“There is an unbreakable bond between cinema and wine & food, which are both under the protection of Dionysus, the god of recklessness and imagination”. This is how Lina Wertmuller defines art and Dionysus, in whose honor Montalcino, in 1986, staged a banquet, directed by Ferruccio Marotti. But it was Dario Fo that summer in Montalcino, who talked about the theater and its connection with the cult of Dionysus. “The theater, from its inception, is a way to gain great strength and emotion, a moment of catharsis and liberation. And laughter is a good way to reflect on the stupidity of humans”.
We will only be able to buy it in 5 years’ time, but it is certain: Brunello 2012 will occupy a place of honor in the cellars of wine lovers around the world. It was an unusual, atypical, fluctuating vintage, which saw a drop in quantity but a visible increase in quality. These are the characteristics of the last harvest in Montalcino that led 2012 to winning “five stars”. Wines with remarkable structure, high levels of polyphenols and a high color intensity convinced the tasting committee, made up of winemakers and experts working in the area, also assisted by laboratory analyses that have made 2012 an exceptional vintage, assigning it the highest score. The experts’ optimism suggests that 2012 will be a dream year. We just have to wait 5 years.
Luca Caprai, head of the Cruciani brand, signed the ceramic tile for Benvenuto Brunello 2013. And he could not resist adding to the five stars awarded, the famous “must have” Made in Italy bracelets, an idea he created and had produced by the Arnaldo Caprai Textile Group, led by his father, Arnaldo Caprai. The commemorative tiles, placed on the walls of the Municipality Palace in Montalcino, were made by famous labels such as Prada, Ferragamo, Cavalli and Missoni, and designers such as Giugiaro and Giolito, Sandro Chia, Oliviero Toscani and Deborah Compagnoni.
Brunello 2012? The Italian domestic market is in the doldrums, but exports are on the rise. Giacomo Neri (Casanova di Neri) says, “markets stable in the USA, Canada and Europe, with an increase in Asia (India, China and Taiwan)”. Stefano Cinelli Colombini (Fattoria dei Barbi): “in 2012 the markets in the U.S., Canada, England and Germany held their own with an increase in Brazil. Italy did not do so well”. Roberto Moretti (Querce Bettina): “We are in constant growth in Canada, Australia and Belgium”. Enrico Viglierchio (Castello Banfi): “In 2012 exports were good in the U.S. and excellent in Asia. Bad in Italy”. Giulia Gecchele (San Polo), “exports good abroad in Switzerland, Germany and the USA. And Italy? It’s suffering”. Emilia Nardi (Tenute Silvio Nardi): “an increase in the U.S. and Germany. In China, spotty results”. Mirko Biliorsi (Caparzo): “The markets are USA, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland. We are opening to Asia, Italy is stopped”. Jacopo Biondi Santi (Tenuta Il Greppo): “Exports did well in the U.S., Brazil, Canada and Germany. Asia positive. Italy bad, due to the crisis, Article 62 and alcohol limits”. Giancarlo Pacenti (Tenute Siro Pacenti): “We held our own on all the markets in the USA, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Hong Kong and Singapore did well. Next target China”.
“The desire for Brunello never wanes. The desire to return to it is at the same rate with which it fills the glass”, wrote Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, in his report on Montalcino entitled “Winter in Tuscany.” A moving tribute to a great man of culture and to a terroir…
For two hours, the Cloister Museum in Montalcino will be transformed into an elegant banquet hall worthy of Brunello. It will be the task of the “directors” to stage the gala dinner among wooden statues, frescoes and paintings of the Sienese school. There will be elaborate entrees and a princely setting for the more than 250 expected guests.
Today, celebrities that come to Montalcino hide behind the impenetrable privacy of luxurious five-star resort hotels. There used to be a time in which the star, in a world not yet dominated by social networks, could enjoy a holiday in this area without being recognized. A time of great loves and overwhelming passions, such as that between Henry Fonda, one of the most famous actors in Hollywood and the Baroness Franchetti Afdera, of a noble family related to the Rothschilds. The Franchetti family was linked to Montalcino: Afdera’s sister, Lorian, had in fact married Loffredo Gaetani d’Aragona Lovatelli, owner of Argiano. So, when Henry married Afdera in 1957, he discovered Montalcino and fell madly in love with it, grateful for the opportunity to stroll undisturbed in the peace and quiet of its streets.
Montalcino, its landscapes, its artistic beauty, history and nectar, Brunello wine. It is a magic land, a land of dreams that many have celebrated. Italian and international personalities have come here to pay homage to the city and its delicacies. Many Nobel Prize winners have also come to Montalcino, to speak of it and take home the city in their hearts. First of all, Rita Levi Montalcini, scientist, who dedicated her whole life to research and won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986. Since 1992 she has been an honorary citizen of the city. “We decided to give her honorary citizenship”, says Mauro Guerrini, the former mayor of Montalcino, who at the time gave her the keys to the city, “when we discovered that her last name came from the fact that some of her ancestors lived here”. The scientist called Montalcino “a beautiful city full of history”. Cox Robert Merton, Nobel Prize for Economics in 1997, came to Montalcino and here, in an interview with Castello Banfi addressed the issue of financial tools for Italian wine, declaring that his favorite wine is Brunello. Then there is the story of Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, who rendered a perfect description of the city and its nectar: ”I’ve never had a soft spot for views, but the beauty penetrated the armor of my twentieth century soul, so hostile to landscapes … The desire for Brunello never goes away. The desire to return to it is the same speed at which it fills the glass”. ”Montalcino, a town untouched, unaltered, clean shapes, that remains in the Middle Ages. And the fortress is the symbol of the city’s history”. This is how Dario Fo, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997 and who in 1986 presented a show at the Fortezza in Montalcino, described this corner of paradise. But there is also Carducci, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906 who, in a letter to the Countess Ersilia Caetani Lovatelli in 1886, wrote: “I cleaned my throat with the wine of Argiano, which is very, very good”.
Trip Advisor is one of the reference sites for worldwide social travelers, who find transparent comments and ratings written by users free of charge. Despite the controversy which saw Trip Advisor in the hot seat in Italy – from slamming restaurant reviews written by competitors to supposed “market reviews” – it still remains one of the most popular search engines consulted. Tuscany was the best destination in the world for wine lovers in 2012 – according to TripAdvisor rankings it triumphed over territories like Sonoma County in California or Hunter Valley in Australia. TripAdvisor users do not hide their love for Montalcino. To date, February 2013, the hotels voted top are Il Borgo di Castello Banfi, Castiglione del Bosco and the Castello di Velona. The top restaurants are: La Taverna di Castello Banfi, Re di Macchia and Trattoria Il Pozzo. Among the recommended events in Montalcino Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona won again, for the second time in a row, for its highly appreciated tours in the vineyard and its tasting tours, in English, of wine and olive oil.
Stunning landscapes, fascinating territory and Brunello, the symbol of Italian wine: these are the “X factors” that attract, inspire and often make Montalcino and its Brunello wine protagonists in films. From films shot in Montalcino to films where Montalcino is mentioned for its Sangiovese, the combination of landscape, land and its fruits are the source of inspiration for filmmakers around the world. In 1941 Exodus Pratelli chose the city of Brunello to host the “stories” of the historical film “La Pia dei Tolomei.” but it was Franco Zeffirelli with “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” in 1972, and Otar Iosseliani with “Un petit monastère en Toscane” in 1988, that captured the artistic beauty of this territory and showed it in refined and moving films. Brunello also makes its appearance on the real or imagined “tables” of cinema. Two examples: in “The most beautiful night of my life” (Ettore Scola 1972), Alberto Sordi is grappling with a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Biondi Santi, while in “Venuto al mondo” (Sergio Castellitto, 2012), Montalcino and its nectar are the backdrop breaking, for a moment, the melodramatic tension.