Brunello di Montalcino / Montalcino History / Op-ed

What is Brunello? Stefano shares some notes about his family’s history

What is Brunello? asks Stefano. The answer is “Montalcino” and its people.

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Brunello is 100 percent Sangiovese grown in Montalcino. It is aged for four years and must spend at least two of those years in wood casks. It’s the fruit of centuries of passion, experimentation, and success. It’s a Tuscan legend. It’s all of these things but it’s also much more. It’s the living and breathing expression of a community, a tradition, and a identity. It’s a chorus made up of the voices of hundreds of winemakers who have seen many stars emerge among them over the centuries. Thousands of voice united for one extraordinary cause: Brunello di Montalcino.

The Fattoria dei Barbi estate and the Colombini family are part of the remarkable story of Brunello. Earth, blood, history and Sangiovese all come together on this hill. My ancestors once owned vineyards that now belong to others. They had relatives that now have their own wineries. They had friends — farmers, doctors, pharmacists, and lawyers — whose children produce Brunello. It’s all connected. Whether she or he is aware of it or not, even the most recent arrival in Montalcino moves this shared story forward. And that person isn’t just part of the story. She or he is a central character in that story.

So what about the Colombini family and the Barbi estate? Who are we? We’ve been here since the beginning and we are still here and will continue to be here in Montalcino, the village that gave wine its future and continues to reinvent it. We know how to be something new while always remaining true to ourselves.

Stefano Cinelli Colombini

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