The next few reviews might be of Italian wines. In Montalcino, a hilltop town in Tuscany, Sangiovese reigns supreme. The two main styles produced are the Rosso, an early drinking style, and Brunello, which requires significant maturation before release. The wine has to be 100% Sangiovese. The area is just recovering from a blending scandal, where a number of producers were accused and taken to court because of using other grapes as well. I don't believe the case is closed at this point in time.
Of a number of Rossos tried, the 2006 and 2007 Querce Bettina Rosso di Montalcino from a small family winery were the most impressive. They are quite similar. The 2007 in particular shows vibrant cherry fruit. The wine is balanced with a firm acidic finish.
The 2006 Villa Le Prata Brunello di Montalcino, also from a small producer, displays clean and pure raspberry and cherry fruit with more depth than the Rossos above. This is an elegant wine with some length and good minerality. It is more about structure than fruit and has a somewhat sinewy and taut finish.
Overall, these wines are very different from Australian wines. They are not as fruity and are made to accompany food, playing second fiddle to what is on the plate. However, there are other Brunellos with more character.