Tuscany Seminar – Day 3 – Brunello di Montalcino with Tom Maresca & Summary Video!

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This was the day I was really looking forward to… and I must say that it was all I expected and more!  The set up and clean up was quite laborious, but well worth the 13 wines tasted during the seminar!  I thought my palate would tire out, but I hung in and really enjoyed the last couple of wines as they kept getting better and better!

Brunello is the most recent star of Tuscany (in relative terms), creating the demand for higher priced wines that are both rare and quite widely sought after.  Not everyone understands, or even likes the wines from Brunello di Montalcino, but those who do, know that there’s nothing else in the world quite like it!   The most recent release, the 2006 vintage was what we tried at the tasting, and thanks to a few of my official wine friends (Tony, Sonia, Janice, and George)  who recently visited the region, I posses a signed bottle from the winemaker at La Fornace!

The region has very strict rules regarding the grapes used, aging requirements (both in cask & in bottle) as well as how densely the vines can be planted and how large the yield of grapes can be each harvest.  Brunellos must be made with 100% Sangiovese grapes, but as you know if you just watched the video, there can be many different clones, and styles of this 1 grape variety.  Aging requirements are a minimum of 2 years in barrel and 3 additional years in bottle, making a total minimum of 5 years before release.  That is one of the main reasons a Brunello demands such high prices, due to the capital costs tied up for so long. The viticultural practices are more complicated than I understand right now, so let’s just skip that for now, okay?

So what if you love Brunello di Montalcino, but just can’t afford to buy it all the time, is there any other option? Yes, well sort of.  It’s the baby brother, Rosso di Montalcino.  The aging requirements are not as strict, and they will often be made with the lesser quality grapes, “that just didn’t make the cut”, but they can still be pretty outstanding wines. Some people actually prefer the often lighter, fruitier alternative to Brunello, but some Rosso di Montalcino can possess very similar qualities as a typical Brunello. I have yet to find a Rosso that compares to some of my favorite Brunellos, but is that really fair? I mean, that’s like asking your parents who their favorite child is… you know the answer, but they shouldn’t have to come out and say it!

Hope you enjoy the video. The seminar was amazing. If you want to know all you need to know about Tuscan Wines, I highly recommend taking it the next time they offer it! Cheers!

image La Fornace 2006 Brunello di Montalcino, signed

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