Wine Tasting in Montalcino
August 8, 2018
It’s nearly impossible to visit Tuscany without touring a vineyard or two. I’m not a huge red wine enthusiast but I do enjoy an occasional glass. This past winter we attended the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Heroes Ball and won an auction for this Tuscany trip. Our Tuscany package included a villa, a driver, daily breakfast, wine tours, housekeeping, and a cooking class. The two wine tours were in Montalcino, a region famous for its’ Brunello wine produced from 100% Sangiovese grapes.
We visited two very different vineyards — Castello Tricerchi and Podere Le Ripi. Castello Tricerchi has been run by the Tricherchi family for 17 generations. The estate’s castle was built in 1441 and was declared as an artistic and historical heritage site in 1982. The family’s three friendly dogs greeted us upon our arrival to the vineyard and for me it was a sign that this experience was off to a great start. The atmosphere created by the charming old castle hearkens to the tradition and heritage of wine production in the region. It was just the backdrop I dreamed of for our Tuscany wine tasting adventures. We walked the grounds with a tour guide who gave us an overview of the vineyard while we took in the picturesque vista of the surrounding hillside. Before heading upstairs to a public section of the castle that appeared to be reserved for wine tasting and group events, we toured the aging cellar in the basement which remains nearly the same as it was 600 years ago with a few technological improvements.
The second vineyard we visited Podere Le Ripi was much newer. The first grape vines were planted in 2000 on a plot of land that was untamed and primarily used by grazing animals. The owner Franscesco Illy, of the Illy Espresso Coffee Family, wanted to test and disprove the notion that really good wine can only come from a vineyard that is at least 35 years old. He tested by planting vines at different densities and came to the conclusion that the more dense the vines the better the wine. By starving the roots they dug deeper for resources. I can attest that the wine was delicious! Between the two vineyards we visited this was our favorite. The wine tasting room and golden cellar are modern but suit the aesthetic of the region perfectly. When we first arrived we toured the vineyard and golden cellar, which took 7 years and 750,000 bricks to complete. Our tour concluded with a light lunch of salad and lasagna combined with a tasting of five different wines outside on the patio. After all the wine our meal was a very welcome sight! This was a wonderful Tuscan vineyard touring experience.