Montalcino

To the south of Siena is a classic fairytale hilltop town, set within a full circle of fortified walls and watched over by a mighty castle of medieval perfection. Montalcino  is a beautiful village immersed in the breathtaking Val d'Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello red wine.
The town has scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century. Once you get up to the town, a magnificent spectacle unfolds for your eyes: rolling sunny hills dotted with yellow and red flowers, ancient oak trees, picturesque olive groves, scenic country roads winding through perfect vineyards and isolated cypress trees atop hills.
The streets of Montalcino with their stone pavements are truly enchanting and the village is a wonderful place to stroll around among the labyrinth of charming arts and crafts shops, cafes, restaurants and wine bars.


Recommended Historic Sites.
 The center of Montalcino is dominated by the mighty and imposing Rocca or fortress built in 1361 to mark the passage of Montalcino under the domination of Siena. The views from its ramparts are spectacular, stretching towards Monte Amiata, across the Crete to Siena, and across all of the Valdorcia and the hills of Maremma. The fortress has remained practically intact since the Middle Ages and often becomes the special setting for festivals, concerts, and events.
Another landmark of Montalcino is the tall and slender clock tower that graces the Palazzo dei Priori, the city's town hall, while below lies the main square known as Piazza del Popolo with its characteristic Gothic loggia.
And don't forget to visit the nearby Abbey of Sant'Antimo!


Recommended Restaurant and B&B
Restaurant Re di macchia
Hotel Castello di Velona

The "Brunello"

Brunello is the name of the local Sangiovese variety that is grown around the village of Montalcino. Located south of the Chianti Classico zone, the Montalcino range is drier and warmer than Chianti. Monte Amiata shields the area from the winds coming from the southeast. Many of the area's vineyards are located on the hillsides leading up towards the mountain to elevations of around 1,640 ft (500 m). The Brunello variety of Sangiovese seems to flourish in this terroir, ripening easily and consistently producing wines of deep color, extract, richness with full bodies and good balance of tannins. In the 1980s, it was the first wine to earn the DOCG classification. Today there are about two hundred growers in the Montalcino region producing about 333,000 cases of Brunello di Montalcino a year. Brunello di Montalcino wines are required to be aged for at least four years prior to being released, with riserva wines needing five years. Brunellos tend to be very tight and tannic in their youth, needing at least a decade or two before they start to soften with wines from excellent vintages having the potential to do well past 50 years. In 1984, the Montalcino region was granted the DOC designation of Rosso di Montalcino. Often called "Baby Brunellos", these wines are made from the same grapes as the regular Brunello di Montalcino but are not aged as long. While similar to Brunellos in flavor and aromas, these wines are often lighter in body.
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