A Brunello may not be sold before its fifth year and a Riserva not before its sixth year following the relevant vintage. This guarantees impeccable quality. This Italian wine is intensely ruby red and clear but tends towards granite red with age. The bouquet is very intense, aromatic, and is reminiscent of ripe red fruit with a hint of spice and wood (vanilla). The Riserva wines also have aromas of roasted coffee or cocoa and liquorice. The taste is a full one that is powerful yet mellow and warm. The minimum alcohol is 12.5% but most wines are more like 13.5%. The ‘ordinary’ Brunello is fruitier than a Riserva while these more mature wines are more spicy. It is well worth decanting this wine at least an hour before it is to be drunk into a broad-necked carafe. Drinking temperature for this Italian wine is 60.8-64.4 °F (16-18°C).
ROSSO Dl MONTALCINO DOC
This lesser kin of the Brunello was granted DOC status in 1983. Since that time things have continued to look up for Rosso di Montalcino. This Italian wines originate from the same vineyards as the Brunello and from the same types of grapes. Here too the wine uses 100% Brunello grapes (Sangiovese Grosso) but the yield per hectare is slightly higher with the Rosso di Montalcino than with the Brunello and there is no mandatory four to five years ageing before sale.
Hence you may encounter some young wines of this type for sale but the better wines (such as those from the famous house of Banfi) are aged in casks of French oak for at least one year. Rosso di Montalcino is certainly not a light Italian wine. This ruby red wine, with its subtle nose of red fruit has a powerful taste that is fulsome, rounded, and warm (more than 13% alcohol). The best Italiana wines often have an undertone of herbs and spices and are very high in tannin when young. Drinking temperature for this rosso Italian wine is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).