Montalcino lies in Tuscany, in central Italy, about forty kilometers South of the city of Siena, in the hill-lands of an uncontaminated landscape. A land of farms with an ancient history and of rare beauty which, since 2004, is enlisted among the locations of Heritage of mankind by Unesco. The territory of Montalcino consists of one tall hill, mostly covered by forests. Farm cultivations are a mix of vineyards, olive groves, and seeded crops, with a large number of stone buildings that are a witness to centuries of cultivations in these lands. Montalcino and its hamlets Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Sant'Angelo, and Torrenieri are small cities of art with an overall population just a little over five thousand inhabitants.The area where the Montalcino wines are made lies within the confines of the Municipality of Montalcino. A district of 24,000 hectares, of which a mere 15% is occupied by vineyards. It is a pretty much squared area, the sides of which are bordered by the rivers Ombrone, Asso, and Orcia.
The Hill of Montalcino has several pedological environments, owing to its formation over different geological ages. The lowest areas are made up of relatively loose soils, which originated in the Quaternary due to the flow of debris with a deep, active layer. As one moves up, the soil becomes dense with rock formations, while the active stratum thins out, since these are soils formed by the decomposition of original rocks, namely marl and limestone.
Montalcino lies 40 km away from the sea in airline, and 100 km from the Apennine Mountains. Its climate is typically Mediterranean, tendentially dry, but with occasional continental connotations, given its position midway between the sea and the Central Apennine. Precipitations mostly occur in spring and late autumn (yearly average rainfall: 700 mm). Snowfall is possible during winter at heights above 400 meters. Fog, ice, and late hoarfrost are rare in the medium hill strips, factor in part due to the presence of wind, which provides the best habitat for the healthy growth of vegetation. Mount Amiata down South, with its 1,740 meters of height, towers over and protects the territory of Brunello from weather hazards like rain and hail storms.
The climate is prevalently mild during the entire vegetative phase of the vine, with a high number of clear-sky days that make for a gradual and full ripening of the clusters.
The presence on the territory of slopes with differing orientation, the pronounced modulation of the hills and the altimetric gap (from 120 to 650 meters above sea level) between the valley areas and the lands most atop (Poggio della Civitella), determine quite varied micro-climates, even in areas very close to each other.
The most widespread method of cultivation for vines is the spurred cordon, which is obtained by way of a short pruning (double gems)
of a variable number of horns per vine.
The secret of the quality of the Brunello of Montalcino is treasured in the grapevine: a meticulous labor by hand, from dry pruning to the selection of the most fit offshoots, from the containment of the vegetation to the trimming of the bunches, processes that all share the goal of reaping and selecting the best fruits. Certain winemakers carry out a second selection at harvest, so that only perfect grapes are sent away to the wine cellar.