[image source: wikipedia]
Atop a sharply rising hill in Tuscany, about 30 miles south of the city of Siena, Italy, grows the Sangiovese grapes cultivated by residents of the sleepy town of Montalcino. These famous grapes are used in the making of one of Italy’s most renowned gourmet wines, Brunello di Montalcino, whose appeal compares favorably with such masterpieces as Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Roughly translated, Brunello means ‘little dark one’, and the Sangiovese grapes are the large-berried version of the dark, fruity delights which grow so well in the region. Although red wines were being formulated in this area as far back as the 14th century, the current Brunello varieties did not appear until after 1870, when the Italian provinces were unified into a single political entity.
A new wine-making technique gives rise to Brunello
Brunello di Montalcino came about largely through the efforts of Ferruccio Biondo Santi, who became manager of his grandfather’s estate and developed wine-making techniques not seen anywhere in Europe at the time. He made a point of segregating the Sangiovese grapes from all other varieties, and concocted the Brunello di Montalcino wine exclusively from those primo grapes. He also cut out the traditional second fermentation process, and then aged his gourment wines in wooden barrels, to naturally enhance their flavor.
His techniques soon set off a wave of imitation in the wine-making business, and it became common for such pure grapes to be isolated for the production of gourmet wines. Biondo Santi is memorialized today at one of Montalcino’s finest estates, where Brunello di Montalcino is still produced using the same methods he devised almost 150 years ago.
By the end of the second World War, Brunello di Montalcino had achieved widespread popularity, even though official government documents give evidence to only four vintages up to that point, 1888, 1891, 1925, and 1945. All of these were manufactured at the Biondo Santi estate, and with the gathering fame of the vintage, numerous other producers quickly sprang up, so that by the mid-1960’s there were a dozen producers of Brunello.
Today, there are more than 200 small growers and family operations which produce this fruity, high tannin, high acidic, earthy espresso, high-quality red wine with Italy’s highest DOCG classification.
The best of wine and Italian Cuisine in Mountain View, CA
Anyone who lives in Silicon Valley or comes to the area on a visit can enjoy a gourmet wine and Italian Cuisine experience, by visiting Cucina Venti Restaurant in Mountain View, CA. With its wonderful patios, dining room, gourmet entrees, and sumptuous wines, the Cucina Venti Restaurant is literally a feast for the senses, something everyone should have on their ‘Must Do’ list. Visit us for a delightful taste of Tuscany in a glass of Brunello di Montalcino wine. You can make reservations by calling (650) 254-1120 or clicking here.