La Torre, Rosso di Montalcino
La Torre, Rosso di Montalcino

La Torre, Rosso di Montalcino

Tuscany, Italy 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00
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La Torre, Rosso di Montalcino

Talk about a time-tested classic: La Torre Rosso di Montalcino is the ultimate example. Not only is Rosso di Montalcino one of the most essential reds in any oenophile’s tool kit, La Torre’s rendition has consistently proven itself to be best in class. It really needs no further introduction, but upon tasting this 2020 I’m reminded yet again of how I often prefer Rosso to its more prestigious (and more expensive) sibling, Brunello. Yes, Rosso di Montalcino is considered a “second wine,” but, as is also the case with the second wines of Bordeaux, the differences in quality are nowhere near as pronounced as the differences in price.

At an artisanal property like La Torre, the only thing separating Rosso from Brunello is the length of time the respective wines spend aging in oak. Otherwise, it’s the same source vineyards and the same vinification methods, so rather than put Rosso and Brunello on two separate quality tiers, I just think of them as two different styles—and often come away wanting less oak, more freshness, and as a result, the more transparent expression of Sangiovese Grosso that Rosso provides. As magnificent as La Torre’s classically styled Brunellos can be, this is all I need. It consistently delivers everything one could ask for from this noble grape and place.

This is blue-chip wine, plain and simple. According to law, Rosso di Montalcino can be released after one year (compared to five for Brunello). As such, most Rosso you encounter will have spent about six months in barrel, if at all. Larger estates are likely to include fruit from their younger plantings in their Rosso di Montalcino bottlings. Rosso is, by design, meant to be a fresher, lighter, “younger-drinking” style of wine, and, in comparison to the estate’s Brunello, La Torre’s is—but compared to most other Rossos, it’s a major step up. For one thing, it spends 18 months in barrel (mostly 25-hectoliter French casks). For another, La Torre’s vineyards, in the high-elevation hamlet of La Sesta on Montalcino’s south slope, have an average age of 40 years.

It’s a question of scale, and at this scale, everything La Torre does feels handmade and carefully considered. Releasing only about 1,000 cases of Brunello di Montalcino in any given vintage, La Torre has been a regional benchmark since its first vintage was released in 1982. Owned by the Anania family, who originally purchased the property in 1976, the estate includes just 5.6 hectares of vineyards, which face south and southwest and sit at some of the highest elevations in Montalcino. Soils are the classic mix of limestone-infused marl mixed with clay. When I think of La Torre, I think of wines that are powerful and structured without going overboard—wines with a firm backbone to support all the heady flavors they put forth.

In 2020, La Torre hit a towering home run with their Rosso, which, as has been the case in previous vintages, outclasses most Brunellos. It is a powerful rendition, polished and structured, and will continue to evolve in a positive direction for years to come. In the glass, it’s a deep garnet with hints of red/orange at the rim, and the aromatics are textbook Tuscan melding of red and black cherry, black plum, cedar, tomato leaf, grill char, saddle leather, and a hint of bitter chocolate. It has depth and some palate-coating richness checked by Sangiovese’s brisk acidity and firm, but moderate, tannins. Decant it about 30 minutes before serving in large Bordeaux stems at 60 degrees. As a pairing, I’m re-publishing a Tuscan burger recipe I posted with some previous La Torre offers. This is the “high-low” wine-and-food pairing in full effect! Enjoy!

La Torre, Rosso di Montalcino


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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