It goes well with wild game, roast beef, but its full and variegated texture makes it an excellent meditation wine.

Above, part of the tasting note on, the website I bought it from.

I was in a meditative mood, so I sipped alone and later with some nice hard cheese from somewhere in Spain – a little vauge, I know.

How did it taste?

This is where it gets tricky – using familiar terms like sour cherry, blackcurrant liquor (cassis), aniseed, eucalyptus and exotic spices doesn’t really do justice to this Brunello.

It’s simply and utterly fantastic.

About Montalcino

Montalcino is a small village in Tuscany, about 40km south of Siena. Brunello di Montalcino has a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status, awarded in 1980, but the history of the wine and the place goes much further back.

Compared to nearby Chianti, the area is relatively tiny so there’s less of the stuff being produced, making it pretty pricey. In Ireland, Brunello costs between €35-50 for a “good” bottle and a lot more for a “great” one. With Barolo, it’s up there as one of Italy’s top wines.

About Brunello

It’s made from 100% Sangiovese, but it’s not like any Chianti I’ve ever tasted. The differences can be accounted for by a number of factors:

  • The type of Sangiovese – it’s a different clone to the one in Chianti,
  • The area – the climate and soil are different
  • How it’s made and aged.

Maceration (juice in contact with the skins) is extended giving much more flavour and colour extraction. After fermentation, the wine is aged in large barrels (much larger than the French barriques).

Although some producers have moved to the smaller barrels (or a mixture of the two), this means the wood has more influence on the taste of the wine (vanilla, toast etc.).

According to Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini, another producer featured in the Wine Spectator video below, she still prefers the bigger barrels. Why?

Where the wood is not the protagonist, not the main character

Brunello, if well made, ages extremely well, the Capanna promises 30 years. Unfortunately, I don’t have the storage or patience for that kind of carry-on.

About this Brunello di Montalcino “Capanna”

The Capanna vineyard is owned by the Cencioni family and is situated in Montosoli, about 2km north of Montalcino.

I’m not sure how true this is but this particular area around Montosoli has always been considered one of the best Brunello “cru”, i.e. land with the best potential for wine.

Where to buy

Bought online from for €33 (pricey, yes – but part of my “drink less, drink better” routine).