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The Scottsdale architectural firm of Candelaria Design Associates is one of the premier luxury residential architecture firms in the country. Enjoy our blog which features our work, our travel, our recipes, wines, tips on design and decorating, and the lives of our clients and employees, etc.....its all the ingredients for the Candelaria Design Lifestyle. Contact Candelaria Design to start your dream residence 602-604-2001!

Candelaria Design Tour Italy 2014 – Day 7 – Wine Tour with Pino

Well after yesterday’s wild day it is nice to get to Tuesday and our Wine Tour of Tuscany. What is nice about the Wine Tour is our tour guide Pino arranges a bus for us so we can all enjoy the day, enjoy the wine, catch some zzzz’s on the bus and not have to drive!

We simply had to drive about 10 minutes from the houses to Mercatale and our rendezvous spot with Pino where there is a fantastic little coffee bar.  Grab a cappuccino, a pastry, some water for the road, and we were off.

Our wine guide, Pino, has been my guide for over 14 years. It has been fun to watch him change and transform over the years. What an interesting fellow he is. Trained as a geologist, Pino has an amazing grasp of the makeup of the land and its history.

So of course like everything in Italy, the bus and driver missed the communication on the rendezvous spot and was in the next town about 20 miles away…..So we followed Pino in a convoy to Camuchia and met the bus driver parked at a large Supermarket by Italy standards! Wow what a break to be parked here! You see, two of my travelers were not going to let those giant bisteca alla Fiorentine go to waste from our first night in Florence and had taken doggie bags with them and had been schlepping these steaks with them to the Country Houses and had decided to make the group an amazing stew. So they had been collecting veggies, broth, etc. for this stew but were needing corn starch to thicken the stew. Looks like we hit pay dirt!

We boarded the bus and we were off. Our first destination the winery of Casanova di Neri just outside of Montalcino.. This winery is amazing, sophisticated, scenic and dedicated first and foremost to quality. Their marquis wine is their Brunello. What impresses me about this winery and their wines is the steps they take to ensure the highest quality wine possible. From hand picking the grapes, sorting the grapes, pressing the grapes, storing and aging, down to specific details for their requirements for the bottles and corks. What tops this particular tour is their scenic wine tasting room that overlooks the Tuscan landscape and the hill town of Montalcino. They set an elegant table where we could sit and enjoy our wine samplings paired with cheese and bread to cleanse the palate after each tasting. What a fantastic experience only further enhanced by the wine and its effects at 11 am in the morning!

From here we went to the hill town of Montalcono and a marvelous wine shop where we could further our tasting extravaganza! Yum!!!

From there we made our way across the Tuscan countryside to Pienza and the home of the pecorino cheese – sheep cheese and of course more wine. A quick walk through the village, grab a porchetta sandwich and it was back on the bus…. Where I realized I had forgotten the envelope of cash for the payment of Pino and the driver…..I seem to manage to do this every year for some strange reason. So I rallied my troops and we a couple of my travelers spotted me the cash to pay the driver so we wouldn’t have to drive all the way and then back over the hill to the driver all the while they are waiting…..I hate when I do that.

So with Pino and the driver squared away it was off to our final stop, Montepulciano and home of the Vino Nobile wines. Another picturesque hill town with many amazing shops, sights and restaurants. Here we toured another very old underground cellar that was just beautiful and such a contrast to the Casanova di Neri cellar which is much more modern and state of the art.


The sun was starting to set and so we enjoyed the bus ride through the hills of Tuscany and the light cast on the villas, vineyards, and cypress trees of this magical land.

We arrived at the supermarket, grabbed some more provisions including of course and most importantly, corn starch and we were off to our final destination – Trattoria di Mimmi's in Mercatale!

Mimmi’s has been our final stop of our Wine Tour day for years. It’s a little bed and breakfast farmhouse with a fabulous restaurant that serves a family style 8 course farmers meal. We start with melon and salamis, followed by a couple crostinis and then on to three different pastas and then finally three different meats including roast turkey, roast pork and finally roast beef.  All along our pitcher of house wine is filled and consumed, filled and consumed, filled and consumed……all finally culminated in two deserts – panna cotta and tiramisu!

Fantastic day and evening – no one lost!