Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy’s Greatest Wines

For fans of Italian wine, few names command the level of respect accorded to Brunello di Montalcino. With their earthy, wild-cherry sensations and full structure yet smooth textures, top Brunellos have the body and finesse of the most prestigious world-class bottlings from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont.
Expert wine writer Kerin O’Keefe has a deep personal knowledge of Tuscany and its extraordinary wine, and her account is both thoroughly researched and readable. Organized as a guided tour through Montalcino’s geography, this essential reference also makes sense of Brunello’s complicated history, from its rapid rise to the negative and positive effects of the 2008 grape-blending scandal dubbed “Brunellogate.”
Brunello di Montalcino helps wine lovers maneuver their way among Montalcino’s minefield of diversity by breaking the vast commune down into seven distinct subzones, ranging from the highest reaches around the town of Montalcino, which yield austere, elegant wines destined for lengthy aging in cellars; down to the lower plains in the deep south around Sant’Angelo Scalo, home to immediate, muscular Brunellos with higher alchol and lower acidity; and to all the other fascinating areas that lie between those two geographical extremes.
O’Keefe also provides in-depth profiles of 58 carefully chosen wineries, big and small, famous and unknown, who produce excellent Brunellos that best express the quintessential chracteristics of both Sangiovese and the various subzones in Montalcino.

List of Illustrations
Introduction. Brunello: A Modern-Day Phenomenon of Made in Italy

Part One. The Place, the Grape, the History, and the Wine
1. Montalcino
2. Temperamental Sangiovese: Location, Location, Location
3. Birth of a New Wine
4. Brunello Comes of Age
5. Boom Years and the Loss of Tipicità
6. The Brunellogate Scandal
7. Brunello Today and Tomorrow: The Return to Tipicità, or Business as Usual?

Part Two. Leading Producers by Subzone
8. Montalcino
9. Bosco and Torrenieri
10. Tavernelle
11. Camigliano
12. Sant’Angelo
13. Castelnuovo dell’Abate

Part Three. Beyond Brunello: Other Wines and Local Cuisine
14. Montalcino’s Other Wines: Rosso di Montalcino, Moscadello, Sant’Antimo, Chianti Colli Senesi and IGT Toscana
15. Brunello, Rosso, and Food Pairing

Appendix A. Vintage Guide to Brunello
Appendix B. Brunello at a Glance

Product Features

  • University of California Press

3 thoughts on “Brunello di Montalcino: Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy’s Greatest Wines

  1. As Rewarding as a good Brunello…. i wanted to read about Brunello on the plane as my wife and I were on our way to Montalcino. (1) I got an education. Previously, I knew a little, just enough to dangerous-s they say. But, after reading the book, it enabled me to buy some really nice bottles of Brunello that I might have over-looked or just not developed the interest to find. (2) This book could have been drier than even the worst Brunello. Instead, O’Keefe’s writing displayed both a lively wit, a depth of the subject, and a…

    View Comment
  2. Great read if you want to drill down into Brunello Di Montlacino. This is not for generalist. If you’re well past wine geekdom 101 and want to get serious about a particular region like Brunello Di Montalcino, this is a must read. I already have three “encylopedia of wine” books that do a decent job of skiming every region on the planet. Lately, I’m prefering to buy and read books that dig more deeply into a particular region I already love like Burgundy or one I want to know a lot more about. I don’t think I’m being a wine snob when I say this book is not for casual wine drinkers…

    View Comment

Leave a Reply