After we returned to Montalcino, we walked over to the café next to the restaurant Porto al Cassero (think that’s the name), and decided to share a bottle of wine and some snacks. It took Chris a moment to communicate to them what we wanted, and at first the girl seemed a bit snippy as we struggled, but when they didn’t have the wine we originally wanted in the year we wanted (2001), Chris chose another, from a smaller producer, in 2001, she seemed to warm to us (who knows maybe she liked the producer we chose). Anyway, they brought our wine, and a plate of salami and cheese on which we snacked.
Eventually returned, and asked in Italian, if we would like to try some different Brunellos from some smaller producers from some different geographic zones around the area – of course we agreed! She brought a glass each of four different brunellos, all from 2003, and we passed them around, noting the differences. Then she returned again, asking if any of us spoke Italian, to which I replied a little. She spoke slowly and clearly to me, using their wine list as a guide, explaining about the smaller producers in the area, and how, because they are small, and aren’t exported to other countries, their wines are not as well known, nor marked up as much but still good wines. It was very interesting and I was glad I was able to understand her. Eventually though it was time to move on, and we thanked them for our education (they didn’t charge us for the tastings), knowing we’d be returning there.
Next, we did a bit of our own “passegiatta” but you all should know where our focus lies and it wasn’t long before we ended up at another wine store just off the piazza (Enotecca di Piazza I believe). Great selection and at least one of the sales girls spoke English, and after asking a few questions, she showed us where they had another location at which we could try 75 different wines from Tuscany.
We made our way over there, stopping at a ceramic store along the way where Andy tried to purchase a ceramic chandelier, thinking it was a bowl in which he could serve chips and dip. :D. We’re returning there though Wednesday, because they did have a wine canister I want.
The other location of the wine store, reminded me of Union Square wines. They have tons of different types, hooked up to machines. You get a card, and put it in the machine and press a button, selecting which wine you like, the card makes a tally, as each grouping of wine can have a different price. At the end, they know what to charge you based upon what is on your card.
Andy and Chris partook in the tasting but Katy and I just plopped on a couple of stools, taking sips of wines they thought particularly interesting. At the end, Andrew ended up buying a Brunello Reserva from 1997 (can’t remember the producer), and one from Pian Macina (I think), which are funky because they only make 2500 a year, don’t export, and each bottle is numbered (like a work of art). We may go back for more of these because it’s such an interesting concept.