Friday, April 15, 2016

Day 8: Marvelous Montechiari

"Wine is the most healthful and hygienic of beverages. "                       -----Louis Pasteur
The family has lived on the property for 800 years and in this house for 200 years. It used to be a customs house.
Early in the year, Balboa Winery, a family owned boutique winery out of Walla Walla,  Washington, wrote Paul an email stating they were conducting a wine tasting tour in Tuscany.  This blew Paul's cork completely and he signed us up. He even bought me airfare!! That's how thrilled he was. So he's been looking forward to the last three days of it in which we visit boutique family wineries here.  And this is sort of the crown jewel, Montechiari.

The owners, Moreno  and Donna Catherine are in their 70 and so sweet, informative and full of enthusiasm!

They gave us a great tour and you can tell this is a hands on, handmade operation.  Grapes are organically grown, hand harvested and inspected, fermented in French Oak and steel, and bottled and distributed on the property. Moreno is the winemaker and he guided us through every area of the winery set in the gorgeous foothills at about 200 meters above sea level. The breezes keep the vines cool year round.
Fermentation  in steel and oak

This Pinot Noir prosecco named after the winemakers wife is outstanding. 
After touring the facility,  we were served a light lunch and generous samples of their wines: prosecco, Pinot noir, samgiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. There wasn't an average wine in the lot. They were all crazy  good. We liked them so much, we are shipping some home. There is a distributor  in Chicago that handles a few bottles as well. This winery produces only 9000 cases. We saw dozens of magnums in the distributing house and Moreno told us those were special orders for China  and Isuzu.

our appetizing lunch
I have to say this was one of the best winery tours ever and I highly recommend  it to travelers in Tuscany.  The owners were so full of life and love and somehow,  they put it into the wine, too.

Paul at winery Montechiari

We really had a great tour. From there it was back to the villa, out for a walk and a dinner!, (what a surprise. Pasta & pizza pulverizer Paul Parris  offers no complaints. )

"I love France. But I am in love with Italy. "
                             -----Robin Locker Lacey

PAUL'S Ponderings:  The tour of Montechiari was probably the best winery tour I've had over the years.   The operation is very old school as far as attention to detail goes (mostly by hand where it really counts, like shaking the bottles), but using modern equipment where appropriate.   The owners clearly love what they do as well and the wines reflect their care and attention to detail.   I can't wait to taste them again when we get a shipment at home.   

We've been blessed with a string of lucky days weather-wise as well and this one was no exception -- once again around 65-70 degrees and sunny with a bit of a breeze.   Sadly tomorrow is our last day in the Lucca area, but we've accumulated a great set of memories while here!

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