Brunello di Montalcino can be one of the most expensive Italian wines, and one of the best. The wine was created in 1888, just after the Phylloxera, by Fernuccio Biondi- Santi. The family continued using Brunello- a local name for Sangioveto Grosso, a grape with rusty brown skin and medium-large berries. Normal Brunello di Montalcino must be aged in barrels and casks for at least 50 months, and reserva for a minimum of 62 months.
Older vintages of Biondi Santi reservas can be sold more expensive than Bordeaux first growth, and even young Brunellos from the best producers can sell for over $100 at retail price. Of the 7 million bottles of Brunello di Montalcino sold worldwide, the US imports about 25%, with a retail value of close to $80 million.
The small hill town of Montalcino also encompasses part of the Rosso di Montalcino DOC, with only 10 months of aging required as opposed to more than four years for Brunello with 100% Sangiovese grapes, delivering consistently high quality and fantastic value at about the same price as a mid-range Chianti Classico Riserva. The wines are usually made from younger vines with higher maximum yield in the vineyards. Moscadello di Montalcino, a DOC wine based on the Moscato Bianco grape, is a subtly sweet white wine, sometimes frizzante, which should be consumed within 1 year or so of harvest.