Rosso di Montalcino: 11 bottles to love the younger brother of Brunello

Rosso steals the show, for the first time, from Brunello and enjoys the limelight. The “Red Montalcino” event, last 11 June in the Tuscan village, presented the Ilcinese Doc in a new light. A more pop wine and within the reach of an audience of wine lovers made up largely of young people. A denomination no longer intended only for immediate or almost immediate consumption but capable of evolving in the bottle. In short, to age gracefully just like Brunello. The event organized by the Consortium made the Rosso a star between presentation at the Astrusi Theater, masterclasses, tastings and finally dinner-event inside the Fortress in collaboration with Food for Soul, the no-profit and zero waste association founded by chef Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara Gilmore. “The Rosso di Montalcino Doc was born in 1983 – underlines the president of the Consortium, Fabrizio Bindocci, who has just been re-elected for the third time -. In truth, in the seventies there was already a red wine from the Brunello vineyards, it was a table wine ”.

Today the Rosso is produced in Montalcino with Sangiovese grapes, very often with the lower quality grapes of Brunello. In short, a wine obtained by downgrading. In the last 15 years the producers have decided to lower the yield per hectare: from the 8 thousand kilos required by the regulations to 7 thousand kilos per hectare, allocating the rest to the Rosso. Only a part of the companies has decided to dedicate part of the hectares available to the production of the Doc. It is estimated about 600 hectares against 2,100 for Brunello, for a total of about 3.5 million bottles produced per year against 9-11. millions of bottles of Brunello. An inverted pyramid if you think of other Italian denominations where entry level wine usually does at least double in terms of the results of the top of the range product.

If it seems impossible to reverse the numbers in favor of Red, you can work on a different positioning of the Doc and on a certainly higher price. “Red Montalcino” has therefore set in motion a mechanism, we hope virtuous, for a more combative approach to markets, especially international ones, exploiting the strengths of Rosso. First of all, the pleasure and versatility. The bottles can be put on sale from September of the year following the harvest with much shorter aging times. The price of the Rosso is about half of the Brunello: it ranges from 8 to 30 euros ex cellar. In short, Red has several arrows in his bow. If we need to talk about competitors, as underlined by the president Bindocci himself, it is Chianti Classico and Morellino.

There are about a hundred producers of Rosso and about seventy companies participated in “Red Montalcino” demonstrating great attention to the event. Brunello counts on 250 companies. The Rosso, thanks also to the pandemic, in recent years has had a real exploit to the point that in the face of growing demand, the product is scarce. This is why the reopening of the Rosso del Rosso register, which has been closed since 1997, is being requested from many quarters. The price increase alone, which has already risen in recent years, does not therefore seem to be the only solution. For this reason, the Consortium, after the event, says it is ready to start a reflection on future moves to be made. “Certainly, now that the corporate offices have also been renewed, the debate will open with the producers and the question will be put on the table” concludes Bindocci. The only certainty, to date, is that after the success of Red Montalcino, the encore, in 2023 when the denomination turns 40, is already insured.

A composite picture of the world of Rosso emerged from the Red Montalcino masterclasses and tasting tables: many producers have decided to focus on the product with selections or even Cru, demonstrating that the Ilcinese Doc has the numbers to break through. Here are some samples from the Red Montalcino event.

FATTORIA DEI BARBI Colombini Selection 2020

The Rosso di Montalcino from Fattoria dei Barbi is produced with Sangiovese grapes, harvested and selected by hand from the youngest vines. The wine is aged partly in stainless steel tanks and partly in oak barrels for 6 months. It has the characteristic bright ruby ​​red color. On the nose the bouquet is harmonious, with hints of red fruits and balsamic herbs with hints of incense. On the palate it is savory, with the sweetness of the tannins and the citrus acidity.

IL MARRONETO Jacopo 2019

This Rosso di Montalcino bears the name of Alessandro Mori’s son. It was obtained from a round of barrels. Jacopo has selected the masses of Brunello that he considered most ready, downgrading them and the result is a sort of vintage cuvèe as he likes to define it. Only 3,333 bottles of the 2019 vintage. The Marroneto is aged in 25-hectolitre oak barrels for about 8 months, then six months of aging in the bottle. Elegant wine, with a floral bouquet with a clear note of red fruits and cherries. Hints of spices and tobacco are appreciated, with a balsamic finish. Balanced tannins and a good structure. Persistent finish.

CASANOVA DI NERI Giovanni Neri 2020

Giovanni Neri is dedicated to the founder of the company on the occasion of 50 years of activity. Strong the territorial imprint of this Red whose grapes come from the Sesta area, among the best in the Ilcinese territory for the magnificent exposure. A pure Sangiovese that ages in tonneau for about a year and a half. Bright and transparent ruby ​​red wine. The nose features fruity notes: strawberries, black cherry, raspberry and currant and floral notes: especially roses and violets with hints of licorice. On the palate it is an explosion of freshness, without losing elegance and balance. Well balanced tannins, persistent finish.

COL D’ORCIA Banditella 2019

Banditella is a vineyard planted in 1998 and obtained from a selection of company clones. The land faces south with a view of the Orcia river. This Rosso di Montalcino is a cru obtained from the downgrading of grapes destined for Brunello. The wine is left to mature for 12 months in oak barriques and tonneaux. Bright ruby ​​red color, on the nose notes of small berries, cherry, black cherry with notes of spices and vanilla deriving from the wood. In the mouth it is enveloping with very elegant tannins and a persistent finish.

SMALL CIACCI D’ARAGONA Rossofonte 2019

The origins of the Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona estate in Montalcino date back to the 17th century. The company’s vineyards are south-west facing near the Orcia river. Among the rows stands out the Sangiovese grosso, typical of Montalcino. The wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels for one year and ends with another 6-8 months in the bottle. It is a wine with a clear ruby ​​red color, with fruity notes of currant, raspberry and floral and spicy hints such as pink pepper. Well structured and well balanced with elegant tannins.

CAPARZO The Fall 2017

Founded in 1970, the Caparzo winery is one of the 12 historic wineries in Montalcino and has contributed to making Brunello a legend. La Caduta is the name of a vineyard facing south of Montalcino: it was identified by the company for the production of Rosso di Montalcino. The wine obtained has a rather intense ruby ​​red color. Fruity notes stand out on the nose, especially currants and raspberries and hints of vanilla. A complex, elegant and very harmonious wine that is persistent on the palate.

ARGIANO Rosso di Montalcino 2020

A historic cellar dating back to 1580, a winery that cares about the environment to the point of having banned the use of plastic. This is Argiano’s calling card who for the rest prefers to let his wines talk about him, such as the Rosso di Montepulciano da Sangiovese in purity. A wine that is aged for about a year in large and small barrels. Brilliant ruby ​​red color, the bouquet is rich in aromas: from red fruit to balsamic herbs and Mediterranean scrub. On the palate it is elegant, balanced. Fresh taste with good minerality, long and persistent finish.

POGGIO DI SOTTO Rosso di Montalcino 2019

The grapes come from the vineyards in the Castelnuovo dell’Abate area, in the valley of the Orcia river. They are hand picked and selected one by one. The wine remains in oak barrels for 24 months and then for another 6 months in the bottle to complete the refinement. It is a wine that is strongly influenced by the Poggio di Sotto terroir, the nose has unmistakable notes of raspberry and black currant, spices, aromatic herbs and cedar. An elegant wine of great refinement. On the palate it is of a certain complexity, with well-balanced notes.

CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO Rosso di Montalcino Cru Gauggiole 2019

Gauggiole, the name refers to one of the historic villas of Castiglion Del Bosco, is obtained from the selection of the best grapes from the vineyards located in the north east and comes from an excellent year. The wine spends six months in stainless steel tanks, a year and a half in concrete and ends 4 months of aging in the bottle. The characteristic bright red goes well with a bouquet of red fruit with herbaceous and floral notes, especially pink and purple. Spicy nuances, pepper in particular for a well balanced wine with elegant tannins, destined to age well.

IL POGGIONE Rosso di Montalcino 2019

It is produced only with Sangiovese grapes harvested by hand from the youngest vineyards of the company. The wine is left to mature in large French oak barrels and barriques for about a year and ends the refinement period with a passage in the bottle. Intense ruby ​​red color, on the nose notes of red berries (raspberry, currant but also black cherry and cherry) and floral and toasted hints. Soft tannins for a wine that on the palate has an excellent structure and a fairly persistent finish.

SAN POLO ALLEGRINI Rosso di Montalcino 2019

From the Valpollicella Classica to the land of Brunello. The Allegrini family in Tuscany has over 100 hectares in the Ilcinese territory where organic certification and sustainability are the words on the agenda for the San Polo company. The Sangiovese grapes destined for Rosso di Montalcino come from Podernovi, a farm facing south. They are harvested by hand, while the grapes are selected one by one. The wine first ages in French oak tonneaux then for a shorter period in the bottle. It has a brilliant ruby ​​red color, hints of cherry and blackberry are well recognizable on the nose, while the vanilla touch comes from the passage in oak. The Red has good structure and persistence, tannins are soft and anything but intrusive.

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