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Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most prestigious appellations in Italy, born in the 19th Century in its present form thanks to the efforts of the Biondi-Santi family, who defined its rules and have largely guided it to the present day. The wines are made from 100% Sangiovese grape, in particular from a clone called Sangiovese Grosso, or also as Brunello - hence the appellation's name. Traditionally, the wine goes through an extended maceration period where color, tannins and flavour are extracted from the skins. Following fermentation the wine is then aged in oak. Traditionally, the wines are aged 3 years or more in "botti" - large Slovenian oak casks that impart little oak flavour and generally produce more austere wines. Some winemakers will use small French barrels which impart a more pronounced vanilla oak flavour and add a certain fruitiness to the wine. Whatever the approach, wines must be aged for for years (with a minimum of two years in barrel) before being released, according to appellation rules.