Sassetti Livio Pertimali Private Wine Tasting in Montalcino
Deep in the heart of the Tuscan Wine Country is a lovely winery, Sassetti Livio Pertimali — a family-run business that has been making wine for over four generations.
Livio Sassetti founded the winery here in Montalcino in the 1960s. In 1967 when the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) system became law Livio was one of the founders of the Consorzio del Brunello di Montalcino — an organization to uphold the quality standards of Brunello.
A beautiful two-hour drive from Florence to Montalcino drops us onto a winding, very narrow road where you have to take turns letting other cars pass through.
Montalcino Wine Tasting: Understanding DOC vs. DOCG
John and I were blessed to get a private tour of the vineyard hosted by Cristina Rossi. Little did we know, Cristina would not only take us on a tour of the property — letting us taste grapes off the vine but also prepare our lunch and wine tasting, plus share interesting stories about the history of this winery in Montalcino.
Montalcino is an historical hilltop town in the province of Siena. Here you’ll find great wines, Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. In 1980, Brunello wine became the first Italian wine to receive the DOCG — the highest classification of wines in Italy. It controls the production method and quality of the wine. DOCG wines must be submitted for tasting and scientific study to get government approval before being labeled “DOCG.” The government even issues a special seal for the wine bottle’s neck to prevent forgery.
Brunello is produced with 100% Sangiovese grapes. It requires at least five years of total aging, which includes a minimum of two years of wood aging and a minimum of four months in the bottle. It may only be released on January 1, five years after the harvest.
The aging process for Rosso di Montalcino is only one year of aging. The DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) wine can be released the year after the harvest, starting on September 1, and does not have oak-aging requirements.
Montalcino Wine Tasting Must Include Brunello
If you’re familiar with Brunello di Montalcino, then you know the high-quality standards. The young Brunello wine has notes of blackberry, cherry, strawberry, dried cranberry, and licorice. As Brunello ages, it evolves, and you’ll notice flavors of dried fig, anise, chocolate, rose, and even leather.
The Sassetti Livio wines are delightful, and the experience here at the winery is a little slice of Heaven.
This year’s vintage, however, was difficult. Watch the video to hear what made it challenging and why Cristina still believes it will be a stellar vintage.
The Heart of the Business: Montosoli Hill In Montalcino
Sassetti Livio wines come from vineyards in the renowned wine-production regions of Montalcino, The Tuscan Maremma, and Valdobbiadene. They have 12 hectares of land dedicated to cultivating Sangiovese Grosso to produce Brunello di Montalcino.
We’re visiting the heart of their business, Montosoli Hill in Montalcino — the soul of Brunello. It’s 300 meters above sea level, which protects the vines from winter fogs and spring frosts, but also, the lower-than-normal annual temperatures allow the vines to develop unique characteristics.
Couple the weather and bright hillside location with the soil composition of clay, silty marl, and traces of limestone, marly limestone, calcarenite, and gravel, and you have the perfect soil for promoting good drainage.
It’s no wonder Sassetti Livio Pertimali wines are highly coveted.
Most of the work on the land is done by hand, the vines are tended by hand, and grapes are picked at full ripeness.
So, how do you know when the grapes are mature?
The process before the grapes go to fermentation is laborious but highly important.
Sassetti’s grapes are hand-picked, and they plant fava beans, which help to enrich the soil with nitrogen.
Cristina started us off with Prosecco as she explains how Lorenzo Sassetti (manager and son of Livio) began making Prosecco 10 years ago, sourcing grapes from Valdobbiadene (a town north of Venice) where they also own a vineyard.
The Italian sparkling wine is a brilliant light-straw yellow color and is perfectly refreshing for the start of our afternoon wine tasting in Montalcino. Just look at these bubbles! Ah, Perfecto!
Montalcino Wine Tasting Lineup
The lineup for today’s wine tasting:
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
Brunello di Montalcino 2018
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2015
All great wine tastings should come with a traditional Tuscan-style meal. Cristina prepared the food using fresh vegetables from their garden — delicious and filling and perfect with our wine.
With a Great Wine Tasting, There is Good Food in Montalcino
The food was so fresh and delicious. We had raw fennel dipped in olive oil with a touch of salt and many other traditional dishes from Tuscany. It differs from the cooked version of fennel that I prepare at home, and it’s a welcome change.
Cristina served us a delightful charcuterie of prosciutto, salami, and aged cheese that was on a different level! So good and not bloating!
A fabulous way to spend an afternoon in Toscana! Thank you, Cristina!
If you go to Tuscany, be sure to make a reservation with Sassetti Livio Pertimali; you’ll be glad you did. They only offer wine tastings by reservation, so reserve your date now for a fabulous time at Sassetti Livio Pertimali.
Ready to head to Rome? Check out this fabulous dining experience at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina.