We were on a mission to find the best Brunnelo wine in the region. After all, this is why we chose this part of Tuscany. And we were excited about spending our second day in Montalcino, driving the countryside, visiting nearby vineyards.
We began by visiting Fattoria dei Barbi because it was listed on the map of vineyards, and it was nearby. After being herded through the process with a dozen other tourists, we were given a small tasting of their offerings. Then were set off to fend for ourselves. Not impressed. Way too commercial. But as we were leaving Barbi, we noticed a small sign with an arrow pointing away from the main road. We looked at each other, then made the turn. And we are so glad we did. We hit the jackpot with……
San Polino is not a large vineyard. But it was our favorite by a long shot. We discovered this little gem just like you hear you can, by rooting around the back roads, going down long driveways, until we came upon this rustic wonderland.
How incredible to have the vintner come out to greet you when you are perfect strangers. Katia is from England. Her husband is Italian. Together they farm the land and run the winery. Katia, very generously, gave us a full tour of the winery which was pristine. And then invited us to partake of several of her wines. As we sat basking in the lovely Tuscan sun of the May afternoon, we admired the lovely pergola over our heads. Then Katia broke out the prize: her organic virgin olive oil. And homemade bread straight from the rustic oven. Heavenly and nutty in flavor, it clinched the deal. Jack immediately began negotiations to ship both oil and wine, home. We played with the little black and white dog who kept a keen eye on the chickens as they rooted around for feed. After promising to keep in touch, and being offered lodging when we returned, we reluctantly took our leave. What a great find.
Then we stopped at Banfi which is the largest and most well-known of the important wineries of the area.
This winery is vast and sophisticated. Very expensive and seemed too aloof to us. What a gorgeous and intimidating drive lined with majestic Tuscan pine trees. We never saw a soul. We nosed around a bit and moved on.
All in all, our day touring the countryside and vineyards was a success. Mostly because we discovered our little diamond in the rough at San Polino.