The three greatest wines of Italy all begin with the letter ‘B,’ but is that where the similarities end? Last month at the Wine School @ San Francisco Wine Center we learned about the subtle but significant differences between these 3 Big B’s: Barolo, Brunello & Barbaresco. These 3 wines, named for their regions, are known for their longevity, structure, acidity and food friendliness. All 3 of these wines are lightly pigmented and tend to have a garnet color, with high tannin, high acidity, and medium to full body.
Brunello–short for Brunello di Montalcino–is in the region of Tuscany or Toscana in Italian, known for olive oil and the best steak in Italy, and these 100% Sangiovese wines complement the famous cuisine of Toscana perfectly! Montalcino has one of the warmest and driest climates in Tuscany, and this particular clone of Sangiovese is unique to the region – it ripens more fully and consistently here than anywhere else in Tuscany, contributing to the body, color, extract and tannins commonly associated with Brunello di Montalcino. Sangio in Italian means blood, but in contrast to the Sangiovese in Chianti, Brunello is described as “fleshier.” Minimum aging for these wines is 48 months or 60 for Riserva. Typical flavors include juicy ripe black and red fruit with savory herbs and earth.