Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Montalcino – a town made from wine

Ok, we don’t mean the town is literally made of wine, but the red grape is certainly responsible for much its success. The hilltop community has been home to farmers for generations, tending to crops on slopes with some of the best views in Tuscany, looking out over the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valleys.

The most famous wine of the region is Brunello, a rich sangiovese-based red that dates back as far as the 14th century. Due to the small number of producers, it was once considered Italy’s rarest wine, commanding high prices and bringing great wealth into the town. Today it sits alongside Chianti Classico, Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as some of Tuscany’s most respected wines and its vintages are regularly served at formal dinners held at London’s Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, a big fan of Tuscan wines, sometimes make a stop in Montalcino on his visits to the region. He’s been known to explore an antique shop or two in search of treasures, but we suspect the real treasure he visits Montalcino for can be found in a bottle.

It’s not just the Brunello that helped put Montalcino on the map. Wine producers in the town were among the first in Italy to open their doors to visitors who could tour the vineyards and explore the cellars, paving the way for a whole industry of  ‘wine tourism’.

If you love fine Italian wine and stunning scenery, Montalcino should definitely be on your bucket list.