We came across E Lucevan Le Stelle a few years ago when visiting Montepulciano for the first time. It is named after a line from a Puccini opera which means and the stars shone brightly. The view, the terrace and the people - not to mention the excellent wine, are what keep us coming back. It is the kind of place you can stop for a glass of wine, end up talking to the table next to you and end up getting invited to a harvesting at a near by winery - or just sit, sip and enjoy the view. In our case, a glass of wine lead to two, then dinner - which was simple and outstanding, topped off by Limoncello of course (don't drink too much of that - I am still nursing a hangover from 5 years ago). And if you like the wine you are drinking, you can buy one (or 5) to take home at a discount. It is most spectacular at sunset. Frankly it is the kind of place we need in Canada.
This visit, one of the owners Cinzia invited us to a blind tasting by 10 wine producers of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG to sample the new 2011 releases.
Ten numbered bottles at the bar, a score sheet and a room full of producers and wine lovers. There was nothing formal about this tasting - it was a chance to talk with the producers and for people like Cinzia, who owns the bar, she gets to know what kinds of wine appeal the most.
I was completely intimidated until Cinzia told me that only one in ten producers can identify their own wine, let alone all 10. Vittorio Bagnasco, who produces Lamberto, blamed the fact he had a cold. Great excuse, I told him.
They all come with stories.
Vittorio has been producing wines at Lamberto for 10 years. Before that he was a documentary cameraman and Director of Photography for feature films when he decided to take his love of wine one brave step further.
Dr. Alberto Brini of Il Conventino Wines - had just that day made a bid to the LCBO to get his organic wines into their stores. He looked about 25 and like all of the producers, utterly charming. His wine was ready before the label.
And Cinzia, the event organizer - I found out that night, was a marine engineer before she toasted a new career and opened up the wine bar and B & B.
And while I only managed to match one wine with its proper label. It was a spectacular evening - that I will never forget. That's one of the reasons my husband and I make the wine bar a must whenever we are lucky enough to visit Tuscany.
If you want to know the wines that came out on top at the tasting - along with photos of that evening- check out my blog at
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