12 MONTHS OF BRUNELLO: SEPTEMBER IN MONTALCINO - HARVEST TIME (PART ONE)




For a wine loving traveler there is no better month to visit Tuscany than September. Vendemmiathe wine harvest is around the corner and the vineyards look at their best with bunches of grapes showing off their beautiful dark red and blu colors - known as Brunello in the case of Montalcino's famous Sangiovese varietal. 

From early September you'll be able to see the first pickers in action, whilst they harvest Montalcino's rare patches of white wine grapes and French varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Franc. True to its importance, the Sangiovese Grosso grape is the last to be ready. The harvest of the Brunello grape will start during the last days of September in the lower lying vineyards with southern exposition and during the first half of October in Montalcino's higher vineyards and North facing areas.  

sangiovese (Brunello) grapes ready for picking

Fonterenza winery's sangiovese vineyard shortly before the wine harvest
 
Vinification leftovers
 
Sangiovese grapes in crates during the wine harvest in Montalcino

White wine grapes in a cellar in Montalcino







GOOD TO KNOW
The approaching wine harvest turns jovial vintners who spend infinite hours in the wine cellar talking to complete strangers about ideal barrel aging time and their nonna's homemade pasta recipes into monosyllabic neurotics, who keep pulling out their iPhone to check the weather forecast yet again. This might not feel like the ideal time for a winery visit, but instead of feeling hurt about the lack of attention jump at the occasion and fire away questions about the vintage in the making. You won't just learn plenty about the perils and pitfalls of wine making, but you'll also provide the vineyard staff a welcome occasion to let off some steam in this tension prone month. 

THE WEATHER IN SEPTEMBER: In the second half of the month nights can be cold high up in Montalcino's town center with its elevation of 567 meter, but days are mostly glorious with the type of heat that's enjoyable and doesn't make one want to spend the day indoors hiding behind closed shutters like in July or August. 

All photos taken by Francesca Padovani during the wine harvest 2014. The talented young winemaker runs Montalcino's organic Fonterenza winery together with her sister Margherita Padovani. Follow Francesca on Instagram for beautiful hands on updates from the natural wine movement in Brunello town. 

Fonterenza's organic Brunello 2009



TWO FOR ONE - ITALIAN FOLK MUSIC & TUSCAN FOOD: SEPTEMBER 13 and 16, 2014

When summer comes to an end one fears the worst in Montalcino. From music festivals and al fresco dining the population moves right into the wine harvest and nights out become suddenly a no go (anybody who has ever spent a day picking grapes will know why). 

Thanks god we are not quite there though. A few white wine grapes may already be off the vine, but since Montalcino is Sangiovese co
untry we still have a couple of weeks before things go berserk and a last couple of events before Brunello town's social life falls temporarily asleep. So better make sure you'll be there!

Hotel Rif, the Italian band around singer songwriter Sabrina Turri will take you on a trip through Italian and Mediterranean folk music in one of the most beautiful venues Montalcino has to offer. Restaurant la Pieve is located on the Tuscan town's south-western slopes, so make sure you leave Montalcino a bit early to take in the fabulous sunset on the road that leads via Tavernelle to La Pieve (if you want to do an extra hour of exploring visit lovely Camigliano beforehand). Then take a seat and enjoy dinner at restaurant la Pieve accompanied by the fabulous sound of Hotel Rif.  

Singer Sabrina Turri with Hotel Rif
Sabrina Turri during a concert of Hotel Rif







HOTEL RIF AT LA PIEVE DI MONTALCINO
Saturday 13th and Tuesday 16th of September 2014

Be sure to make a reservation. Price for concert and dinner 35€. Booking: info@lapievedimontalcino.it; +39 0577 81 66 04. 

La Pieve has beautiful rooms too, if you want to stay overnight. In case they are all booked try one of my favorite holiday rentals in the area: Art and Garden in Monte Antico (20 minutes from La Pieve).

Last but not least, check out Hotel Rif's website and their new record Piedirante to get ready for a last great night out in Montalcino this summer. 


12 MONTHS OF BRUNELLO: AUGUST IN MONTALCINO AND WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT DURING A DIFFERENT MONTH

Tuscan landscape seen through the window of a Montalcino winery


I am no friend of August in Italy. Too hot, too crowded. The last few summers may have been cooler and wetter than the norm, but whilst the weather has changed the tourists haven't. Half of the bel paese is on holiday in August, and those Italians who are not at the beach seem to love ticking off Brunello town from their must see list on sweltering hot summer days (Montalcino gets most of its day trip visitors during this time of the year). 

If you insist in visiting Montalcino in August make sure your hotel or agriturismo owns a pool. You'll need it. Otherwise the last resort will be to cool down in one of the area's 250 wine cellars. 


Wine barrels in the cellar of the Collemattoni winery


Looking for shade at Collematoni




  


Summertime Brunello bottling at Collemattoni



GOOD TO KNOW

There are better months than August to visit Montalcino. Especially if you come for the wine. With its high alcohol content Brunello tastes better when its a little cooler (or properly cold) outside, so summer may be the time to drink your way through the slightly lighter Rosso di Montalcino and the various blends of the Sant'Antimo Doc.  

Or leave the wine alone and look out for Montalcino's different honeys instead, which are just incredible when freshly tasted right after making (at last there's one good reason to be here in August). One of my favorite Tuscan honeys is produced at the Collemattoni winery near Sant'Angelo in Colle. The organically run vineyard produces not 'just' Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino but its own honey and extra virgin olive oil too. 



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

© MONTALCINO All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger