Camigliano Brunello di Montalcino 1998
Camigliano in the past was certainly inhabited by the Etruscans who followed the course of the Ombrone River from the coastal Maremma area. It then became quite an important hamlet in the late medieval period, an outpost for Montalcino, joining in the fight to defend republican freedom in the middle of the 16th century.
The current manor house was built inside the entry gate (called “Borgone”) of the old “castle” making the most of the ancient walls that surrounded the homestead. The symbol of Camigliano: the camel, found on a seal dating to the 13th century, can perhaps be connected to the influence of the papacy in the area, and there is speculation of connection to the movements of the Crusades that reached the Holy Land.
The winery, which was purchased by Walter Ghezzi in 1957, a courageous and enterprising businessman from Milan with a passion for Tuscany, has undergone an intense and radical improvement in recent years with arrival of son Gualtiero: the new vineyards have been brought to their full potential (today 530ha of which 93 are cultivated with vines) at an altitude of 300-350masl, the new underground cellar was built, and the vinification practices and unconditional care for the territory, in which he has invested energy and enthusiasm, have been renewed.
The vineyards, organic, have been chosen through a careful analysis of the terrain and clonal selection by agronomic experts coming from different Italian universities.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is among Italy's elite red grape varieties and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino
Elsewhere throughout Italy, Sangiovese plays an important role in many easy-drinking, value-driven red blends and on the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed success growing in California and Washington.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with qualities of tart cherry, plum, sun dried tomato, fresh tobacco and herbs. High-quality, well-aged examples can take on tertiary notes of smoke, leather, game, potpourri and dried fruit. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine-grained tannins create a perfect symbiosis with tomato-based dishes, braised vegetables, roasted and cured meat, hard cheese and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may actually contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines as a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.