Founded in the late 1800s, this is the estate that is credited with creating Brunello di Montalcino. Today, this is still one of the leading local estates, as Franco Biondi Santi has maintained his approach of aging in large oak to produce a classically structured wine. The wines are expensive, but you owe it to yourself to try them at least once to experience the history and style of this famous company.
A tiny estate (total production of about 50,000 bottles per year) that makes gorgeous wines in a traditional style. Beautifully balanced with nice purity of fruit, both the regular Brunello as well as the Riserva are excellent examples of the local terroir.
CASANUOVA DELLE CERBAIE
This tiny estate (about 50,00 bottles annually total) produces Brunello di Montalcino of superb focus with very ripe fruit, ample oak and rich tannins. The wines are in a modern style to be sure, but they offer beautiful balance and are very fine expressions of the local terroir. The Rosso di Montalcino is big and forward and is one of the best of its type. A hidden gem!
Established by American John Mariani in the late 1970s, this striking estate has been one of the most influential in Montalcino. The Rosso di Montalcino has a nice earthy expression of terroir, while the regular Brunello is a consistent release with very good fruit character and polished tannins. Even better are the first-rate Brunello “Poggio Alle Mura” and the outstanding Brunello Riserva, “Poggio All’Oro”, which is bursting with layers of fruit along with subtle spiciness. This is a mouthfilling expression of the heights a modern style Brunello producer can reach!
Over the past few decades, this consistent estate has changed ownership hands several times (Francesco Marone Cinzano is the current owner), but the wines have remained at a consistent high quality level. The wines are aged in large oak and offer a beautiful sense of terroir. The Riserva bottling, “Poggio al Vento” (“hill of the wind”) offers great complexity and ages beautifully.
Proprietor Sergio Marchetti produced his first Brunello from the 1997 vintage and has quickly become one of the finest producers in the area. Aged in small and large oak, what is most impressive about this Brunello is the overall elegance as the wines are quite drinkable upon release. Marchetti owns only 5 acres of Brunello vineyards at his estate in the town of Tavernelle, south of Montalcino, so he produces only 12,000 bottles of Brunello in a typical year, which makes this difficult to find. However, this is well worth the search, especially if you are seeking a classically styled Brunello.
A small estate owned by American businessman, Richard Parsons. The winemaking here focuses on a traditional style, as there is nice balance of fruit, oak and acidity with refined tannins. Always impressive, the wines have become even better in recent years (especially the 2001 and 2004). The Riserva bottlings are always notable with a few (such as the 1998) achieving greatness.
This producer is all about tradition when it comes to Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino as they age their wines solely in large barrels (botti) – no barrique aging for these wines! The results are often stunning with lovely floral and fruit perfumes and great fruit concentration. The wines also offer a lengthy finish with silky tannins. The Rosso is one of the area’s finest while the Riserva is as elegant and as beautifully structured as any Brunello you will find. These are classic wines that age marvelously!
Fabrizio Bindocci, winemaker, Il Poggione | Photo ©Tom Hyland
Livio Innocenti oversees this young estate and produces elegant Brunello with beautiful harmony of all components. These offer wonderful depth of fruit with nicely integrated oak. Each wine has lovely floral aromas to go along with the expressive fruit, backed by a long, polished finish.
A tiny estate where owner Nicolo Magnelli produces a gorgeous traditional style of Brunello that expresses great tipicity. This is what classic Brunello tastes like! The Riserva bottlings, especially 1997, 1999 and 2001 are highly recommended!
A superb estate owned by the Gloder family (Paola is one of the loveliest people I have ever met). Each wine is superb with great fruit concentration, excellent length in the finish and beautiful expression of terroir. The regular Brunello is aged in large oak; the “Altero” bottling is aged in mid-sized French oak, while the Riserva is aged in a combination of both types of barrels. These are beautifully balanced and expressive wines meant to age!
SESTA DI SOPRA
A tiny estate in Castelnuovo dell’Abata south of Montalcino that produces a Brunello of great harmony and expression of terroir. There is excellent concentration of fruit, perfectly integrated oak (only large oak aging) and beautiful acidity. These wines reveal themselves beautifully after several years of aging. No immediate flash here- only the promise of greatness down the road!
A consistent estate that produces a regular Brunello as well as a special bottling labeled “Manachiara.” Both wines feature very good concentration of fruit with lively acidity and a nice sense of terroir. The “Manachiara” bottling, from one part of the estate, is quite full with plenty of sumptuous currant and cherry fruit.
Pierluigi Talenti purchased this estate in 1980 and has been producing traditionally styled Brunello di Montalcino ever since. The wines are aged in large and mid-size oak, so the wood influence is minimal, allowing the beautiful fruit to emerge. Carlo Ferrini makes the wines here; it is interesting to see the difference in these wines from the more modern style of Brunello he produces at Casanova di Neri.
Established in 1968, Caparzo has been around longer than most estates in Montalcino and the wines have been first-rate since day one. These wines emphasize the local terroir and are structured for aging. The “La Casa” bottling ages exceptionally well. Caparzo also produces an elegant, very supple Rosso di Montalcino as well.
Andrea Cortonesi has made this estate into one of the most consistent in Montalcino over the last 20 years. The wines are beautifully structured and offer a nice mix of tradition and modernity as they are aged in both large and small oak. The regular bottling is a good representation of the vintage, while the Riserva is bigger and bolder, yet not flashy.
Andrea Cortonesi, Owner/Winemaker, Uccelliera | Photo ©Tom Hyland
This is one of the best producers of Brunello in a modern style as the wines offer excellent concentration of sumptuous fruit with stylish oak and polished tannins. The regular bottling is always worth seeking out, while the “Madonna del Piano” Riserva is often a stunning wine! If you don’t know this producer now, you will soon.