The unfamiliar world of the small wineries of Montalcino: meet organic, biodynamic or simply artisan winemakers of Brunello di Montalcino on a tour that includes tours and guided tastings in cellars, local food and wine pairings and visits to explore the enchanting villages of the Val d’Orcia in Tuscany South.
Duration: 7 days, 6 nights
Available: from February to November by request
Target: individuals and small groups
Arrival/Departure: Rome (Florence and Pisa by request)
Accommodation: elegant villa inside the complex of an organic wine estate
Restaurants: typical Tuscany South cuisine, homemade delicacies, “snacks” at wine cellars, tasting at Enoteca Italiana...
Food: Pecorino cheese from Pienza, honey from Montalcino, Tuscan Ribollita soup, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil, Tuscan Prosciutto, truffles, Pinci pasta, Cantucci biscuits and much more...
Visit: Montalcino, Pienza, San Quirico d'Orcia, Siena e Montepulciano.
Day 1, sunday - The Terrace of Wonderland
Montalcino is a captivating 240 square kilometre microcosm surrounded by the complex world of Brunello whose lifeline radiates from this beautiful medieval village. It sits atop the mountain like a terrace of wonderland overlooking the Val d’Orcia. This is our destination on the transfer from the airport in Rome where we meet.
Our home for the week is in an elegant villa inside the complex of an organic wine estate, the starting point of our immersion in the world of Brunello. After checking in, we go for a tasting at the cellar to start going inside the great wines of Montalcino with a little snack of delicious salami and Tuscan cheese. For dinner, typical Montalcino fare at a small restaurant in the medieval heart of Montalcino.
Day 2, Monday – South-East: The Elegance of Biodynamic Sangiovese
At breakfast we meet our local concierge who will accompany us the entire week in the land of Brunello. We step onto the millenary stone streets in the centre of Montalcino to explore the town, its walls, the Fortress and treasures at the museum. After a bit of shopping in the little shops along the narrow streets, we go to an osteria where we our lunch menu is paired with both Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino.
In the afternoon we head towards the countryside around Montalcino where there are thousands of hectares of woods, pasture, olive groves and the precious vines of Brunello. The terroir of Brunello di Montalcino is a complex mosaic of vineyards resting on the various sides of the hill, each with its own unique characteristics. Today we visit two small biodynamic producers on the best-known mountainside, southeast, characterized by sandstone and marl with volcanic tufa. We can appreciate the diversity in the approach to the vines and the vinification methods by noting how this is reflected in the wines and in the agricultural landscape surrounding the wineries.
We stop at the Museum of Brunello and of the Community of Montalcino where we step back into the history and evolution of the world-famous wine and the country life of years gone by. Afterwards we head to the magnificent onyx and alabaster Abbey of Sant’Animo where we can listen to a small group of monks are devoted to prayer in Gregorian chants.
Day 3, Tuesday – The Other Sangiovese: Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia Landscape
Sangiovese is the jewel of Montalcino where it is vinified in pure form. In Tuscany South, a similar clone of this variety is cultivated in nearby Montepulciano resulting in great differences in the bottle, which we will discover today. We journey over the rolling hills of the Val d’Orcia with stops in Bagno Vignoni and Pienza to taste the excellent Pecorino di Pienza cheese and other products at an organic farm before we arrive in Montepulciano. There we walk the historic streets of this medieval city to a small aritisan cellar where we learn more about and taste Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Day 4, Wednesday – South-West: On the Legendary Trail of the King of Italian Wines
The warm southwest side, which faces the Maremma area of Tuscany and the Tyrrhenian Sea, is rich in clayey terrain resulting in structured and assertive wines. Today we appreciate the great strength and exuberance of Brunello that gets kissed by the sun as we travel along the Strada di Sesta, from the south to the east passing by vineyards and millenary olive groves.
There are three cellars on the list today, each with a special character that we learn about from the vignerons who guide us through their organic interpretations of Brunello. As we go down into a cellar carved out of stone where the historic bottles of the winery are stored, it feels like we are entering deep into the soul of Brunello and the terroir of Montalcino. From here, we head to Sant’Angelo in Colle, a charming little village high above the valley. We lunch at an excellent restaurant before the next tasting. Keep in mind that a selection of five Italian wines paired with extraordinary dishes await us in the evening to conclude this intense day.
Day 5, Thursday – The Magic of Siena
Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With a local guide we visit all the highlights of this charming medieval city where it feels like you are walking in a work of art. We also visit the Medicean Fortress home of the Enoteca Italiana where we taste some of the best Italian wines from the well-stocked cellar.
We end off the day at our favourite wine shop back in Montalcino where a wine journalist guides through a comparative tasting, helping us to understand the nuances and differences in the selected wines of Brunellos.
Day 6, Friday – North and West: Unfamiliar Territory
We save three big little wineries for last to end off our great tour in style. The first winery is to the north on the least known and the freshest side of Montalcino where the location and soil, that is rich in malm, mixed marl and clay, produce the biggest Brunellos with fine aromas and delicate bouquets. We are guided in a tasting of Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino.
We then go west to the most wooded area of Montalcino where the terrain becomes more calcareous and richer in alluvial sandstone. We enjoy lunch paired with wines at a beautiful biodynamic winery while taking in the breathtaking view. In the afternoon, we head even further west into the almost unknown wild countryside of Montalcino to a magnificent farmhouse where our last poet of wine entertains us with stories of his life and his Brunello. We conclude the day and the week with dinner on Friday evening and a little surprise!
Day 7, Saturday
Relax on your transfer back to Rome where you can continue your holiday or catch your return flight home.