It takes five years of aging in a barrel and a bottle for it to get to your table, to elate your taste buds and inebriate your heart. It takes thousands of rain drops, grapes and warm sun rays, hundreds of steps in the vineyards, a skillful touch and intuition to make every bottle special. It lasts a few seconds in your mouth and goes on to last forever in your memories. All in one sip of happiness, a sip of Brunello!

It will not take long to guess that I am a true, honest to God fan of wine, not only as a close friend of blissful moments, but also as of a realistic metaphor of happiness. Like winemakers with their vineyard, we look after our lives, we try to protect, to grow at best of our abilities and finally produce the best fruits. But, is it not until we harvest and ferment the grapes, that we know if our wine will be successful or not.

As a travel consultant, I often help my clients to plan their trips to Italy and Tuscany. Most of them have dreamt of Tuscany through movies, books or simply pictures and are willing to shoot their own personal celluloid dreams using the same sets, local characters and vibes. Not even the most singular guide of Tuscany for the shameless hedonist (citing the guide by Ariela Bankier) can make your dreams into reality. You cannot predict the weather, the people you will meet, the tons of tiny hitches you will run into while driving, selecting places to visit or looking up at maps.

However, there are a few aspects that can undisputedly make a day a happy one in your trip to Tuscany, and you should not forget to include them in your bucket list. Take a restaurant with a view, a comfy table in the shade, a bottle of Brunello wine, a chatty sommelier and you will be over the moon.

It was a slightly overcast day by the end of September. The sun was shining among clouds baring its warm embrace. I was enjoying the view of Val d’Orcia, its rolling hills, whose ground nuances were already a scale of brown, following the earlier or later passing of tractors ploughing the soil. Montalcino’s clock tower bounced tolls of the bell in the air mixing it with the roars of trucks, full of buzzing clusters, passing on the main road, going back and forth from the vineyards to the cellars.

“It is harvest time and we finally collect the fruits of our hard work!” Laura said. “My husband is a native of Montalcino, and here the winemakers have a saying: “Wine is made in the vineyard and not in cellars.” Many people think that grape simply grows on the vine and depending on the age of it, the position, terroir and grape type will bring good or bad wine. Vineyard needs to be monitored carefully every day from foot to foliage. My husband can smell the vine and tell if there is something wrong with it… sometimes in the winter, when vineyards are wrapped in the fog and you can just see the top rows showing up as if amid this whitish sea, he runs out and walks all the way up and down the hill, as if he knew that something could go wrong: frost, animals… or he rushes to the cellars to check the level of fermentation… Never a moment to rest…” Laura vents, while slumping on the chair in front of me. “Except when you can sit down with a friend, relax and taste a glass of your Brunello”, I said, handing her a stem glass, in which a dark ruby dew is sloshing about.

Later at the winery, we met Marco and his skillful staff: piling up crates in order to pour grapes in the machine, un-stem and select by hand green berries before they quickly run into the press and then into pipes that will end their journey in the big tanks. Juice and skins will rest for at least one month or two, before a second fermentation starts.

Laura stops to chat with Marco about how harvest is going according to the quality of the fruit as I walk around the cellar building to the terrace overlooking the vineyards. I can’t help thinking of last summer, the lunch “al fresco”, enjoying tagliata, grilled zucchini and Brunello, while a friend played his harmonica. All of this can’t be reported in a guide booklet, but I will certainly make every effort to allow more people get the same flawless feeling. Goodbye vintage 2014, I will see you in 5 years’ time!


Restaurant Boccondivino
Il Palazzone Brunello winery