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Old man from Montalcino looking at the latest vintage tiles

Towards the end of winter in the midst of February, Brunello town wakes up from hibernation. For two reasons:
  • pruning: the vineyards are still resting, so it's high time to move in there with secateurs in hand to get things back into shape before spring is running havoc. 
  • Benvenuto Brunello: Montalcino's most important event presents the freshly released Brunello - just count back five years to know which vintage will be on show (and six for Brunello Riserva). The three days of tasting at the end of February bring the most important wine writers into town. In fact journalists, bloggers and wine critiques are flocking all through Tuscany, since during the same week the anteprima (preview or rather pretaste) of the Chianti Classico aka black rooster wines takes place in Florence and the one of Vino Nobile in Montepulciano.

Sommeliers preparing Brunello 2009 for tasting

Brunello producer Andrea Cortonesi and journalist Sergio Fabiani

Two sommeliers wearing their tasting spoons and uniform in Montalcino

The label of the Casa Raia Brunello 2009

The buffet at the Benvenuto Brunello fair

Laura Gray from the Palazzone vineyard at the Benvenuto Brunello tasting

The buffet and a hungry waiter at Benvenuto Brunello 2014

A group of young Italian women at the Benvenuto Brunello fair

GOOD TO KNOW Benvenuto Brunello is organized every February by Montalcino's vintner association. The event is open to journalists and trade only. However, in the unlikely case that you find yourself travelling Tuscany in February, visit one of Montalcino's vineyards and ask whether they happen to have an invitation to spare

LOCATION: The wine fair takes place in and around the cloister of Sant'Agostino, and also gives you access to Montalcino's lovely museum (the perfect cultural break to sober up). 

WEATHER: Bring a warm coat. You may be able to have your coffee outside in the winter sun, but snow is no surprise guest in Montalcino in February. 

The end of Benvenuto Brunello (old man on his way home in Montalcino)

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