Pertimali has been owned by the Sassetti family for more than a century. The 40-acre estate is in one of the prime locations of the Montalcino appellation. Since 1999 the family has also owned vineyards in the Maremma, in southwestern Tuscany. From the Montalcino vineyards the estate makes Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. From the Maremma vineyards it makes Sangiovese blends. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “if I only had one Brunello to drink, it would be Pertimali.”
Brunello di Montalcino is regarded as one of Italy’s best appellations. Located in south central Tuscany below Chianti, the wines of Brunello di Montalcino DOCG are made of a Sangiovese clone called “brunello,” which means “little dark one,” a reference to the brown tones in the skin of the grape. Unlike some Tuscan appellations that allow other grapes to be blended with Sangiovese, Brunello di Montalcino is entirely Sangiovese. Montalcino itself is a picturesque, hill-top town not especially well known for wine production until the mid-19th century, when a local vineyard owner isolated the brunello clone and planted it. Other growers followed suit. Nevertheless it wasn’t until 1970s that wine enthusiasts started paying attention to Brunello di Montalcino, which by then was becoming an outstanding wine. Today there are 120 estates in the DOCG, up from about 25 estates in 1975. Brunellos in general are bigger, darker, more tannic and more powerful wines than Chiantis or most other Sangioveses. By law they must be aged for four years, and two of those years must be in wooden barrels.