Montalcino, Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy June 2015
After an eventful sight-seeing in Montepulciano checking out the location where portions of The Twilight Saga: New Moon was filmed as well as the eerie Etruscan tombs buried under a historical cantina , we finally arrived in Montalcino after almost an hour drive.
Montalcino is another gorgeous hill town in Tuscany where our wine-tasting activity is scheduled with the Altesi Winery. It is a commune which grew and developed many years ago the Sangiovese grape variety which is the 100% ingredient for Italy’s premier wine, Brunello di Montalcino.
Montalcino got its name from a specific oak tree which used to abound in this area. Once engaged in tanneries during the medieval times producing quality leather goods and shoes, Montalcino experienced an economic decline during the 14th and 15th century due to wars with neighbouring areas but recovered economically when it started becoming known for its wine industry and producing the world renowned Brunello di Montalcino.
We had booked this wine-tasting activity months before while we were still in Manila so we were quite excited to taste this Brunello di Montalcino. Daughter and I were just two of the many who came far and wide to taste this famous wine.
When we reached Altesi Winery, we got off our van and slowly surveyed our surroundings. I know that we came here for some wine-tasting, but the beauty of the surroundings was also a beauty to behold.
The serene, bucolic countryside surrounding Palazzo Altesino took my breath away with these handsome Cypress trees that I’ve only been seeing in Tuscan postcards.
This is the entrance of the Altesino Palazzo/ Winery where we are scheduled for our wine-tasting of their prized Brunello di Montalcino and many other wine products.
Soon enough, our wine-tasting guide Claudia arrived and gave us a tour of the winery. Along the way, she gave us a brief history of how this winery started.
We learned that Altesino Winery has been a leader and have been a contributor of great innovations leading to the development and production of the Sangiovese grape variety grown in the commune which Montalcino is known for producing premier wines like the Brunello di Montalcinoamong others.
We were also made aware that a great relationship between the land, its people, technology, and its rich history is important thereby making this land great paving the way for it to be declared by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site for Humanity.
The Brunello di Montalcino was superb! Smooth and beautifully made of 100% Sangiovese grapes, “it is a full-bodied wine with ruby red color with an intense, pleasant taste; with a bouquet of chocolate and tobacco and hints of vanilla and wild berries.” Best paired with roasts, red meats and medium-aged cheese.
Another favorite is the Vin Santo. It is made of Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes, dried first for 4-5 months before made into wine then aged for seven (7) years, and four (4) months in bottles. It is perfect with fois gras, Stilton or Gorgonzola cheese.
After our excellent meal and wine-tasting, our tour group proceeded to the Montalcino town center for some sightseeing. There, we were allowed an hour to go around by ourselves, take photos or just sit around in some quaint Italian cafe for an espresso and pastry which is exactly what we did.
Walking around this Tuscan medieval hilltop, we finally reached the city centre of Montalcino and saw this tall and slender historic clock by the town hall of Palazzo dei Priori overlooking Piazza del Popolo.
This has been an exciting day touring the two towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino. After a shot of espresso in some street cafe, we were all ready to call it a day and head back to Florence where we are staying for our last evening before we take the fast train tomorrow for Rome.
For my next article, see you in Roma!