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I have business in the UK this week and decided to fly to Italy for the weekend and part of next week. I will be staying at Podere La Casa on the Caparzo estate. Appointments with Fuligni, Ciacci Piccolomini and Barici. Dinner at the Osteria di Passignano one night and Ristorante Poggio Antico another.

Any other restaurant recommendations?
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Go to Osteria La Crocina at the Piombaia estate, just south of Montalcino. Great cinghiale dishes, and the wine list is very reasonably priced. The stems provided when you order Brunello are *massive*! Also, they have quite possibly the best tiramisu I've ever had. Coming from an Italian, that's a pretty big compliment.

As otis about the place - I sent him there as he was in the area a few days after me this past spring.

Alvaros, who runs the front of house is awesome. When I get home, I'll grab the phone number for you.
I had another very good trip to Montalcino. First time there during the harvest. Met with Andrea Costanti and Roberto Fuligni. Costanti harvested from Sept. 20-23 and Fuligni began on the 24th and finished on the 30th. Both allowed me to taste the fermenting wine. Costanti had 2 vats that had about 2% residual sugar left and 2 that were showing zero. Fuligni was just starting so the sugars were higher. The wines are very dark (both commented that the color was excellent and evident after the first pump over) and is was very interesting to taste potential BdM that has had no contact with any wood. The wine was literally days old.

Andrea allowed me to taste his '01 Riserva. All I can say is buy all you can on release. This is truly a great wine. We compared the normale to the riserva and the riserva is a 97-98 point wine in my estimation. It has everything-structure, acidity, fruit- all in balance. Even this young it is special. Andrea is extremely proud of this wine. He is a great guy and spent loads of time with me.

I had a chance to eat at Poggio Antico and the food is excellent. Maybe a little over priced but a nice experience. The view from the terrace is very nice.

Ate again at the Osteria di Passignano (still my favorite restaurant in Tuscany). The coniglio (rabbit) salad with balsamic reduction was a great starter, the risotto porcini was fantastic, followed by the best veal chops I have ever eaten. This was paired with a '99 Sassicaia that was drinking beautifully. It's nice to have good friends who enjoy wine.

I took Fut's advice and ate at La Crocina. The cinghiale dishes are fantastic. Also had a risotto al brunello that was the creamiest I have ever tasted. Thanks Fut for the recommendation. I enjoyed it immensely.

When I get a chance I will post some TN's from the trip.

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