The anticipation of leaving for this adventure kept me awake for weeks. Knowing that I was going to be sleeping in what once used to be the lookout tower for the town of Pornello in the hills of Umbria had me fantasizing about doing exactly what Diane Lane did in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I know you know what I'm talking about!
We used our converted 500-year-old tower as a home base for our daily trips to other well-known wine towns to explore, eat and mostly drink our way into a beautiful euphoria.
We also managed to have chefs come to our temporary home and give us authentic Italian cooking lessons while we drank Brunellos and local Chiantis. Another evening we had professional chefs make us dinner while we sat on our patio drinking our wonderful finds of the day.
Here is the link to our amazing home in Pornello.
Mike and I thought it would be funny to print out pillowcases of our faces so that everyone would have to sleep on us.
Our first road trip was to the medieval hill town ofMontepulciano. Home of the very famous and delicious Vino Nobile. We spent the afternoon trekking up the steep cobbled lanes and wondering into the first of many enotecas (wine shops) and trying not to spend all our money in the first wine or cheese shops we stopped into.
Montalcino was our second destination. After a long morning of driving along windy roads and fighting off car sickness on an empty stomach, we made it hungry and grouchy. Our first priority.... FOOD and wine of course.
Our day here brought us an incredibly fond memory for all of us. We came upon a restaurant, Ristorante San Giorgio that had stacks of wine case ready for offload in front of it and it called our names. We were seated and Dave took the wine menu and happened to pick a wine that would leave an indelible memory for us.
This was the first time we were treated to a wine that was so special that the waiter introduced us to "seasoning" the glasses before we drank out of them. At first, we thought "Why is he wasting the wine!!!". He would take a small amount of the wine, pour it into a glass, swirl it around and pour it into the next glass. This gets rid of any dust and seasons the glass for the wine so that your first smell and sip is only of what is in the bottle.
This was the wine that we opened and shared during our wedding ceremony.
My sister set up a cooking class for us one day at our Villa through Umbriacooks4U. Tita and Nonie were our hosts and were two ball busting, no nonsense, teachers who had us laughing all day long. They even had my no water boiling husband in there "cheffing" it up.
After an afternoon spent in the kitchen, throwing flour on each other and being scolded for drinking Brunello before 8 pm, we sat down alfresco style to our delicious creations.
Another memorable day was getting lost is a less-traveled area of Montalcino. We had an appointment at the Collosorbo Winery and no clue as to where we were. We stopped at this beautiful old building with a sign that we were now familiar with, enoteca.
This is the Winery Tenuta Di Sesta. We asked if we could taste some of their wines while we waited for Dave to ask for directions next door. This is a family-owned and run winery and our favorite tasting experience while in Italy. We sat at an old table covered in a 50s style plastic table cloth covered in blue flowers in a cold storage room. This is where my husband said, "If all wines tasted like this I would drink it every day." Everything we tasted was amazing and when they stopped the tastings we asked for more. The man serving us said all they had left were their reserved wines and we would have to buy a bottle to try it. In walks Dave "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's buy it!" We bought a bottle of their 2007 Reserva Brunello and BAMB...... heaven! We bought all that they had left and had it shipped home. Now every once in a while one of us will bust out a bottle on a special evening and just watch the reaction on everyone's face.
We never got to the Collosorbo Winery.
The medieval town of Cortona is like a fairy tale land for adults. No rides here just steep cobbled streets leading to colorful passageways, enotecas, coffee shops, and antique stores.
Our Italy trip ended with a crazy drive to Florence with lots of construction detours and tickets for crossing an invisible city line in a tourist vehicle.