If you're planning your ideal Tuscan wine holiday, make sure you check out Carla Capalbo's guide to the must visit spots in Montalcino and the surrounding area.
Montalcino: Where to eat & drink
Further south and a little east from Siena in Montalcino, the wine bar favoured by appassionati and cult producers is Osteria Osticcio. You can eat as you sample wines from host Tullio’s huge collection (www.osticcio.it). Or try the dining rooms of Hotel Il Giglio, where chef Anna Maria Pinzi cooks with loving care, pairing her food with top local wines. Il Giglio is also by far the nicest place in town to stay (www.gigliohotel.com).
Near Pienza, heading east from Montalcino towards Montepulciano, Dopolavoro La Foce is a family-run restaurant in the grounds of the villa owned by writer Iris Origo. You can also book to visit La Foce’s famous gardens; mains from €14 (www.dopolavorolafoce.it).
Among the many wine producers in the Montalcino region, highlights include Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, located close to the medieval village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. The stunning terrace there is an ideal place on a sunny day to taste Brunello wines alongside cheese and salumi following a visit to the cellars (www.ciaccipiccolomini.com).
In the nearby comune of Castiglione d’Orcia, biodynamic producer Podere Forte’s Osteria Perillà has clean, modern food and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for summer evenings (www.osteriaperilla.it).
Montalcino: Where to sleep
In the countryside near Montalcino there are many wonderful places to stay: on the imposing estate of producer Argiano, Posta l’Orciaia is a gorgeous agriturismo; from €135 (www.postalorciaia.it). In the village of Bagno Vignoni, near the hot spring pool made famous by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia, Podere Santa Caterina is an authentic country villa with rooms, from €100, or to hire for private dinners and weddings, run by a wine-friendly noble family (www.facebook.com/PodereSantaCaterina).
Outside San Giovanni d’Asso, Relais Borgo Lucignanello offers comfort, style and a memorable infinity pool; from €180 (www.borgolucignanello.com). And up on Mount Amiata, Italy’s second highest volcanic peak, the ancient Castello di Potentino produces characterful wines and offers B&B with a personal touch; from €130 (www.potentino.com).