Jazz&Wine for Your Montalcino Summer Music Soundtrack

One of Montalcino’s longest-standing music festivals has a terrific partner in Brunello wine. Learn about Jazz&Wine’s outstanding history in Montalcino.

By Francesca Ciancio
Jul 14, 2021

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A MONTALCINO SUMMER WITH SMOOTH JAZZ&WINE IN THE BACKGROUND


Almost 25 years of jazz and wine - indeed, the music never stopped here in Montalcino, not even with the pandemic.

In fact, the Montalcino Jazz&Wine event has 24 years to its name, and the reputation as being Montalcino’s most important summer event.

If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in from July 20th - July 25th, 2021, to enjoy the performances of jazz artists and musicians like Stefano Bollani, Danilo Rea, Stefano di Battista, Emanuele Urso, Massimo Nunzi and Alex Britti, all viewable and to be enjoyed during their performances this summer in Montalcino’s Fortezza.

Are you already thinking about the wines in Montalcino as you daydream about the jazz roster above?  Filippo Bartolotta can help with that, in Episode 3 of 6 - The miracle of Montalcino taking a look at a starting list of Montalcino producers making waves.
 

 

WINE AND JAZZ’S INTERTWINED RECENT HISTORY

Contemporary festivals abound where wines are paired with arts and cultural events, but selections weren’t always this wide-ranging.  While today we have our pick from different music, art, and literature fairs, 25 years ago, the landscape was entirely different.

Rodolfo Maralli, commercial director of Tenute Banfi and president of the Banfi Foundation, which is where the festival was created, recounts:  “I was a Roman lad who loved jazz.  I was a frequent visitor to Villa Celimontana, which was always active with terrific concerts.

Maralli continues, “they were also my first years of work at Banfi, and during one such musical evening, I had the good fortune to meet Giampiero Rubei (who left us five years ago.  Today, his son Paolo is in charge of the festival, editor's note), an old-fashioned music impresario and founder of some of Italy’s most dynamic festivals.

Rubei was also the founder of the Alexanderplatz, a historic jazz club in Rome. I came up with a challenge for Rubei: to organize a Montalcino-based jazz festival where wine would be the pendant of music.

Rubei liked the idea right from the start, and we got underway in 1998, with some truly magnificent names.  But, not with so many people in attendance.”

How do you cook for such a special occasion?  What goes well with Jazz&Wine?  Don’t miss the Mamablip Recipe Index for tons of cooking inspiration, including portable goodies!

The festival location was - and still is - the 14th-century fortress of the classic Tuscan villageMontalcino’s Fortezza provides a natural match for a memorable stage of tremendous charm, and a location that enchants visitors every single year.  Not to mention the names of performers lending their magic to the blend:  Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gino Paoli, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Ezio Bosso.

Maralli notes “the numbers of attendees has regularly increased over the years, and we’ve never had problems filling our audience seating to capacity.  This year, as last year, our capacity is naturally reduced to one third, in compliance with health and safety measures.”

If you need some Montalcino travel ideas for the weekend, look no further than Lele Gobbi’s Much More than just a Wine Weekend in Montalcino, jam packed with great ideas on what to see, drink, and do in Montalcino this weekend.
 

 

WHY WINE GOES PAIRS PERFECTLY WITH JAZZ (AND VICE VERSA)

When Maralli and Rubei met for the first time, Maralli explained his vision to Rubei.

“Rock had beer as its signature drink, pop music was paired with cocktails, and therefore, Jazz had to be paired with wine, both of which are the result of improvisation and making your way around set rules.

The Jazz&Wine festival was the first festival in the world to put these two distinct elements together.  In fact, Napa Valley, after watching our success from a distance, was inspired by our efforts.

Our musical reference point was the Umbria Jazz festival, although that sponsorship was executed by Heineken.  We were in search of excellence not just on the calendar, but also in our drinking glasses.”

In another mega-Brunello event, this year’s Brunello OFF 2021 provided lots of insights into the newly released Brunello 2016 vintage.  Check it out, Chats, Sensations and Recollections at the Benvenuto Brunello OFF 2021.

Just like with wine-making, blending and mixing works smashingly at music festivalsBlending different musical genres and specialists like Elio e Le Storie Tese, Luis Bacalov and Incognito, the world of wine is reflected in its many facets just as within the stage of the Jazz&Wine festival.

“Just like Banfi, which is recognized for its Brunello, which can yield about 50 individual labels, starting from the bubbles of the northern Banfi estate’s in Piedmont through the southern Brunello estate.

There truly is something for everyone, both in the selection of a wine to drink and savor, and a music to listen to and find peace in,” Maralli, the Banfi Sales Manager, concludes.

Maralli, with the success of the Montalcino-based Jazz&Wine festival, has realized his youthful dream of blending good-quality wine with favorite musicians and their musical output.

What are some of our favorite Brunellos to enjoy while taking in a fine jazz concert, or basically doing any activity?  Head over to the Wine Index and Products to learn more about what we love to drink from the Montalcino area (and more!).

And while Maralli continues to dream, there is that one mythical artist he’s still missing.

“The great Keith Jarrett, unfortunately out of reach with the budget we have at our disposal.  Our 2021 edition will be the first with an all-Italian roster due to the health emergency.  But what we will lack in geographical diversity will be more than compensated by the quality of our local musicians,” Maralli muses.


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