Taste Montalcino with me Sept. 20 in Houston @ Vinology.

Above: a photo of mine from Montalcino, taken seven years ago (nearly to the day). Wine lovers and not, italophiles will tell you that the Orcia River Valley is — how to say this? — irresistibly delicious to the eyes.

Montalcino is where my turn as a wine lover began more than three decades ago. Well, actually, not Montalcino but Bagno Vignoni — the bath amidst the vines — just to the south of Montalcino on the Cassia, the ancient road that leads to Rome. That’s where it all started to come into focus for me.

A Hollywood friend (a composer of note and my Italian student) had lent me the keys to his apartment in Bagno Vignoni where to this day, a Renaissance-era thermal bath still sits in the center of the 14th-century village square.

Not long after arriving in this achingly beautiful Tuscan hamlet, the weary traveler was befriended by the town sommelier. And the latter proceeded to open many, many bottles for his newfound American friend.

At the time, Americans had hardly heard of Sassicaia or Ornellaia — two of the sommelier’s favorites. And only a handful of my compatriots knew the wines of Biondi Santi and Costanti (his top two Brunello) and Casanova dei Neri (he had served his mandatory time in the Italian military together with Giacomo). It was like he was predicting my future.

On Tuesday, September 20, I’ll be opening a flight of Montalcino wines for a small group of wine lovers and friends at Vinology.

You can imagine how geeked I am to get back to the “floor,” as we call it in the trade.

The $50 cost per person reflects the quality of the wines we’ll be tasting. And I can’t imagine we won’t be hanging out at the bar following the event as we catch up and visit over something groovy. Who knows? Tracie P might even make an appearance.

Please join me as we revisit Montalcino together. Click here to reserve. Thank you for the support.

(And for those of you who used to take part in our tastings at the unmentionable restaurant with the asshole chef, won’t it be grand to be reunited again? I hope you can join us.)

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