As I mention all the time, one of the things I love about Italy is the loyalty of the people here. Pino has been my wine guide for the 9 years I have been coming to this region. Pino is now 74 years old and going strong. He is extremely knowledgeable about the area, the geology, the history, and of course the wine!
We met Pino at the little coffee spot and due to lack of space on his van we also took one car. We proceeded over the hill from the Niccone Valley and dropped down into Tuscany and on to our first stop Montepulciano. Montepulciano is home to the Vino Nobile. The town of Montepulciano is stunning – set high on a hilltop with church steeples reaching for the sky all surrounded by rolling hills draped in vineyards. It is a beautiful place and definitely a great stop on any trip to Italy.
Pino gave a us a nice tour of the city and two amazing cellars. We stopped at the coppersmith who had just completed the finial for the duomo in Siena that we would see later in the week, and we worked in some shopping. Of course with a little wine tasting mixed in our day was into full swing.
With our departure from Montepulciano we were on our way to Pienza home of the pecorino cheese. We stopped for a nice lunch – same place as our previous 9 tours with the same person cooking and the same waiter and waitress! We enjoyed a nice salad and some melted pecorino cheese and ham with tartufo oil. Delicious. A caffe’ and we were set for a quick walk through town and then off to our last stop Montalcino and home of the Brunello.
Montalcino is a quieter town and seems to be even more off the beaten path. We were running out of time in our day as we had an 8pm reservation for dinner at Mimmi’s back in Mercantale and we were about 1-1/2 hours away here in Montalcino. Pino led us to the Enoteca di Piazza which is an amazing wine tasting store in the center of town. Here we tried the different Brunello’s including the number 1 ranked Casanova di Neri as ranked by Wine Spectator. Fabulous introduction and explanation given to us by Nicolo.
With a couple more tastings completed and enjoyed we were off on our return home to the Niccone Valley and Mimmi’s. With our goodbyes to Pino it was time for dinner! Mimmi’s is always one of everyone’s favorites. A 9 course meal of country food served country style of course by the same people who have been serving us for years, all around a big community table in a room with people always from all over the world – again out in the middle of nowhere.
We started with two different crostinis then onto three different pasta dishes; linguini with pesto, lasagna, and then cannelloni. We then proceeded onto three different roasted meats, turkey, roast beef and roast pork. All spectacular and all accompanied by local roasted vegetables. Finally, dessert included tiramisu and a caffe flan. All the way through the are refilling the pitchers with vino rosso.
Dinner always ends with people singing and of course anyone who knows me this is right up my alley! From Hey Jude to Sweet Caroline to Louis Armstrong and the BeeGees we had the room going! It is always fun and another fabulous meal!