MONTALCINO: Brunello, Rosso, Moscadello
The daytrip to Montalcino, one of the two more exclusive wine districts in Tuscany, includes a visit the Montalcino town and tasting in at leat three wineries. In addition, if you want, we’ll visit the St. Antimo Romanesque abbey, or the Monte Oliveto monastery of 1400, and its Renaissance frescoes.
On the top of a mountain, Montalcino has great open views on the Crete farmland, on the tall Mt Amiata volcano, on the forested hills on the west, and, if look at closer distance, on the more sought for, legendary and expensive vineyards of Tuscany. This town could be just another hilltop town, with one or two bars and trattorìe, and its wine could be one of the other good Chianti. But in 1850, it happened that chemist Clemente Santi was feeling inspired, to somehow invent his new wine. Out of trial and selections of the Sangiovese grosso grape, known already as Brunello, he transformed the original rustic wine into a long ageing, austere, high quality one. It took 40 years, more or less, before that the new Brunello was able to challenge the top wines of those times, like Barolo, and Burgundy. In our days the Brunello is a concentrated, deep Sangiovese, aged 5 years to start with, and with mythical ageing potentials.
So, Montalcino, surrounded by legendary vineyards, totals about 200 estates, small, medium or large, and stands as a must, an object of pilgrimage for each and every wine lover, and wine investor. There are family estates with few acres of vineyards, some at walking distance from town, they are the poderi of the original Montalcino people. They work to wines that, first of all, they like for themselves, and form the real roots of the production. Then, maybe halfway down the mountain, we find medium size properties, they give the bigger and the more varied Brunello production, guaranteeing high levels of quality in any case. Some belong to old landlords, often noble dinasties with their historical villas, others to new owners that invested here, coming from all over, Italy, Switzerland, Usa, Brasil, and the rest of the world. The third level are the very big companies wineries, few ones that make Montalcino so famous in most of the world, by distributing millions of bottles all over the planet.
Approaching Montalcino we pick our first tastings in two wineries of the external area. Both of great in different ways, one large, the other of family size. The first winery, likely the Caparzo estate, welcomes you with its with impressive cellars, and the widest choice from gentle whites, to classic and less classic Brunellos, and to Supertuscans. In the second winery - Solaria, Siro Pacenti, or La Rasina - your palate will concentrate on the real classics stuff, Rosso and Brunello, hopefully in the owner-wine maker presence, trying to really catch their deep characters, I mean both of the wines and of the man, or not unusually the woman, who makes it.
Around midday we visit the town, we walk from the central street to the Fortress, maybe taking our lunch break. No wonder that the wine is king here, everyone seems to sell it, butchers, coffee bars, and souvenir shops included. There are good enoteche, or wine bars, where you can go for an horizontal tastings of different estates, and compare a lot of them. One of the local landmarks is the Fortezza, old fort standing on the highest point, pride of Montalcino and of the Sienese people, for it glorious story. Inside it there is another enoteca, with the richest choice of bottles: almost every producer is there, you find everything the famous, the classics, the new entries, the organic wines, and some rare old vintages. Here we can plan our custom made tasting sequence, by zone, by size, by price by taste, all what your palate prefers.
In the afternoon we can include an historical visit, to the St. Antimo abbey. This masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, at 15‘ from town, is almost 1.000 years old, while the older small chapel nearby seems to date back to emperor Charlemagne, when he travelled to Rome to be crowned. We can have our last tasting nearby, in one of the older properties, maybe a Renaissance villa, belonging to an old Sienese family, last one before heading back to your hotel.
Our Favourite Wineries
Solaria, Lambardi, Biondi-Santi, Agostina Pieri, Nello Baricci, Caparzo, Casanuova di Neri, Siro Pacenti, Case Basse, Costanti, La Rasina, Caprili, Campogiovanni, Banfi, Lambardi, Livio Sassetti, Villa a Sesta, Piandellevigne, Lisini.
DAYTRIP RATES. Variable depending on the number of people, as on the mileage. Please click onDaytrips page for details, or better tell us how many you are, and where you are lodging for a customized rate. WINETASTINGS. As an indication, a tasting can cost between € 6 to € 20/person.Not included in our guide service, you pay the winery.
INCLUSIONS. We offer a driver/guide service, including expert driver, car, fuel, tolls. Winetastings, meals, entrance fees are not included. OPEN GROUPS. We have NO fixed departure or group tours scheduled, to join, sorry.
FAQs Which wineries we go to, how many, how many wines, lunch is included, what schedule ? ? ?
• No point in comparing our tours and routine tours prices, we are convenient, not cheap, and we customize the day each for each client. Hence, we don't go to the same three famous wineries all the time, we can choose among hundreds of good, and more special ones.
• Lunch is not included. You have choices from light lunches at € 15 or big meals.
• Winetastings: we suggest 2-3 wineries per day, which leaves some time for sightseeing, lunch and shopping. If you want more tastings, please let us know. If you already know which wineries you want, just let us know, otherwise we pick 3 very good ones, of different size and style. Each tasting may take 1 hr, and include 3 to 6 wines depending on the estate size, bigger onesmay have 10-12 wines to try.
• Schedule. Departure 09:00 am, return 06:00 pm, or later in summertime, if you agree.