On the south of Siena, about an hour away is a quaint hilltop town surrounded by its original medieval walls and miles of beautiful countryside.
The town of Montalcino is a beautiful village immersed in the breathtaking Val d’Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello red wine.
I had a faint memory of me and my mother having attended a private tea culture class in Shenzhen, China back in the 90’s. I have never been a fan of spirits but I thought a wine tasting would be a nice experience for the both of us. For the full sangiovese experience, the town of Montalcino is the best place to go. Our first stop was the Abadia Ardenga winery.
We were also shown pictures of harvest back in the old days.
The first wine we tried was the table wine, Rosé. I didn’t get to follow what came in next.
“Riserva” is a wine that has been aged for a minimum period of time.
Certification falls into three categories of decreasing strictness: DOCG, DOC, and IGT. Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG): Seeing this on the label of your wine bottle means that the wine producers followed the strictest regulations possible to make that wine. Da Tavola means table wine.
1 Vino da Tavola (VdT) literally means “table wine” and it’s the lowest class of wine, a wine made by the producer as he sees fit to make it and intended for everyday drinking.
2 Vino a Indicazione Geografica (IGT) or “Geographical Indication” is a wine produced in a specific area.
3 Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) or “Controlled Designation of Origin” is a quality assurance label for Italian food products, especially Italian wine and cheese.
4 Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG): or “Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin.” Similar to the DOC, but more stringent. Allowable yields are generally lower, and DOCG wines must pass an evaluation by a tasting committee before they can be bottled.
(Source: italianfood.about.com/ wikipedia)
After our wine tasting tour, our driver Francesco stopped right in front of a small stone church, Della Madonna del Soccorso. The church is quite picturesque and a beauty in itself alone, but walking around it gives views of the town of Montalcino and the surrounding Tuscan countryside.
A magnificent spectacle unfolds for your eyes. As I looked out, my heart dropped because of the amazing scenery before me. Italy is absolutely stunning. I could see the countryside villas, the hills, and the small mountains.
The surrounding landscape is as picturesque as the town itself. Overlooking the town is the Fortress of Montalcino. The fortress was built as a part of the ancient walls and is located on the highest point of the town. Visitors are allowed entry to the internal courtyard, where they can admire the structure’s watchtowers.
The town is extraordinarily well-preserved dating from the 16th century. The streets of Montalcino with their stone pavements are truly enchanting and the village is a wonderful place to stroll around among the scads of fine restaurants, wine shops, cafes and specialty stores.