Wineries & Restaurants in the Montalcino & Siena areas
My wife, I and a couple of friends are planning a trip to Italy over the Christmas break. We're going to start in Rome and drive up through Tuscany to Florence for NYE. Along the way we'll be spending two nights in Montalcino and two nights in Siena. We're looking for some feedback on places we've already read about but also any feedback if we're missing a must visit winery or restaurant.
Night One - Montalcino:
- We're going to get in around 5 or 6pm after a visit to the hot springs in Saturnia. We'll likely want to have a nice big dinner as we'll be spending the next day wine tasting. So far I'm inclined to try one of the following restaurants:
- Osteria Osticcio
- La Taverna at Banfi
- Il Leccio
The next day we'll be going wine tasting w/ a driver. For sure want to visit Poggio Antico and have lunch there. For the second winery thinking about Il Poggione, Costanti or Banfi. Anyone feedback either way? Do you guys know if these wineries are open that time of year? (I know Banfi is)
Night Two - Montalcino
- Looking for a later dinner and will likely eat at one of the above unless you guys think we're missing one on the must visit list
The next day we're off to Siena. For dinner I was dying to eat at Il Canto but it sounds like they're closed that time of year. We'll be eating dinner one night at Le Logge but am conflicted about the first night. If Il Canto is open we'll eat there but what about the following restaurants:
- La Taverna di San Giuseppe
- Osteria Ill Carroccio
- Osteria Castelvecchio
- Ristorante Malborghetto
In terms of wine tasting in the Siena area we are schedule to visit Brunelli already but wanted to add a second. Thinking Felsina, Isole e Olena, Castello Vicchiomaggio, Badia a Coltibuono or Castello di Brolio
Disclaimer! I write from Montalcino and manage a small winery there...and I worked for 7 years at Poggio Antico.. and used to own Il Leccio in its former incarnation so basically I can't say anything! I just thought I would add that a) I am sure PA receives over the Christmas holiday b) the restaurant is currently not open though I hope that they will have a new chef in place before December. I think you would be right to get your winery visits in place asap since smaller operations will be closed, particulary the weekend of 29-30 which is when it looks like you are planning to be in Montalcino. Based on the kind of place you are looking for, I would suggest incorporating IL SILENE, Loc. La Pescina (on Monte Amiata) while you are on the mountain. It is truly magnificent. Also, I am suprised to learn that the Brunelli family has vineyards near Siena. Are you sure you wouldn't be back in Montalcino?
I have been to Montalcino many times here are my thoughts - Dinner - a must is Il Pozzo in Sant Angelo in Colle - it is next to Il Leccio - have dined at both and prefer Il Pozzo - In Pienza is Latte di Luna and Il Rossellino both of which are very good.
Osteria Osticcio is ok but has become very pricey.
If you are staying in Siena - Felsina might be closer, Coltibuono is very nice BUT - Isole e Olena is a favorite of mine and the owners wife Marta is a wonderful woman who makes your visit a personal experience. If you go there try Osteria alla Piazza for lunch which is nearby
Winery - Poggio Antico is very nice and wines are good but reminds me Of California, prefer Ciacci Piccolomini and Uccelliera which are across the road from each other near the Sant Antimo Abbey . Wines are exceptional and have more of a homey type atmosphere.
BTW - I would definitely go to the Sant AntimoAbbey which is nearby - you will understand once you see it.
Castello Banfi is a big enterprise, so the tour may or may not suit depending on what you are looking for. The food was good the last time I was there (though that was a good few years ago).
Malborghetto is fantastic for the style of restaurant that it is - very carefully prepared and delicious traditional dishes. I haven't been to Il Canto, but it would be very different in style to Malborghetto. We had a marvellous lunch there this week - great food and great value including a gorgeous dish of spinach with cream and loads of fresh summer trulle for about five euro! Felsina is a great estate to visit and is near both Siena and Malborghetto. Isole e Olena is quite a drive away. Driving times in Chianti are much longer than they seem on a map - there isn't more than 100 yards of straight road so progress through the hills is slow (but amazing!)
If you do venture that far north, you could try a meal in the Albergaccio de Castellina on your way back - the food is a very refined traditional style with very vibrant flavours.
The restaurant at Brolio is very good - in a similar style to, but not in the same league as the Albergaccio.
Enjoy both your planning and the trip itself.
Thank you! Yeah I think I'll skip Banfi. Not really my thing. I live in San Francisco and sounds like it's similar to going to a big winery in Napa. I much prefer the smaller family run spots. When we were in Mendoza, Argentina our favorite places where the ones where we sat at the table with the wine maker by ourselves and spend 3 hours tasting and laughing. Sounds like we'll definitely do Felsina then in Siena. Maybe to lunch at Malborghetto if possible?? Here's what I'm thinking. Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for the TBD that would be great. We'll have a driver so we should be good there.
Day 1 - Montalcino
- Dinner: Enoteca Osteria Osticcio
Day 2 - Montalcino
- Winery 1: Poggio Antico
- Lunch: Poggio Antico
- Winery 2: TBD (something a little closer to Montalcino / Poggio)
- Dinner: TBD (maybe Il Leccio?)
Day 3 - Siena
- Lunch: What about the other restaurants above in Siena?
- Dinner: Arnolfo
Day 4 - Siena
- Winery 1: Felsina
- Lunch: Ristorante Malborghetto
- Winery 2: Brunelli
- Dinner: Osteria Le Logge
Day 5 - Driving to Florence
- Maybe stop at Albergaccio for lunch?
I haven't visisted this winery so can't say. The other two places I have visited in Montalcino were Barbi and Biondi Santi. Both are located just outside Montalcino and are run very traditionally. It's probably unlikely that the owner / winemaker will do a tour / tasting at any of the better known estates - they're used to wine tourism and are set up for it.
It's definately worth driving through Chianti Classico to get to Florence (and stopping at the Albergaccio for lunch). The Cantine in Greve has a modern automayted tasting system where you buy credits and use these to pour yourself tastes of various wines. There must be 80 avaiable to taste. You could do this on your way to Florence too.