Every trip has it’s twists and challenges and trip 13 definitely is having its share! Today is Winesday – actually Tuesday but today we go on our wine tour with Pino Teresi. Pino has been my wine guide since 2000. He is amazing and a good friend.
Today we had to start early and meet Pino and the bus driver in Mercatale at 9am so it was an early rise. It is definitely nice to have the bus on wine day. Last thing with trip 13 I need is fourteen travelers out driving around Tuscany after wine tastings all day!
So we made it into Mercatale and grabbed some coffee and a pastry at the little restaurant by the park where we left the cars and met our bus and Pino!
Because we are in the middle of nowhere in Italy it is about a two hour drive to the Banfi Winery near Montalcino. It’s a beautiful ride through gorgeous countryside including the farms of the Chianina cows which provide my favorite steaks!
The Banfi winery, which is American owned, is spectacular http://castellobanfi.com/en/ . Every year Pino introduces us to another winery and this year lived up to our expectations. The grounds and architecture were impeccable and the winery, cellar and most importantly, the wines were exquisite.
We enjoyed a private tour of the cellar which is very high tech and state of the art and then went up to the private dining room for a fabulous tasting lunch. Each course was paired with a different wine starting of course with a sparkling wine.
The dining room was not large and we shared lunch with people from across the world….and that’s where the fun began! Trip 13 remember…. Well one of my travelers was sitting next to a table where the their phone kept buzzing and dinging. My traveler politely asked them to silence their phone about the same time we were all raising a toast to the moment. Well that set this person off the deep end and he started going into a tirade’ “You idiot Americans – so noisy, rude, loud….you idiot Americans go home to your noisy and rude country….Idiot Americans – you are so loud….” Repeating this mantra about eight times….. talk about rude and noisy! Geez!!! It was all we could do to keep our composure and it definitely caught the winery staff off guard. Fortunately, everyone just stayed calm and let this guy run out of steam without any of us confirming his accusations. In the end, he definitely came across as the idiot…especially given the fact he was at and supporting an American winery!
Nothing like a little excitement…. That’s for sure. Nothing like that has ever happened on my 16 years of coming here…. In fact quite the opposite. The Italians are always so friendly….Turns out he was from Brazil. All’s I can say is Brazil your Olympics are just a few months away….good luck!
Well we went on and enjoyed our lunch and wine paring and then made our way back to the bus for the drive to Montepulciano for another stop and visit. The drive from Montalcino to Montepulciano is one of my favorites with the cypress lined hills and beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany.
Once to Montepulciano we hiked up the roadway, through the portal of the fortressed walls and into this absolutely picturesque Italian hill town. Our first stop was the coppersmith shop where I have purchased my fabulous osso bucco pans. Nice little chat there with Pino and the artisan and then it was off to the Cantina del Redi cellar http://www.dericci.it. From the high tech cellar of Banfi we go old school here at the Redi cellar. It is the real deal and one of the most beautiful cellars buried under the streets of Montepulciano. Nothing like the smell of these cellars.
After the darkness and dankness of the cellar you pop out to this amazing view of the countryside and a beautiful walk down the streets of Montepulciano where time has stood still for centuries.
Slowly we make our way back to the bus, visit another church, and then take the long drive home to Mercatale where we finish the day with a seven course meal at Mimmi’s http://www.tuscanydimimmi.it. It is a big meal after a long day…. And when I say seven course that is what it is! Start with crostinis and bruschetta, then onto three different pasta dishes, and finally roasted meats, vegetables, and finally dessert. Our day of indulgence is completed.
Its then a short walk through Mercatale – take in a little local bocce ball and its back to the farmhouses…..now you don’t want to leave a window open as of course a friendly bat may want to join you for the evening! After all this is Trip 13!