Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When Your Friend Has a Winery In Tuscany

I know this
When your friend tells you, 
"When, you're in Tuscany, get in touch with Mario. He's a good friend of mine with a winery near Montalcino,"
you do it. 
You meet him at Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana
an "Antica Cantina del Brunello" in the amazing town of Montalcino.
Montalcino, Italy
This town...
Perched on top of a hill, guarded by a castle overlooking the Tuscan valley;
rows and rows of vineyards stitched together across rolling green hills under a winter sky.

Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany, Italy
Ancient buildings line narrow streets in typical Italian grandeur, waiting for us to fall in love with it.
And we do.
Montalcino Clock tower

Streets of Montalcino, Italy
We manage to arrive at Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana early, despite getting lost along the way and driving in a huge, beautiful circle through wineries and dirt roads only to arrive back at the main street and the doors of this amazing cafe.
And this Cafe...
As with so many things in Italy, this amazing landmark has been in business for over a hundred years. 
Founded by Ferruccio Biondi Santi, inventor of the famed Brunello wine, and run by owners Alessandro, Franco and Nadia Pazzaglia - sommeliers and experts in the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine, the Super Tuscans, as well as Sassicaia and Masseto, and other excellent Tuscan wines and champagnes.

Red velvet seats, chandeliers, mirrors, espresso, cocktails, wine and desserts, oh my...
Of course we order two glasses of Brunello di Montalcino, and our sweet, sophisticated bartender brings us the customary complimentary appetizers that come with happy hour cocktails in Italy - One more thing to love about this place.
Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana, Montalcino Italy
Brunello di Montalcino
I slip out to buy a gift for our soon to be friend Mario, and walk the cold streets of Montalcino until I find the most amazing cheese store, where I choose a Pecorino Vinacciolo - An amazing pecorino cheese aged in grape seeds and wine making scraps of some sort which was obviously amazing. 

Pecorino Vinacciolo

And then Mario arrives.
A man who smiles from eyes that have seen the world.
A man who embodies the Italian way of life; caring for his land, producing amazing wines, and dare I say, is a fellow dickwolfer.
We chat until it's time to pick up his daughter from school, and
we take to the ancient streets of Montalcino again, this time being led by someone who's everyday life is lived here.
A schoolyard waits behind a wrought iron fence, about to be filled with squealing young Italian children running towards parents and grandparents.
And we are here, pulling back the curtain to catch a glimpse of a day in the life.
Montalcino School
 And then the doors open and Vivienne bursts into the courtyard, throws her hat at Mario and takes off like a wild little banshee.
She's all eyes and giggles, cold flushed cheeks and overflowing 8 year old precociousness.
And I instantly fall in love with her.

 Finally we make our way to the winery.
Terralsole is the winery and home of Mario Bollag and his wife and children, and WE are the lucky two heading there to get to know  them, tour the winery and have an amazing family dinner.

Terralsole Winery, Tuscany

Terralsole Winery, Tuscany

Terralsole Tasting Room

Terralsole Cellars

Cases of prized Brunello di Montalcino

Terralsole Wine Cellar

This is where the magic happens

After a tour, a bottle of bubbles and two bottles of wine are opened, we sit at the dinner table and talk story about life in Italy, life in Hawaii, wine making, relationship making and children. Mario makes dinner while Vivienne shows me how she makes perfume out of rosemary and writes one of her poems in my journal which she translates as:

"When winter comes
you put on wool
and you go outside
when you see the snowflakes on your eyelashes
you discover the beauty"
The wine and the dinner are as sweet and robust as this family, this winery and this night;
and just like Vivienne's poem:
"When you see it, you discover it's beauty."

Find out more information about Terralsole Winery 
Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana at:

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