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
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
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
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!