Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino, main differences and characteristics

  • 21/12/2020

Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino come from the same geographical area and from the same type of vineyards. However, there are differences between the two wines. We asked Emanuele Nardi, winemaker of Tenuta La Poderina, to help us understand which they are.

The aging

The first difference is the aging. According to the Disciplinary, Brunello can be sold only five years after the harvest. As regards Rosso di Montalcino, however, only one year of aging is indicated. 

Freedom of production

Another notable difference between Rosso and Brunello lies in reedom of production. Brunello di Montalcino is produced exclusively with Sangiovese grapes according to the rules of a strict discipline which, in addition to setting yield limits per hectare, aging period and product characteristics, establishes that the wine is subjected to the examination of a special commission for the recognition of the particularly valuable requirements that are necessary to boast the DOCG - Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin.

The disciplinary for Rosso di Montalcino DOC - Controlled Designation of Origin does not indicate a time of aging in wood. This is the reason why it is more fresh and more fruity than Brunello.

Rosso e Brunello di Montalcino: differences

Rosso di Montalcino is a young wine and easier to drink, which combines a superb structure to great freshness. It is an extremely enjoyable wine, not based on powerness and body, very versatile in terms of food pairings.

Brunello di Montalcino is an intense ruby red wine. It is clear, bright, with a lively garnet color. It has an intense, persistent, ample and ethereal aroma. It is appreciated for its hints of black cherries and berries, with tertiary notes of spices and vanilla due to the aging in wooden barrels.

A false myth about Rosso di Montalcino

Emanuele Nardi started working 20 years ago in the Montalcino area, one of the most important areas for wine. The wineries interpret Rosso di Montalcino not as a “little Brunello”, but as a wine with its own identity and specificity. “We often hear that Rosso is a by-product of Brunello, a sort of its “younger brother”. It’s not true. Those who know Montalcino area - explains the winemaker - know that there is a heterogeneity of vineyards and types of soil. The area is in fact a quadrant that identifies four sides: each with its own climatic characteristics. Montalcino is between the sea, volcanic area and rivers, the soil changes every meter and this is reflected in the characteristics of the vineyards. There are some vineyards that are suitable the Rosso and others instead that are suitable for the production of Brunello”.

Market positioning

Between the two wines there is a price difference on the market. Brunello - considered one of the greatest expressions of Italian enology, is appreciated by enthusiasts and experts - while the less expensive Rosso di Montalcino allows even the youngest to bring the world of Montalcino closer.

Rosso e Brunello di Montalcino “La Poderina” production

La Poderina is located in Montalcino in the area of Castelnuovo dell'Abate well known for the particular “elegance and balance” of its wines.

In vineyard, highly qualitative farming systems are adopted with yields of 60 quintals per hectare, well below the 80 quintals permitted by the Regulations.

Here we produce Rosso di Montalcino DOC togheter with two versions of Brunello: “Poggio Abate” Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG​ e Brunello di Montalcino DOCG



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