The first evidence of Montalcino's fame as a wine-producing region dates back to the 15th century. An extensive collection of documents, including letters, diaries, and sales orders, bears witness to the esteem in which the wine from this land has been held historically. But it was not red wine that was initially in demand, as one would logically assume considering the fame of Brunello today, rather it was Moscadello, a sweet, white wine. The term, Brunello, believed to derive from the dark color assumed by the wine after vinification and aging, appeared for the first time in the middle of the 19th century. It was a defining period for Italian viticulture, on the verge of important progress in enology that would parallel, and possibly cause, changes in the tastes of wine drinkers. As in the rest of Tuscany, the red wine produced in the territory initially was comprised of a blend of Sangiovese (locally called "Brunello"), Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo and a small selection of white grapes which included Malvasia. The resulting wine was fresh and fragrant, meant for immediate consumption. The radical change in the Montalcino area occured around the end of the 19th century when this blended wine was replaced by a wine made from a single varietal, an attentive selection of the typical Sangiovese grapes. This provoked a complete metamorphosis in the structure of the wine, now meant for cellar conservation, characterized by austerity, vigor and corpulence. Thus Brunello took form, but many years still must pass before it would become well-known. First war, then philoxera, than war again would delay the development of Brunello until the 1950s and even then the total production consisted of a few thousand bottles. Thanks to the boom of the Sixties and to the first investments in Montalcino's vineyards, the "Brunello phenomenon" began to take shape. It was in this period, moreover, that Brunello received the DOC classification and that the "Consorzio di Tutela" or the Tutelary Consortium would escort Brunello toward its approval as DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), the first wine in Italy to be adorned with such recognition.
It is in this perfect grape-growing context that Cantina di Montalcino, the only working cooperative in the area, operates. Founded in 1975, the winery was then acquired by Cantine Leonardo da Vinci in 1990. There are ninety associate growers whose combined lands cover 108 hectares of land. The winery is located in the Val di Cave, one of the most beautiful and fascinating localities around Montalcino where many of the associate vineyards lie. Throughout each year, expert enologists, agronomists and other wine technicians collaborate with associate growers to produce grapes of the highest quality possible. The common objective of these professionals is to bring grapes to the winery that are in the best condition, perfectly matured and rich in those substances that allow for optimal vinification.Ours is a modern approach to the cooperative winery, similar to that of many New World wineries recently affirmed on the international market. We stimulate our associates to produce the best grapes possible by offering greater economic compensation the higher the quality of grape conferred.
Cantina di Montalcino pictures