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Montalcino, Italy

The imposing fortress of Montalcino defines the skyline of this hilltop town. Located in central Italy, in the provence of Siena, Tuscany, Montalcino’s high elevation offers stunning views over the Asso, Ombrone, and Arbia valleys. The town takes its name from the species of local oak that once covered the area. The lower slopes of the Montalcino hill itself are dominated by highly productive vines and olive orchards.

Brunello, or ‘little dark one’, is the local name for Sangiovese—the signature grape of the region. This fruit is fashioned into the world-renowned Brunello di Montalcino wine, considered by many to be among the ‘nobelist’ of the Italian reds. Its ‘little brother’, also 100% Sangiovese, is the younger and bolder Rosso di Montalcino.

To be designated a true Brunello di Montalcino, Sangiovese must be planted no higher than 600 metres and aged a minimum of four years, two of which in oak. Rosso di Montalcino is aged for six months to one year. Careful and skilful oak aging coaxes complex flavours out of these fine wines.

Photograph by Thomas Fabian via Used through a Creative Commons licence.

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