Self-Guided Wine Tour of Montalcino
Montalcino is a beautiful wine region in Italy that is situated in the Siena province. Montalcino is one of the six magnificent medieval hill towns in Tuscany. Additionally, Brunello di Montalcino, the richest, longest-aging wine in Tuscany, is believed to have begun in this hilltop town. With its rich history, stunning vineyards, and top-notch wines, Montalcino is a popular vacation spot for wine enthusiasts.
Layout of Montalcino
Located in Tuscany in Central Italy, Montalcino is a hill town and commune. The settlement is situated west of Pienza, near the Crete Senesi in the Val d’Orcia. The distances to Siena, Florence, and Pisa are 42 km, 68 km, and 150 km, respectively. This region also includes the unique lava dome, Monte Amiata.
An Overview of Montalcino
Montalcino consists of 24,000 hectares, with vineyards occupying about 15% of that area. Intensely mountainous terrain, a range of slopes with different exposures, and various altitudes all contribute to the creation of varied microclimates. Given its location between the sea and the Alps, it has a Mediterranean climate and tends to be dry. Montalcino typically experiences rain in May, October, and November. Above 400 meters, snow is common in the winter. Fog, ice, and late frost are generally rare in the Montalcino vineyards.
Due to its creation throughout numerous geological ages, the soils of Montalcino are unique. Some valley areas possess loose soils. However, as you move up the slope the soils become a thick layer of rock-like particles made up of marl and limestone.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit?
The ideal months to visit Montalcino are September and October during the harvest season and May or June for nice weather and less tourist traffic.
The History of Montalcino
In 814 AD, monks nearby constructed the church known as the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, which is the first time Montalcino was mentioned historically. One of the most important aspects of the history of Montalcino has always been viticulture. However, the growth of vineyards was greatly aided by nearby monks. The area was well-known for its high-quality leather during the Middle Ages. Additionally, during the Middle Ages wine production increased. Like many of the Tuscan medieval towns, Montalcino experienced protracted periods of peace and prosperity.
Fine wines have always been produced from the vines close to the village of Montalcino, but it wasn’t until 1800 and Clemente Santi that the world-famous Brunello wine was made public. There are currently more than 200 wine producers, up from only 11 in the 1960s. These producers make over 330,000 cases of Brunello wine each year.
The Subregions of Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino is a red DOCG Italian wine produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino. It is a sub-region within the large Tuscany wine-growing region. Other sub-regions in Tuscany include Carmignano, Chianti, Bolgheri, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Grape Varietals In Montalcino
Sangiovese is the most well-known grape variety in the Montalcino wine area. Sangiovese grapes grown on the Montalcino region’s slopes are used to make all Brunello di Montalcino wine. It is a very powerful grape that creates high-quality wines that rank among the best in Italy and the entire world.
Did You Know: Sangiovese is one of Italy’s most popular grapes and is also used to make Chianti.
Must Visit Historical Sites
Below are some of the most popular historical sites in the region:
- Abbazia di Sant’Antimo
In the most stunning area of Tuscany, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo (Abbazia di Sant’Antimo) lies close to Montalcino. When facing the church from a distance, you can see the hills covered in vineyards and olive trees. This scenery is breathtaking. The simplicity of the Abbey is what makes it so stunningly beautiful. With a wooden roof frame, the church is constructed of stone. The columns’ heads, which are topped by enormous stone carvings of people, are visible within.
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cathedral of Florence is officially known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Arnolfo di Cambio’s Gothic design was started in 1296 and was finished by 1436. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the dome. The basilica’s ornate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris is framed by polychrome marble panels in varying colors of green and pink, bordered by white. The Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile are part of the Cathedral’s larger Piazza del Duomo complex. These three structures are a top Tuscany tourist destination and are a component of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses Florence’s medieval center.
- Castello Tricerchi
On Montalcino’s northern side is the Castello Tricerchi wine estate. It owns 400 hectares, 13 of which are vineyards for Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino. The Castle, which is located in the estate’s center, was started by the Altesi family in the 13th century and finished by the Tricerchi family in 1441. It is now a winery and the residence of the Altesi family’s direct descendants, the Squarcia family.
The Best Wineries in Montalcino
Montalcino boasts of a long history of winemaking. It has some world-renowned wineries worth visiting.
- Máté Winery
The Mate family winery is located on two private hills on the sea-breeze-ventilated side of Montalcino. The seven campi, which make up a total of 7 hectares and were formerly a Roman vineyard 2,000 years ago. They are surrounded by Mediterranean woodlands, herbs, and wild fruit. The grape clones were selected by Pierre Guillaume of France, and the vineyards were planned by Angelo Gaja’s agronomic, Fabrizio Moltard.
- Castiglion del Bosco Winery
Tuscan producer Castiglion del Bosco is located in the Montalcino appellation’s northwest corner. For the production of its Brunello and Rosso de Montalcino wines, it maintains a Sangiovese-only estate.
- Castello Banfi – L’ Enoteca
The Winery’s Enoteca/Wine Bar imitates the ambiance of a genuine Tuscan wine shop where you can find many locally made artisan foods and crafts in addition to the estate’s still and sparkling wines, grappa, extra virgin olive oil, and Salsa Etrusca. You will also get the chance to sample superb local sheep’s cheese and traditional Tuscan prosciutto here, surrounded by the commanding views of the nearby Castello di Poggio alle Mura.
Where to Eat?
- La Piazzetta
For more than 20 years, La Piazzetta has been a fixture in Surrey’s Virginia Water neighborhood. They offer outstanding Italian food produced with genuine, authentic Italian ingredients, a warm, welcoming ambiance, and quick, dependable service.
- Locanda Demetra & Montalcino Cooking School
This restaurant offers a large variety of food allowing visitors to enjoy their favorites.
Where To Stay?
Below are some of the best places to consider when looking for a nice and affordable place to stay in Montalcino:
- Si Montalcino Hotel
The Si Montalcino Hotel is only a 3-minute drive from the heart of Montalcino and offers an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a bar.
- Albergo Il Giglio
The historic district hotel, Albergo Il Giglio has a restaurant and free WiFi access throughout. It provides accommodations in a traditional Tuscan style with views of the city and surrounding countryside. It has a beautiful view, an excellent breakfast, and kind personnel.
- Albergo Giardino
Pet-friendly lodging in Montalcino is available at Albergo Giardino, which offers free WiFi in public areas. On-site bike storage is available without additional cost. It’s a fantastic hotel with a delicious breakfast and courteous staff.
- Hotel Vecchia Oliviera
In Montalcino’s historic district, Hotel Vecchia Oliviera is a 3-star hotel with a stunning terrace and a pool encircled by a tranquil garden. There are 11 rooms, all of which have comfortable furnishings and many of them have beautiful views of the Val d’Orcia.
How to Save Money?
Be sure to book accommodations ahead of time to get the best deals. Also consider non-hotel alternatives like Airbnb to save money.
One of Italy’s most renowned wine-producing districts, Brunello di Montalcino is located in the heart of Tuscany and is an ideal location for a wine-themed vacation. The bold, robust red wines made here are some of the most esteemed and sought-after in the world. On a wine-tasting tour, discover what makes Brunello di Montalcino so special and why wine collectors love it. In addition to its wine, the region has some of the best historical sites in the country dating back to the medieval period.
The vibe: When you are not sipping Italy’s rare wines, explore the Brunello di Montalcino region’s unspoiled Tuscan landscape and a charming rural setting with small medieval villages dotted across the vineyards and wineries. A trip to the area would not be complete without stopping in Montalcino, an ancient hilltop town with an impressive citadel.