We are finishing up the first half of our trip today and when in Italy you have to devote at least one full day to exploring the wine country of Tuscany. I have been fortunate all of these years to have my own personal guide of the region, Pino Teresi. I met Pino on my first trip here in 2000 and he has guided my Wine Tour ever since.
We start this day early by grabbing some coffee and a quick bite in the village of Mercatale nestled in the valley below our homes. We rendezvous with the Pino and our bus driver – so yes no cars on Winesday! From Mercatale we make our way by Cortona, Singaluna, Montepulciano and finally to our first stop Montalcino – home of the Brunello.
Of all the Tuscan wine hill towns I love Montalcino the best. There is just a masculine rusticness to this place and so no wonder it is home to the Brunello – the heartiest and most robust wine of Italy. This year Pino started our tour at the winery of Poggio Rubino on the south slopes of Montalcino. Last year we toured the winery of Casanova di Neri which is also amazing.
Poggio Rubino is a small winery but well worth the visit. The cellar is a nice scale with a beautiful tasting room in the cellar. Here we were given a wonderful presentation on the making of their wines and all of the attention to detail that goes into growing the grapes and fermenting the wine. We enjoyed shavings of parma ham and the thick fat with seasonings which when combined with the acidity of the wine made for the most luscious flavor in your mouth.
From the darkness of the cellar it was up to the top of the roof deck with a beautiful view of the countryside and lunch in the timber pavilion. And what a lunch! After wine tasting in the cellar you come up to the light and brightness and the smells of the lunch being freshly prepared. Of course more of the wine and champagne we just tasted is served with a delightful lunch of panzanella salad and fresh pasta. The leisurely lunch has no time frame and so we dine, go out to the patio and rest, drink a little more wine, enjoy dessert and then back to the patio for a little more rest. We wrap with some laughter and pictures and then its back to the bus for a short drive to Montalcino and the Enoteca di Piazza to taste more wine and make our purchases.
Of course there is always a little time to explore and this time I found a great little delicatessen in the heart of Montalcino - A&G. What a cool little place to pick up a little ham or salami to enjoy that wine we just purchased.
From Montalcino it was a two hour drive back to Umbria and Mimmi’s Trattoria in Mercatale where we celebrate our day with a seven course farmer’s meal and an endless pitcher of Vino Rosso de la Casa. Just another tough day in Italy.