. He participated to many agricultural fairs and won prizes for his creation.

The landscape from the city of Montalcino over Val d'Orcia
Montalcino is surrounded by the beautiful Val d’Orcia landscape

Inspired by his success, a few other local families followed in his tracks. By the beginning of the 20th century, even though the Brunello wine was gaining fame, it was still produced in very small quantities.

This famous red’s production really started picking up after the two World Wars to take Italy and the world by storm.

How the Wine Is Made

Brunello is a DOCG (controlled origin) wine produced in the Montalcino area. Along with Barolo, it ages extremely well, so buying a bottle of Brunello is always a good investment!

A bunch of Sangiovese grapes
A close up of Sangiovese grapes. These are the only grapes that can be used to produce Brunello Wine

The wine is made solely of Sangiovese grapes, aged for two years in durmast containers and then kept at least 4 months in its bottle. The fermentation, ageing and bottling process must be done in the Montalcino area in order to get the Brunello di Montalcino appellation.

A cave of Brunello di Montalcino wine
A Brunello di Montalcino wine cellar.

Brunello Characteristics and Pairings

Brunello wine is ruby red in colour with aroma that recalls geranium, cherry and spices. Its flavour is dry, a bit tannic, robust, aromatic and persistent on the tongue. In order to truly enjoy your Brunello, pair it with red meat, game, mushrooms and truffle.

It also combines extremely well with mature cheeses such as pecorino. Best served at room temperature in wide rimmed glasses.

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