Sunday, July 11, 2010

Italy Trip Day 7 - Poggio Antico Tour

We got up early and after breakfast headed to Poggio Antico winery outside Montalcino, a 45-minute drive. This was our first experience with Brunello of the trip, and it turns out we picked well, as Poggio Antico's brunellos are always highly rated. We took a tour with about 8 other people, and were shown their beautiful grounds and state of the art wine-making facilities. It did feel a little more modern and corporate here than Avignonesi, but we enjoyed the informative tour and the incredible wines we tried. We shipped home a case of mostly brunellos (and I was later very pleased to see that two of the bottles I bought had been written up in the latest Wine Spectator as highly recommended, at 96 points)! I have to wait a while before drinking it, but I'm sure it will be worth it!

I really wanted to have lunch at the winery's restaurant, but it was closed for remodeling, so the winery recommended we dine at a nearby restaurant called Boccon di Vino. They had made reservations for us, and it turns out that they had an arrangement with the restaurant to showcase certain dishes with Poggio Antico wines, I think as a way to make up for the fact that the winery's own restaurant was closed. The views from the restaurant were stunning, and I wished it had been warmer so that we could have sat outside. Still too windy and overcast to be pleasant. The food was as wonderful as the view. We had a bottle of Poggio Antico brunello riserva, 2003 (incredible), shared two antipasti (a delicious chicken liver crostini, shown on the top left above) and an amazing crispy bread shell with bacon and cheese), then I had the gnocchi with cheese and truffle sauce (shown to the right) and Steve had a luscious papardelle with chianina sauce. (Chianina showed up a lot on menus in Tuscany. We found out later it is a breed of cow that is huge and white. Very tasty.)

After lunch, we went back to Montepulciano and did some more "exploring". We'd brought our brand-new iPad on the trip, and we thought that wi-fi would be plentiful, but we were sorely mistaken! Wi-fi is something of a rare delicacy in Italy, as it turns out, thanks to some onerous anti-terrorism laws restricting public access to networks! And 3G (cellular data) works well, but once your iPad 3G account runs dry, you must have internet access via wi-fi in order to add more! Suffice it to say, we found wi-fi in a computer store, and persuaded them to let us use it! (THEN, of course, after walking all over town and setting up a new 3G account, we found out that Locanda di San Francesco DOES have wi-fi. But they don't advertise it, you have to ask...)

After our adventure, we had our now-traditional drink at the wine bar at sunset then got ready for dinner. We had heard a lot about the restaurant, Le Logge del Vignola, and it did not disappoint. This place was special, from the decor, to the service and food; I'd definitely recommend this place for a birthday, anniversary, or romantic date night. We had the tasting menu with wine pairings here, which consisted of a deliciously smooth liver pate that was almost too beautiful to cut into, paired with a late harvest white, a cannoli with wonderful rich cingiale sauce paired with a Rosso di Montalcino, a very tender and tasty lamb chop with zucchini tart paired with a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and a chocolate cigar filled with mousse, with a side of cotton candy and a glass of rum (picture above). This meal was probably one of the most expensive of our trip, but well worth it!

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