1 Jul

Where do I begin? Perhaps with some history… In 1999, while in Firenze, we first learned about Brunello wine, a wine produced in the Montalcino region and made of 100% Sangiovese grape, with strict laws related to its aging. We purchased a few bottles and brought them to our friends, the Feo’s, who had rented a villa in Massa Lubrense near Sorrento. We liked the wine so much that upon return to the states, we ordered several cases. Getting the wine through customs is a story of its own, as we did not know wine couldn’t be shipped to Texas. But persistence paid off…we finally rescued the wine from customs, and if you were at our house in Austin, you may have had a chance to enjoy some Pietranera with us. Several years later, try as we might, we could never find anything about Pietranera online or elsewhere.

Fast forward to 2007. On a trip to Italy for Benita’s graduation, we went on a tour of Poggio Antico, a Brunello winery. The wine was wonderful and the factory amazingly modern. (I posted a brief story about our lunch there and want to mention again that their Brunello is available in the U.S. and it’s wonderful.) But back to 2007….at the Poggio winery, Len was given a large brochure that listed all the Brunello wineries as well as a year by year star rating of Brunello wines. Of the 200 wineries listed, however, there was no Pietranera. We kept asking, but no one knew of them. “There are many wineries,” we were told.

Finally, something caught Len’s eye…Pietranera was part of a group called Tenuta Friggiali…he had found it! Once back in the U.S., he googled the name and voila, their website. How fun it would be to visit it someday and enjoy another bottle of Pietranera Brunello. Was it the best wine ever or perhaps just so special to us as it was our introduction to Brunello and the area of Montalcino. It didn’t really matter…we had found them after all these years and visiting their winery was on our bucket list.

Fast, fast forward to June, 2011. We drove through curvy hills and valleys of olive trees, vineyards, and fields of wheat and sunflowers to the beautiful town of Montalcino, home of Brunello wine. We had an appointment with Emanuela at Friggiali/Pietranera for  a tour and wine tasting and drove with the anticipation of two kids going to their favorite amusement park. We had written and asked to spend the night as we wanted to enjoy the evening in Montalcino.

Emanuela was patiently waiting for us, as we got a little lost, and she graciously showed us our room. Our room was in a house on the property, but since no one else was staying there, she said it was basically ours to use. We learned that they only rent rooms on an exception basis, and we were certainly honored to be an exception.

Our tour would begin when we returned from lunch (they don’t have eating facilities), and would end with a wine tasting in “our” villa. Imagine, after all these years, we would be having a Pietranera wine tasting in our own villa!

Still to come: The Tour, The Tasting, The Villa, Dinner on the Hill, and a most unexpected time with The Owner.  For now, enjoy some pictures of the setting and our villa!



One Response to “Montalcino”

  1. Mike July 1, 2011 at 3:18 PM #

    I had a similar experience in Excelsior, Minnesota a few years back when I rented a room at a B&B on Water Street in the middle of town. It was on old Victorian mansion that had been restored. Turns out I was the only renter for the week, and the owners lived in another town and only came by on the weekends. Had the entire home to myself for five days in the middle of July on Lake Minnetonka. It was something I’ll never forget, as I’m sure you won’t.

    Posted several comments last night, but looks like only one got through(?) Hopefully this one gets through. I don’t know what I did wrong. Love the photos!

    PS: One of my comments yesterday was to let you know Anne is buying the Fiat. Dad–please don’t talk her out of it!


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