Brunello di Montalcino is not an everyday wine, and especially Brunello Riservas - produced only in outstanding vintages - are wines for big occasions, birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, the holidays. 

But when visiting Montalcino and the Val d'Orcia during Christmas season, many wine lovers struggle to find a vineyard open for tastings. Understandably, after a year of hard work, most Brunello producers celebrate at home to finally enjoy their wine with their families.  

snow in a Montalcino vineyard
Palazzone vineyard near Montalcino: open for tastings during the holidays

Il Palazzone's holiday winery visits are an exception to the rule and the themed tastings are just the thing you need if you're still contemplating ideal wine pairings for Christmas lunch or New Year's Eve. 

Sensory Tasting – Family Friendly 
Deciphering the aromas in a wineglass is fun! Come and explore the world of aromas and scents. Includes: private winery tour, guided tasting of 4 wines & a leaflet. 

Pairing Sangiovese – Foodlovers' Delight 
How food pairing rules work and what is best with Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino. Includes: Private winery tour, tasting/pairing of 3 different Sangiovese wines. 

Classic Il Palazzone Tour and Tasting 
Private winery tour and wine and olive oil tasting 

For more information visit Il Palazzone's website or send an email to or


Cypress trees and Tuscan hills at sunset
Sunset at the Palazzone winery

Tasting Brunello can be a daunting task, at least during the two hottest months of the year. When temperatures start to reach suffocating highs in July and August, only hard-core professionals will look forward to starting the day with a wine that often has an alcohol content of 14 % (let alone the even mightier Brunello Riserva). Most travelers would just ask for one more iced coffee, thank you, if it wasn't for, yes, Montalcino. 

At Il Palazzone - one of my top ten wineries to visit in Montalcino - Esther from Vino Vistas created a cool alternative to sticky Tuscan summer mornings spent spitting too warm wine: sunset tastings (I still can't believe that nobody has thought about it before!).

Swirl your wine at sundown and enjoy not just the gorgeous view but also a bit of a breeze. Montalcino isn't just known for Brunello, but also for its windy evenings, and you'll come to love them after a sizzling hot August day.

Tastings start around 7pm, depending on time of year/sunset. The winery is located five minutes from the town center. 
Book ahead as tastings are for private groups only (from 2 to 8 participants). Prices start from 30€ per person depending on the selection of wines chosen. To book the tour send an email to Esther (, the certified and extremely knowledgable wine guide who will lead you through the expert tasting. 
Looking for more info about the - Richard Parsons owned - Palazzone winery? Read on here

SUMMER WINE NOTES at Castiglion del Bosco

photos of Castiglion del Bosco winery
Summer Wine Notes at Castiglion del Bosco

The Castiglion del Bosco winery opens the doors of its luxury estate to the north-east of Montalcino for wine tastings and Jazz concerts during the summer of 2017. 

Enjoy golden hour at CdB with a glass of wine and good music or ask for a visit to the wine cellar. And if you're not convinced by music and vino alone, you may be interested to hear that Montalcino's top luxury hotel is owned by Massimo Ferragamo and Barack Obama played golf here during his time in Tuscany last May (he and Michelle stayed at Borgo Finocchieto not far from CdB).

Summer Wine Notes: July 21 and August 18, 2017
Castiglion del Bosco winery - 7pm to 9 pm. 
The tasting includes three wines - a Chardonnay and, of course, a Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino - and a buffet with Tuscan cold cuts, cheeses and starters. 
Prize per person: 25€. 
For details about the Jazz bands playing on the night have a look at Castiglion del Bosco's Facebook page
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