I've tasted Brunello before, I've been to Montalcino before. But what struck me was how the Consortium and the individual producers showed a very sophisticated and insightful brand of hospitality. Some examples:
*I walked into the front yard of Cupano and the proprietess Ornella Tondini knew my Twitter handle (@gnoccofritto) and the title of this blog, as soon as I introduced myself.
*The warmth, passion and emotion at Tenuta Croce di Mezzo. Not to mention the wines were brilliant.
*Our guide/driver Alessandro, who owns a wine shop in the center of Montalcino. Great guy, endlessly informative, funny. And he shipped me 11 bottles of wine (gifts from producers we visited) for 150 euro. Not bad at all.
*Special mention to Giulia Vitturi. She was presenting the wines of Il Ventolaio and had such a winning persistence and curiosity about our palates. A trained Sommelier, great skills, and very beautiful it should be mentioned too. Yes I am single and hopefully Giulia is reading this.
*The dining table scene at Ventolaio...mothers brothers cousins cooks colleagues pasta vino howling wind outside.
*All the wines were great...specifically the Brunello and the Rosso di Montalcino. I was not interested and nor did I like most of the "Super Tuscan"/IGT efforts. I don't come to Montalcino for Cabernet, or Merlot. I come for Sangiovese at its best expression.
*Castello di Romitorio...unbelievable wines and a quirky sense of humor.
*Bernardino at Argiano and the Argiano wines. I did not bring up their role in Brunellopoli (wouldn't have been polite) but I was impressed when Bernardino mentioned the phasing out of barriques. Excellent wines.
*Speaking of barriques...I hate them...I don't like what they do to wine. Some of the Brunello we tasted had a noticeable barrique influence. Some of the Brunello we tasted strove too hard for the international market, for the palate of the Hong Kong venture capitalist perhaps. Not for me at all, but thank you for allowing me and my colleagues to taste.
*One producer really struck out with me...robotic presentation...and inappropriately small tasting glasses, Sherry size, for the Rosso di Montalcino. If you care so little about putting your best wine foot forward, don't pour it in the first place. It's a shame because it's such a historic winery and an amazing cellar.
*Charlie Arturaola...is a force of nature and a great dude...even though I caught his flu. I look forward to the next time we can share some good vino.
*The lunch at Loacker Corte Pavone and the room itself...just wow...
*Favorites? I was impressed with Armilla, their small size and the quality of their wines. Especially the Rosso di Montalcino 2007. Tenuta Croce di Mezzo, Vitanza, Cupano, il Ventolaio, Altesino all rank highly with me.
*Lastly I want to thank the Consorzio for their planning and hospitality and IEEM + the one the only Mariana Nedic :-).
Enjoy the photos and as always, buona bevuta!
Yes, parsley chopped with scissors...Cupano
Why wasn't this served at the Cupano lunch?