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“A highlight of Italy trip- Tuscan wine, gourmet food and a beautiful setting”
Review of Avignonesi

Avignonesi
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Come visit Avignonesi, where our motto is "terroir speaks; we listen." Visit our cellars, taste our wines, talk to our people, learn about the philosophy behind our winemaking. Please contact us by email with any questions. Reservations are necessary for tours but not to taste our wines and make your purchases in our Cellar Door!
Miami
Level 6 Contributor
326 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“A highlight of Italy trip- Tuscan wine, gourmet food and a beautiful setting”
Reviewed 1 June 2014

I reserved this Wine Tour and Lunch at Avignonesi in Montepulciano before leaving for Italy, based on reviews on Tripadvisor. I'm very glad I did, since it was a highlight of my trip and the lunch one of the best meals I ate. It began at noon, but we arrived early, so walked around the grounds, checked in and offered a glass of prosecco. That's the way to start a tour! Our group left at noon for the tour, where our tour guide Valentina (who speaks 5 languages) explained to us about the experimental methods Avignonesi employeed to arrive at the organic (tending towards biodynamic) methods used to grow their grapes. Some of it (burying a cow's horn filled with quartz) sounds like New Age hokum pokum, but you can't argue with the winery's results with 98 Wine Spectator points on their wines. After visiting the fields outside, where Valentina clearly and confidently explained the growing process, we visited cellars to see where the wine is kept before it is bottled and the cellar where Vin Santo is aged. After the 45 minute tour, we were ushered into a lovely room with glass doors that overlooked the Tuscan valley. Each group had it's own, white table clothed table, and we then enjoyed a four course lunch. It began with a delicious amuse bouche- pecorino cheese, with cherry tomatoes and fava beans in olive oil (with a chardonnay) and ended with a plate of pairings to go with the delicious (and expensive) Vin Santo, the typical dessert wine of Tuscany. The waiter explained to try each item (sweet or salty) with the Vin Santo and see which you enjoy. After three hours, my 25 year old son was getting antsy and we had another winery to visit, so we left. It was a rather expensive tour, but well worth it. I believe you can come just for lunch, as well. Exquisite food in a beautiful setting, delicious wine and attentive staff.

Visited May 2014
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1 Thank Glee47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ruckersville, VA
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Excellent Tour - Wonderful Lunch”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

The tour at this winery is different than other winery tours that I've been on because the methods used here are different. The English-speaking tour guide, Valentina, explained the experimental growing methods and the reasoning behind the methods. The fermentation methods were slightly different than I'd seen prior to this tour. The old buildings and architecture were just as interesting to see as the wine-making equipment.

The lunch that we paid for along with the tour was well worth the price paid. Each of the three courses offered three choices, so that every person in our party of nine found dishes that they enjoyed. Each course came with a choice of wines. The highlight was the chance to try the Vin Santo! The setting for lunch was an outdoor terrace with a stunning view of the countryside.

If you have the money and the time to spend, I highly recommend this winery.

Visited May 2014
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Thank cbeeperson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hartland, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Avignonesi Tour and Lunch”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

After reading other TripAdvisor reviews we chose Avignonesi for a vineyard/winery tour. Together with friends of ours we thoroughly enjoyed the Wine Lovers Lunch and Tour. An outstanding and educational vineyard and winery tour where we learned about their biodynamic approach was capped off by an awesome gourmet lunch. The Avignonesi people were gracious and friendly. The vineyard and grounds in the Montepulciano and Cortano region are lovely. It was hard to drive away and we all agreed we're coming back for more.

Visited May 2014
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1 Thank Will J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Exquisite experience...”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

As an avid wine tourist, my undisputed favourite 'New World' destinations are the Margaret River (Western Australia), Central Otago Valley (New Zealand) and Sonoma County (out of Healdsburg, U.S.A) – in all these places you can spend quality time in some of the world’s best wineries enjoying great food and wine in a relaxed semi-private environment, and I was pleased to find a similar opportunity available in Chianti at Avignonesi…

Different to the mass wine tourism that we experienced at Castello di Verrazzano, this felt boutique, high end and individualized. As it should be for almost twice the price...

We opted for the midday ‘Winelovers Lunch’, which was an excellent way to see the winery, experience the best of the Avignonesi wines, and indulge in a fantastic lunch experience. Even at 95 Euros it borders on being incredible value…

The tour starts with the vineyards – an educational insight into the world of biodynamic (dare I say Organic?) wine growing, which produces far superior grapes and wines than traditional farming methods – this is just one of the things that sets Avignonesi apart from their peers; very few producers bury bull horns full of manure in fermenting paddocks to produce biologically robust soil that acts as an anti-bacterial / anti-fungal / anti-pesticidal super fertilizer for vine health! Ain’t no fish gut purifiers here…

The tour of their Vin Santo cellars is further testament to the love and care that goes into making some of the world’s best dessert wines – although they are way better than that tame description. Each 375ml bottle takes 9kg of fruit to make; each 45 litre barrel evaporates by half to produce only 22 litres over a 10 year cellaring cycle, and the result – as one of my esteemed fellow TA writers observed – is like drinking the best Cognac you can imagine, and then some. That explains the stratospheric prices for the Vin Santo bottles, and why the rare Red Vin Santo is already sold out despite its 210 Euro pricetag for a half bottle.

Stephania, our guide, was really engaging and obviously passionate about the winery and its mission, and it was inspiring to see how energized she was during this tour – a tour that she must run every day during the high season. I can only imagine that working at Avignonesi is akin to being part of a privileged family that can afford to gloat a bit at the expense of their poor cousins elsewhere in the land…

Tour over, it’s time for the restaurant experience – which is individualized and carefully managed. There are no more than 18 people per tour, and the midday overflow simply means an additional tour at 11.30, which is also restricted, so come lunchtime there are never more than 30 (35 max) diners enjoying the expansive views from the semi-private dining room which is in a separate building from the reception and cellars.

Although the main property buildings are eclectic and rustic - bordering on scruffy and unkempt - the dining room is pleasantly styled and contemporarily plain without being boring. It's feels like the designers crafted a space that maximised comfort but without distraction. Plain, simple and elegant is the best way to describe it...

Each couple or party have their own table, and the menu is arranged as a 3 course from which you choose one of 3 starters, one of 3 main courses and a dessert or cheese. My strong recommendation is to go for the ‘Vin Santo Pairing’ for dessert which is a small amuse bouche selection of 7 different sweet and savoury tidbits to accompany the Vin Santo.

To start with, you’ll be welcomed with the estate Chardonnay to accompany your ‘chefs welcome’ (in our case fried elderflower leaves) – which is an excellent drop – then have a choice of 2 reds (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Desiderio Cortona Merlot) with your starter, a choice of 2 reds with your main (Grifi Toscana or ‘50/50’ IGT with Sangiovese from Avignonesi and Merlot from matey next door), and then the Vin Santo(s) with dessert. Coffee is also included.

The great thing here is that, even though you’re asked to choose which wine you want to try with your starter / main etc, the servers will return halfway through or at the end of your course and offer you a full glass of the other option – this way you can try all 7 wines, including both the White and Red Vin Santo, which are hypnotic and mesmerizingly delicious. Amazing in fact - and even served in cognac glasses!

It almost goes without saying that the food here is spectacular – everything we had was top notch; especially the beef cheeks for main course which were utterly perfect. Portions are exactly right to satisfy everyone from the picky eater to the hungry horse. Nobody leaves here unsatiated…

Make no mistake, this is a high end wine and dine experience, not a feeding frenzy at the trough like Castello di Verrazzano – and that suited us really well. Although not averse to pigging out at the trough, a measured and gracious winery lunch was exactly what we wanted so we could spend a good chunk of the afternoon exploring Montalcino and actually remember some of it!

Exquisite - yes, that's the right word to describe this experience...

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Johnlisa27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newport Beach, California
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great and Beautiful”
Reviewed 16 May 2014 via mobile

I would highly recommend this place for amazing wine! We found this winery/vineyard via Trip Advisor and we had a blast. Their wine was great and the entire staff was very knowledgable.

Helpful?
Thank Matt P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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