Should Brunello be made more like a Burgundy or a Bordeaux? Producers have tried both approaches over the years, says Monty Waldin, but have now acquired the knowledge and confidence to plough their own furrow...

When I first visited Montalcino more than a decade ago, I felt Italy’s flagship region was trying to imitate two of my old stamping grounds: California and Bordeaux.

Plucking leaves from around ripening Sangiovese bunches to create Brunellos with exotic, California-style ripeness was in vogue. But it left the vines looking like they’d had an extreme bikini-line wax. And exposing Sangiovese’s sensitive skins to the full glare of the Mediterranean sun risked vaporising its savoury sour cherry flavours into baked jam.


Monty Waldin is a widely published wine writer, author and DWWA Regional Chair for Tuscany


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