I've recently been asked what I thought about visiting Montalcino in November.
Well, I just love Montalcino in November!! People here start feeling that the busy season is over and begin to relax. There are not as many tourists around so it's much quieter, but there's still a lot going on in the area, especially during the weekends.
November is the time for the olive harvest. Have you ever tasted the extra virgin olive oil when it's just been freshly pressed? Such a concentration of flavours, it's absolutely amazing.
To celebrate the new crop of the "liquid gold" - as the ancients used to call it - there's a festival in Montisi the first weekend of November.
Do you like black truffle? In the nearby San Giovanni d'Asso there's a truffle festival on the second and third weekend of November. And should you like to experience a fun day out, truffle hunts can also be arranged.
But if you are a Brunello lover you cannot miss the Benvenuto Brunello, the most important event of the year here in Montalcino. That's when the wineries present the new vintage.
An extraordinary preview for Italy and abroad while waiting for the next debut on the market. In the first days of the big event the tastings are reserved for the press and sector operators, but the last 3 days are open to the wine lovers as well.
Said this, now think that all the restaurants in Montalcino will be offering a selection of local dishes with all the seasonal products: bruschetta with fresh extra virgin olive oil, fresh pasta with black truffle and then fresh mushrooms and chestnuts from the nearby Monte Amiata and much more.
Last but not least, November is also the season of the foliage: the vineyards and some trees get coloured in all the different shades from red to orange to yellow. Such an aesthetic vision! If you like hiking (like me) or cycling, to do so immerses you in such an idyllic scenery it's just breathtaking.. for me it's like being in a small piece of heaven on Earth!