Monday, 23 November 2015

Montepulciano: A Most Noble Quest for Vino

Montepulciano, Italy (Montepulciano, Italia)
In our search for warmer and less thunderstormy climates, we set a course for Tuscany. Our first stop was the hilltop town of Montepulciano, where Tuscan views meet Tuscan wine. 
Lonely Planet had whined that the walk to the top of the town was incredibly steep and laborious, so we considered catching a shuttle bus but ultimately decided to sweat it out. 
The walk turned out to be barely steep at all! At least, not more so than any other European hilltown. For shame, LP, for shame. The streets were full of leather goods on display, as well as a few more unusual sights: old shoes with cacti growing out of them and a sweet Egyptian style door knocker. 
Wine shops were even more prevalent than leather shops! The town's specialty is Vino Nobile, and we sampled a free taster at Cantine Contucci. It wasn't really to our tastes, so we skipped buying some (it was quite expensive for our budget as well), and explored the dungeons, i.e. wine cellars. 
Once we reached the top, we caught sight of the unfinished duomo, built in the sixteenth century.
It resided on a palazzo filled with breeders and their noise-pollutant offspring, whom I found odious, so we moved on to the next wine cellar. 
The Cantina del Redi not only had a (more dimly lit) dungeon full of wine barrels, but also boasted a cave from the Etruscan times. It didn't look particularly old, perhaps because it had been occupied by vintners for many centuries. 
From here, the view out over the Tuscan hills was beautiful. I imagine it's a bit greener in summer before the crops are harvested, and warmer too! But with a jacket all was well. 
It was only later that we found a reasonably priced Vino Nobile at a Tuscan supermarket, and were able to appreciate its strong aroma over aperitif. 

Today's post was almost called: Prickly Footwear for the Hilltop Wine Climb