Montalcino and France, a link born a long time ago

From a strictly winemaking point of view, there is no doubt that there has been a bitter ongoing conflict between the capital of Brunello and France over the last decades, over great bottles of wine on the major world markets. And yet, between Montalcino and France there is a strong historic connection, strengthened by a military alliance that between 1555 and 1559 witnessed the battle between the two major powers then, France and Spain. When Sienna was occupied by the Florentine troops, headed by Cosimo I de’ Medici and the Spanish troops, a large number of Siennese people founded the Republic of Siena and retreated to Montalcino. At the same time, the French troops, allies of Siena, led by Captain Blaise di Monluc arrived in Montalcino. For four years the people of Montalcino lived in tremendous sacrifice and suffered terribly. There were thousands of French and Siennese troops in Montalcino. The Republic of Siena used Montalcino money but the treasury was empty and crops were scarse. The legendary Blaise de Montluc, friend of the Montalcino people did not give up and every morning “he would color his cheeks with a robust red wine”.

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