Once upon a time in Montisi…

Montisi from above.

A few years back I had the good fortune to visit the beautiful Tuscan hamlet of Montisi with my parents and some of their best friends that I grew up with like a second family. Located in what I consider the best wine region in the world, the town has some of the best food and wine I have ever experienced. The town is about one street long, but the people are so kind and I hope that they will be able to restart with tourism once travel is allowed again.

We stayed in Villa Maddalena, which is an impressive villa with views of the Tuscan hills, a pool, and herb, vegetable and fruit gardens. I remember it felt like a medieval paradise, with impressive wooden furniture and lots of hallways and little nooks for reading or just listening to the birds.

By far the coolest thing about the property was that it happened to be on top of where the jousters from the quartiere held their annual feast before la giostra – the town’s jousting tournament – began. My mom and I heard some excitement and as curious being we ventured down and found a secret entry to the banquet hall. Instead of asking us to leave, we were obligated to stay and celebrate, toasting to the young rider who would be performing in the event. It was like being in medieval times for real and I will never forget it. I’m so glad I got to share that experience with my mom, too. She even started speaking Italian after a few bicchiere di vino.

La Giostra

And speaking of vino. The reason I am writing about this beautiful little hamlet is that our tour guide and sommelier during the entire trip, Antonella, was fantastic. She and her husband run a little wine shop in the town, and of course this being peak tourism season with little people passing through, they are doing their best to stay positive and continue supplying excellent wines to their customers and clients.

Antonella is great because although it is unlikely (although I hope not) that we’ll get to go back to Montisi, she remains in touch and continues to send us messages about what is going on in town. She started a new project to teach people about wine, and I wanted to share it here. If you know me, you know I love wine, and I’m thankful for all the amazing lessons I learned while living in Tuscany.

Antonella has started a video series giving online classes about wine, and I’ve started watching them. At least while I’m sitting at home I can learn something while I imbibe! You can see the trailer to her video, here. To learn more about the classes, send an e-mail to antonella.piredda@live.it and she can let you know how it works. She’s also set up a webpage. It is important to note that 50% of all proceeds Antonella receives will be given to local charities. And apart from wine, she can hook you up with olive oil, cheese, truffles, and even local art. Get in touch with her and help Montisi survive!

Use this time to learn about some amazing wines and come out on the other side impressing everyone!

People are doing some pretty cool things during this time, and I’m enjoying seeing the creativity. How are you spending your lock-down time?

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