15 Best Brunello di Montalcino: The Real King of Wines?

best brunello di montalcino

The world of Italian wine has a lot to offer, but few regions can boast the prestige and allure of Montalcino in Tuscany. This area is home to one of Italy’s most iconic and beloved wines: Brunello di Montalcino. An elegant and complex wine that has garnered international acclaim. And we have found you the 15 very best Brunello di Montalcino wines.

I highly recommend any and all of the superb and delicious wines on this list, which showcase the true character of the great red wine Brunello – one of my favorites in the world!

Table of Contents

15 Best Brunello di Montalcino Wines

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1) Biondi-Santi (Best Overall)

Biondi-Santi Brunello

When speaking of Brunello, this would typically be considered the best of the best! As the pioneers of Brunello di Montalcino, Biondi-Santi remains one of the most respected and sought-after producers in the region. Because their wines are known for their longevity and complexity, with the ability to age gracefully for decades.

And their Biondi-Santi Riserva is a flagship wine, showcasing the quintessential characteristics of traditional Brunello di Montalcino. So if you have a chance to drink this or buy this, I highly recommend it!

2) Soldera Riserva (Best Super High-End)

Soldera Riserva Brunello di Montalcino

Another historic and delicious Brunello, the late Gianfranco Soldera was a visionary in the world of Brunello di Montalcino. He founded this iconic estate in the 1970s.

In fact, the Soldera wines are known for their incredible purity, complexity, and longevity. Made in very limited quantities, these wines are highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

3) Antinori (Most Iconic Winery)

Antinori brunello

From the largest winery in Italy, their Brunello presents a masterful expression of the Sangiovese grape. It’s skillfully crafted by one of Italy’s most renowned wine families.

Plus, I’ve been to their Tuscan winery and its a must if you visit the area. And their Brunello di Montalcino is a testament to the estate’s commitment to quality and tradition, offering a memorable and age-worthy wine that is sure to impress.

4) Gaja

Gaja Brunello di montalcino

Another remarkable wine from a well-known producer, this wine showcases the impeccable winemaking prowess of the renowned Gaja family.

The Gaja Brunello di Montalcino effortlessly marries power and finesse, resulting in a captivating wine that is a true expression of the esteemed Montalcino terroir.

5) Cupano Riserva 2015 (Runner-Up Premium)

Cupano Riserva 2015

One of the best red wines, I have tasted! The alluring nose presents a complex and intense bouquet of red and black fruits, intertwined with notes of leather, tobacco, and earthy undertones.

Then on the palate, this well-structured Riserva displays a harmonious interplay of concentrated fruit flavors, refined tannins, and bright acidity, offering exceptional depth and balance.

6) Poggio Antico Riserva (Super Premium)

Poggio Antico Riserva

Another amazing wine with an enticing blend of dark and red fruits, oak, and a touch of mineral notes, hinting at the complexity that awaits. On the palate, this full-bodied Riserva delivers layers of flavors, from ripe black cherries and plums to lots of earthy leather notes. And its pleasantly supported by a backbone of firm tannins and vibrant acidity.

The Poggio Antico Riserva Brunello di Montalcino is an exceptional wine that will continue to evolve and impress for years to come.

7) Casanova di Neri (Most Popular)

Casanova di Neri

With fantastic aromas of dark berries, sweet spices, vanilla, and a hint of mint, this Brunello sets the stage for an intriguing tasting experience. Because the palate is met with a blend of ripe fruit flavors, well-integrated tannins, and bright acidity, providing both structure and balance. 

Just another delicious Brunello showcasing one of the best regions in the world!

8) Altesino Brunello (Great Value)

Altesino Brunello

A good value for under $60, this enchanting Brunello offers a bouquet of ripe red fruits, floral notes, and hints of spice. The palate is graced with a harmonious interplay of lush fruit and earth flavors with elegant tannins.

So if you’re looking for a premium Brunello with a good QPR, this is a great choice!

9) Cortonesi La Mannella Brunello di Montalcino

Cortonesi La Mannella Brunello di Montalcino

A mesmerizing nose greets you with enticing aromas of ripe cherries, plums, and a medley of spices, accompanied by subtle notes of leather and earth. The palate offers a delightful journey through layers of concentrated fruit flavors and earth flavors of leather, forest floor, tobacco, and smoke.

Finally, this wine really evolves when its allowed to breath and shows incredible complexity!

10) Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Popular in US)

Banfi Brunello di Montalcino

From one of the biggest Italian wine importers, The winery has played a significant role in popularizing Brunello di Montalcino in the United States and has garnered a strong following among American wine enthusiasts.

And this elegant wine doesn’t disappoint with aromas and flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, and hints of rose petals, with a touch of earthy minerality that adds depth and intrigue. On the palate, its well-integrated tannins and medium plus acidity create a beautifully structured wine.

11) Fattorio del Pino 2015

Fattorio del Pino 2015

Another one of my favorite Brunellos! The Fattoria del Pino Brunello di Montalcino is a captivating wine that embodies the passion and dedication of this boutique estate in crafting exceptional wine.

The enticing nose presents a delightful blend of earthy notes of leather with ripe red fruits and floral notes. On the palate, this superb Brunello offers a balance of vibrant fruit flavors, earthy and smoky notes with well-structured tannins and long finish.

12) Tenuta CastelGiocondo (Best Value)

Tenuta CastelGiocondo

A very popular Brunello and for good reason. This exquisite wine has a complex bouquet of red and black fruits, oak, sweet spices, and delicate tobacco notes. 

Plus, on the palate, this well-balanced Brunello has vibrant fruit flavors with mushroom, earthy, smoke, and balsamic flavors.

13) Argiano

Argiano brunello

On the nose, this enchanting Brunello presents a medley of ripe red fruits, floral notes, and hints of vanilla, oak, and earth. Then, on the palate its met with lush fruit flavors, well-structured tannins, notes of leather, earth, mushrooms, and tobacco, creating a beautifully balanced wine.

14) San Felice

An absolute winner! It starts with an intricate nose revealing a bouquet of cherries, blackberries, and subtle hints of tobacco and leather.

Then on after the first sip you get a blend of ripe fruit flavors and stewed dark fruits. It’s followed by lots of earthy notes of leather, tobacco, oak, black pepper, and smoke. And this makes it a truly age-worthy wine that will continue to evolve and delight.

15) San Filippo Le Lucére Brunello di Montalcino

Another incredible Brunello on this list! This wine has amazing aromas and flavors of earth, forest floor, hints of mint, red cherries, and blackberries. It’s then followed by delicate floral notes, and hints of spice, sweet tobacco, and more earth.

Finally, its a refined wine culminating in a beautifully structured and balanced wine with a long finish.

A Brief History of Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino is a relatively young wine in the context of Italian winemaking. With its roots tracing back to the 19th century. The Biondi-Santi family, particularly Clemente Santi and his grandson Ferruccio, are credited with the creation of the modern-day Brunello. Because they recognized the potential of the Sangiovese Grosso grape and the unique terroir of Montalcino.

Thus, in 1980, Brunello di Montalcino was granted the highest classification in Italian wine legislation, the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).

What Makes Brunello di Montalcino So Special?

brunello di montalcino town
  1. Unique terroir: Montalcino’s diverse terroir, with its mix of altitudes, soils, and microclimates, plays a significant role in shaping the character of Brunello wines. The combination of Mediterranean climate, warm days, cool nights, and mineral-rich soils allow the Sangiovese Grosso grape to express its full potential.
  2. Sangiovese grape: Brunello di Montalcino is made exclusively from the Sangiovese Grosso grape, a clone of the Sangiovese variety. This specific clone is known for producing wines with more concentrated flavors, firmer tannins, and higher aging potential compared to other Sangiovese-based wines.
  3. Aging requirements: Brunello di Montalcino wines must adhere to strict aging requirements. This extended aging period allows the wine to develop its signature complexity and elegance.
  4. Longevity and age-worthiness: Brunello di Montalcino is known for its remarkable ability to age and evolve over time. The wine’s robust structure, high acidity, and firm tannins offer top-quality Brunellos that improve for decades in the cellar.
  5. Prestige and reputation: Brunello di Montalcino has earned a reputation for its consistent quality and excellence, making it one of Italy’s most prestigious wines. Its status as a DOCG wine, along with the numerous accolades each year. Plus, the many high ratings it receives from wine critics, contribute to its global recognition.

Brunello vs Barolo vs Super Tuscan

Brunello vs Barolo

Here, we’ll provide a brief comparison of these three iconic Italian wines:

Brunello di Montalcino

  • Region: Montalcino, Tuscany
  • Grape variety: 100% Sangiovese Grosso (a clone of Sangiovese)
  • Style: Typically medium to full-bodied, with high acidity, firm tannins, and flavors of red and dark fruits, earth, leather, and spice. Known for its aging potential, complexity, and elegance.
  • Classification: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)

Barolo

  • Region: Piedmont, specifically in the Langhe hills around the town of Barolo
  • Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
  • Style: Full-bodied, with high acidity, powerful tannins, and flavors of red fruits, roses, tar, and truffle. Barolo is renowned for its ability to age and develop more nuanced flavors and aromas over time.
  • Classification: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)

Super Tuscan

  • Region: Tuscany
  • Grape variety: A blend of various grape varieties, often including Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, among others. Super Tuscans were initially created as a response to the restrictive DOC and DOCG regulations that limited the use of non-indigenous grape varieties.
  • Style: A wide range of styles, depending on the grape varieties and winemaking techniques employed. Generally, Super Tuscans are full-bodied and rich, with generous fruit flavors and well-integrated tannins. Many of these wines are aged in new oak barrels, which imparts additional complexity and a distinct oak influence.
  • Classification: Originally, Super Tuscans were classified as Vino da Tavola (table wine) due to their use of non-traditional grape varieties and blends. However, with the creation of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification in 1992, many Super Tuscans now fall under the IGT Toscana designation.

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